Set out these buttery savory herb shortbread crackers at the cocktail hour for an elegant alternative to chips. I've included a pretty customizable menu and place cards to help you set the theme for a brunch or afternoon tea.
Put the flour, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Add the chunks of soft butter and pulse about 30 times to combine into a crumbly mixture. The process until the dough comes together, this should not take longer than 30 seconds to a minute. If the dough does not come together, add a tiny bit of water to the bowl, start with 1/2 tsp, and process again.
Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and bring together into a smooth flat disk, just like you do with pie crust dough. The dough should be smooth and uniform, without dry floury parts. Knead it with your hands if necessary. Wrap the disk in the plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350F
Roll out the dough to about 1/4 to 1/8 thickness. I do this between two sheets of waxed paper and it works like a charm, no sticking. If you want to laminate herbs onto the surface of the dough, lay them out onto the dough, leaving space between. Put the waxed paper back over the top and lightly roll with your rolling pin to press the herbs right into the dough. Use a 2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out your circles. Remove the dough to a baking sheet. Reform the leftover dough, roll and repeat until all the dough is used.
Bake the shortbread for 10-15 minutes, until they are just starting to turn pale golden around the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the pan, then remove to a rack. The shortbread will firm up as it cools.
Make it ahead ~ you can make the crackers up to a couple of days ahead of time, or freeze the dough.
Make it easy ~ if you don't care about the herbs laminated on top of the crackers you can roll the dough into a log and slice and bake.
Make it pretty ~ use edible flowers in place of the herbs ~ try spicy marigold petals.
Make it with different herbs~ I think thyme or sage would be fabulous.
Make it with different cheese ~ other hard aged Italian cheeses like Asiago, Romano, or Grana Padano would work too.