These tasty little cheese biscuits are very more-ish and I have to hide them not only from my family but also from myself. The recipe was originally given to my mother by an old family friend, Rene Merrifield, more than 60 years ago.
We have these biscuits every year at Christmas time. I usually make two batches at least because everyone loves them. I make them at other times of the year as well. They don’t take long to put together and are handy to keep in the freezer in case a friend drops by for a glass of wine.
The cheese biscuits freeze very well, either rolled and raw or freshly baked.
Photography by Sophie Harper
Makes 36 biscuits
- 170g (6oz) plain flour
- 170g (6oz) grated parmesan or vintage cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 110g (4oz) butter
- Mix the flour, salt and pinch of cayenne together in a bowl. Add the grated cheese and mix through. Melt the butter and pour over the dry ingredients, mix together quickly and then form into a ball. They can be rolled out straight away but will spread, therefore it is best to chill the dough first.
- To make little biscuits all about the same size, divide the dough into six. Roll each piece into a log, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. When it’s time to bake the biscuits, cut each log into six little pieces and roll each piece into a ball in your hands. If desired, roll the balls in coconut.
- Alternatively, if you can’t be bothered with this method, simply chill the dough for 30 minutes. Then roll the biscuits out freehand with small pieces of dough. You could use a melon baller or small ice-cream scoop to make this easier.
- Preheat the oven to 180C regular or 160C fan. Line a large tray with baking paper. Place the rolled biscuits on the tray leaving a couple of centimetres space between each in case they spread. Press down with the tines of a fork if you wish or leave as balls. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool the biscuits on a rack and later store in an airtight container or the freezer.
Moroccan variation: add a teaspoon of lightly toasted and crushed cumin seeds to the mixture. I recently served these warm and straight from the oven. Fantastic!