Home > appetizers, snacks > Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread Cookies

Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread Cookies

Spicy cheese shortbread cookies


My cousin hosts a monthly potluck dinner party and this time, I volunteered for appetizers. I’ve made these once before and never documented but they’re too easy and good to forget about. The dough takes 3 minutes to pull together in the food processor, 20 minutes in the fridge to set, and then 12 minutes in the oven to bake. Very little effort for some super tasty cheese cookies that go well next to a plate of salami and olives. I like to sprinkle mine with some fresh cracked pepper and flaky Maldon sea salt before baking them in the oven. If you want a crispier cookie, make your balls a bit smaller. I was pressed for time (my nap lasted longer than anticipated) so my cookies were a little larger than usual.

Spicy cheese shortbread cookies


Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread Cookies (original recipe)

  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
  • cups grated cheddar cheese (you’ll get better results with fresh grated cheddar but pre-grated works fine)
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • fresh ground pepper & Maldon sea salt to taste


  1. In a food processor, add all ingredients (except black pepper & Maldon sea salt). Lightly blend until you have a coarse meal (do not overblend). Wrap dough into plastic and put into refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F
  3. Roll Tablespoon-sized balls and place a few inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Using your fingers, flatten each cookie until ~3/4 inches and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper and Maldon.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Serve hot or store at room temp for a day or two (you’ll finish them quickly anyway).



Categories: appetizers, snacks
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