halved pecans or
, or 250-mL jar jalapeno jelly, about 1 cup, or a combination of both
Preheat oven to 300F (150C). Place butter in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, gradually beat in sugar until smooth and creamy. In another bowl, stir flour with Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne and salt. If you want extra kick, stir in another 1/4 teaspoon (1 mL) cayenne. Using a wooden spoon, stir flour mixture into butter mixture just until dough begins to come together. Then finish working dough with hands until thoroughly blended. Form mixture into a ball.
Shape dough into 1-inch (2.5-cm) balls. Place balls on 2 ungreased baking sheets at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. To form indented cookies that you can fill after baking, hold sides of each dough ball with thumb and finger of one hand, insert pinky of other hand and indent centre. If using nuts, press a pecan or walnut half into indent or at the side of indent, if you wish to use both nuts and jelly. Bake in centre of 300F (150C) oven until cookies are light golden in colour and edges are firm, from 12 to 15 minutes. Lift cookies with a spatula and place onto racks to cool. If serving right away, fill cooled cookies with jelly. Unfilled cookies will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 10 days. If freezing cookies, do not fill with jelly. Wrap and freeze up to 1 month. Defrost, then fill cookies with jelly. Nut-topped cookies will freeze beautifully.
Nutrition (per serving)
Liven up your baking repertoire with a savoury shortbread. It blends well with full-flavoured grated cheese and spices and makes a tender base for a jalape?o jelly filling or even toasted nuts. Serve during cocktail hour.