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Sharp Cheddar Shortbread Crisps

A savory snack with just a hint of heat. Great on their own or dipped in soup. Adapted from recipie found at www.epicurious.com.

Serves 30people
cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
tsp freshly ground black pepper
tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste
tsp crushed red pepper
extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, finely shredded (look for dry, white cheddar like Extra Old Black Diamond Cheddar
cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Using electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat together butter, salt, black pepper, and cayenne at low speed just until blended. Add Cheddar and flour and mix at low speed just until smooth (do not overmix). Shape dough into disk, wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper, and chill 30 minutes.
Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4-1/8" thick round. Using 1-1/2" round cutter, cut out rounds and arrange 1-1/2" apart on baking sheets. Use scraps if desired for oddly-shaped crisps.
Bake shortbread until lightly golden and beginning to brown on edges, about 13 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Optional: Roll dough flat and then slice into longer strips for dunking in soup.
Optional: For thicker cookies, roll into balls and press tops with forks. Sprinkle coarse salt and chili powder on top before baking.

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