Savory Parmesan Cookies

These delicate cookies are reminiscent of shortbread...with a savory twist. Butter, flour, salt, and a heaping pile of Parmigiano-Reggiano is all that separates you from these melt-in-your-mouth beauties.

Remember slice and bake cookies? With a roll of this dough stashed in your refrigerator, you are mere minutes away from great cocktail party fare.

Seasoning salts are all the rage...and I dusted the tops with my latest favorite. Try these parmesan cookies with a dash of porcini or fennel salt...or experiment with these fun sea salt combinations. (I've got my eye on the Nicoise olive salt.)

Think of these cookies as a great blank canvas for herbs or other hard cheeses. (Rosemary would be lovely.) With the short list of ingredients, quality and freshness will make a big difference here. Spring for the good cheese, and grate it yourself.

Parmesan Cookies
(adapted from Food & Wine)

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese (1/2 pound)
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 -1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt*
seasoning salt (optional)

*Adjust, depending on the saltiness of your cheese.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust racks to the upper and lower third position.

1. In a medium bowl, mix butter, cheese, flour and salt until all ingredients are incorporated and a stiff ball is formed.

2. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and roll into a 9-inch logs, 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and chill logs for 30 minutes.

3. Cut logs into 1/3-inch slices and arrange on a baking sheet (nonstick or lined with a Silpat.) Lightly dust cookie coins with optional seasoning salt. Bake cookies for 18 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pans half way through for even baking.

4. Let the cookies cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These are best enjoyed the same day they are baked.