Recipes

Parmesan Ranch Shortbread Crackers

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ranch shortbread nibbles sit on parchment paper
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

One of my favorite cookies to take from sweet to savory is classic buttery shortbread rounds. Here, Pecorino cheese and herby ranch seasoning turn the traditionally sugary cookie into a decidedly salty treat, perfect for adding to a cheese board and serving with plenty of wine.

If you’re skeptical about adding ranch powder to cookie dough, don’t be: It infuses these cookies with a complex herby flavor, and pairs perfectly with the butter and cheese in the dough. The recipe calls for a standard one-ounce packet of seasoning, which can be found in the dressing section of most grocery stores, but you can also make your own: Just combine dried parsley, onion flakes, dill, garlic powder, salt, chives, pepper, and onion powder. You can get the full recipe here.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

3 Tips for Making Super-Savory Ranch Shortbread Crackers

Before heading into the kitchen to make these cookies, keep these tips in mind.

1. Avoid using ranch seasoning packets labeled “light” or “low-sodium.” This recipe was developed using standard ranch dressing seasoning that contains salt. Using a low-sodium or light version could result in cookies that are under-seasoned and lacking flavor.

2. Don’t roll out the dough too thin. You want these cookies to be thick and substantial, so keep the dough at about 1/2-inch thickness. After cutting out the rounds, you can re-roll the scraps and cut out more.

3. Freeze the cookies for 15 minutes before baking them. This will help keep the cookies perfectly round and prevent them from spreading while baking.

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Parmesan Ranch Shortbread Crackers

YieldMakes about 18 cookies

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 14 minutes to 16 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks

    (1 cup) unsalted butter

  • 1 1/2 ounces

    finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup freshly grated or 1/2 cup store-bought pre grated)

  • 1 3/4 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 (1-ounce) packet

    ranch seasoning and dressing (3 tablespoons)

Instructions

  1. Cut 2 sticks unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and place into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Let sit out at room temperature until softened, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 1/2 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese on a Microplane or the finest holes of a box grater (about 3/4 cup) if needed and sprinkle on top of the butter.

  2. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat. Add 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, and 1 ranch dressing packet to the food processor. Process until a shaggy, rough dough forms and all of the flour has been incorporated, 45 to 50 seconds.

  3. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll out until 1/2-inch thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter (or a standard shot glass), cut out rounds. Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1-inch apart (these cookies won't spread during baking). Press the dough scraps together into a ball and repeat rolling and cutting out rounds. (If the dough becomes too soft to work with, form it into a ball, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes before rerolling.) Freeze the rounds for 15 minutes.

  4. Bake until the tops are golden brown and matte, 14 to 16 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheets.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftover cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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