Makes 20-25 | prep 10 mins | total time
- 100g unsalted butter, cubed
- 50g Parmesan, grated (or vegetarian alternative)
- 100g plain flour
- 50g ground almonds
- a pinch of cayenne pepper, plus extra to dust
Make up to 2 weeks ahead and store in an airtight container.
- Put all the ingredients in a food processor with a pinch of salt and whiz to a dough. Shape into a flattened patty, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 1 hour (or overnight).
- Preheat the oven to 170°C, fan 150°C, gas 3. If necessary knead the dough slightly until pliable, then roll it to 3-5mm thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out with a 8-9cm Christmas tree cutter, only rolling the dough twice so you don't overwork it.
- Arrange the shortbreads spaced slightly apart on a baking sheet, dust with a very light sprinkling of cayenne pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes until a uniform light gold. Allow to go cold before packaging into pretty cellophane bags with ribbons or raffia ties. They will keep for a couple of weeks.
There is something very moreish about toasted Parmesan with a hint of spice. For individual cheese and biscuit place settings, as pictured, pop a couple of biscuits in a cellophane wrapper with a wedge of mature cheddar, separated by a paper cake case or baking paper so that the biscuits are not in direct contact with the cheese and stay crisp. Alternatively, package up several biscuits as a gift, plus a jar of delicious chutney to make it even more special.