parmesan bacon shortbread

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There’s a fine art to choosing a dish to bring to a potluck. If people are milling around, there’s a definite advantage to a handheld, plate-optional snack. On the other hand, if it’s mostly sit-down, dips and spreads don’t work well because people have to guess at the right ratio of dip to dipper to scoop onto their plate, not to mention the issue of whether to put the dip next to the dippers, taking up valuable plate space, or on top, risking getting dip on your fingers while you try to eat the dippers.

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Last year, I brought goat cheese, sundried tomato, pesto terrine with a thinly sliced baguette to the company potluck. It did not go over well. For one thing, it’s a dip and the potluck turned out to be a sit-down kind of deal. For another, a few of my coworkers were unfamiliar with and unwilling to try goat cheese. (Their loss!)

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This year I went to the other end of the spectrum and chose easily grabbable finger food. I included bacon to guarantee there would be no complaints about scary new ingredients. It seems to have worked; these got a lot more love than last year’s goat cheese spread. And no wonder, with so many salty rich ingredients encased in a tender cookie. I can’t think of many situations in which these little treats wouldn’t work perfectly.

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One year ago: Roasted Tomato Soup
Two years ago: Orange Berry Muffins
Three years ago: Thumbprints for Us Big Guys
Four years ago: Cooks Illustrated’s Classic Pound Cake

Printer Friendly Recipe
Bacon Parmesan Shortbread (adapted from The New York Times via Use Real Butter)

Makes about 18 cookies (more if you cut them thinner)

I used pancetta instead of bacon, which complimented the parmesan nicely.

The original recipe titles these crackers and shows a picture of thin and flaky squares. These must have been rolled paper thin before baking. However, the recipe instructs the dough to be rolled out (or cut, the way I did it) ½-inch thick. I compromised and went with ¼-inch thick, which gave a texture more like shortbread than crackers. I’m sure they’re good both ways, but if you do roll them thinner, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.

1 cup (4.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
¼ cup cream or half-and-half, more as needed
4 ounces (about 4 slices) bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Put the flour, salt, cheese and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the flour and butter are combined. Add about ¼ cup cream or half-and-half and let machine run for a bit; continue to add liquid a teaspoon at a time, until the mixture holds together but is not sticky. Add the bacon and pulse a few times to incorporate.

2. Transfer the dough to a large square of parchment or wax paper. Shape the dough into a long rectangle with a 1-inch square cross-section. Wrap tightly in the paper and freeze for at least 3 hours.

3. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

4. Slice the dough ¼-inch thick, arranging the cookies ½-inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature or store in a tin for a few days.

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  1. Genius! I’m totally in love with this and wish I could try one right now.

  2. Mouth. Watering. Wow.

  3. I wish I could have one of these right now – what a great recipe, love the savory elements to this cookie!

  4. I’ve never baked with bacon before, but I should try to!

  5. Oh wow, I need to make these. If I had bacon in the house (how in the world do I not?) they just might be an afternoon snack…

  6. ha people are silly, but you make some good potluck points 😉 these sound delish, i love homemade crackers/shortbread and haven’t yet tried a version with bacon!

  7. How can you pass up on any dip, let alone one with goat cheese? Geez. I’ve yet to try a savory shortbread and this is just the ticket. Parmesan and bacon sounds killer.

  8. So here’s the plan–I’m coming to your next potluck and you’re making the goat cheese terrine. There should be just enough goat cheese for the two of us.

  9. Definitely their loss for not trying the goat cheese terrine last year! These crackers look awesome.

  10. I’ve had these bookmarked from URB for so long. Thanks for the reminder – I might make them for apps for Z’s birthday party. They look so great.

  11. It’s too bad I wasn’t at your potluck last year, I probably could have eaten ALL of that dip by myself. But these look pretty amazing as well!

  12. Always biased with bacon. The best thing in the whole world. Thanks for this recipe.

  13. Yeah, these bacon cookies were good. But I have to be honest, they don’t have anything on the goat cheese terrine. The terrine might be one of my favorite things.