These nutty, unsweet cheese cookies make a great hors d’oeuvre.
Galletas con Queso y Pepitas
(Savory Cheese and Pumpkin- Seed Shortbread Cookies)
2 cups flour
2 sticks (1 cup) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups (about 1/2 pound) grated mild cheddar or yellow cheese; the original recipe calls for manchego)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons paprika
1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Note: Don’t use a sharp cheese, as it will overwhelm the taste of the pumpkin seeds. We found that the original recipe made an excessively rich cookie. We have already increased the flour and reduced the butter somewhat, and feel that the flour could easily be upped to 3 or 4 cups, if you wish.
Put flour, butter, cheese, cayenne, and paprika in a food processor and pulse until the mixture coalesces into a dough. Add the beaten egg yolk and mix just until the dough forms a ball.
Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Sprinkle the pepitas on top and roll them into the dough. Cut with a cookie cutter into shapes and sizes of your preference. Place, about 1/2 inch apart, on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies until golden-brown, about 20 minutes. Watch them closely at the end as they can brown quickly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 2 dozen 2-inch-square cookies.