I have been playing with a variety of savory cookie recipes lately for my SarahBakes spring menu, including a terrific cookie created by famed cookie expert Dorie Greenspan. Dorie’s original recipe features a blend of Old Bay seasoning, cheddar cheese and salty pretzels that, when combined, adds up to an explosion of savory flavor in every cookie bite.

I was visiting my sister Paula in the Twin Cities last weekend and decided to make a batch of these cookies, but with a few adaptations based on what was available in her pantry. I swapped out the signature Old Bay seasoning with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning and added a splash of hot sauce into the mix. The result was so delicious that I might never go back to the original.

Salty pretzels, sharp cheddar cheese and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning bring the bold flavors to this savory cookie. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Salty pretzels, sharp cheddar cheese and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning bring the bold flavors to this savory cookie. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Savory cookies are a wonderful option for cocktail nibbles, especially when beer and bloody marys are on the menu. This spicy cheddar cookie goes particularly well with stout beers like Guinness and Murphy’s, as their rich and creamy profiles partner perfectly with the cookie’s bold flavors.

Dorie’s recipe calls for sharp Cheddar cheese, and when I am at home I typically use a good white cheddar, like Black Diamond extra sharp cheddar. However, Paula had a block of great Irish cheddar that gave this batch of savory cookies a boost of Irish flair, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

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Beyond the terrific flavor, the success of this slice and bake cookie is its simplicity — in addition to the cheese, pretzels, hot sauce and Creole seasoning, the only other ingredients are a bit of flour, a bunch of butter and a pinch of salt.

A generous dose of butter is worked into the dough to give the cookies a rich, buttery flavor. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
A generous dose of butter is worked into the dough to give the cookies a rich, buttery flavor. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

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The cookie dough comes together quickly using just seven ingredients that are blitzed together in a food processor until combined. The dough is then divided in half and shaped into two logs. The logs are refrigerated for about an hour until firm and can also be frozen for up to two or three months.

Before baking, the logs are cut into slices and, while Dorie recommends a thickness of a third of an inch, I find that this can be a little too much cookie in such a small bite, so I cut my slices just a quarter-inch thick.

I have sliced the cookies before freezing but found that this made the cookies drier than when I froze the dough in log form. The frozen logs should be thawed in the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing and baking the cookies.

The dough is shaped into a log, refrigerated until firm and then sliced into cookies a quarter-inch thick before baking. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The dough is shaped into a log, refrigerated until firm and then sliced into cookies a quarter-inch thick before baking. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The bite-size cookies are placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
The bite-size cookies are placed on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

These savory cookies are a wonderful blend of flavors and textures — the heat from the Creole seasoning is just enough to know it is there, the cheddar cheese packs a punch of creamy tang and the pretzels bring a salty crunch to every bite.

Rich and buttery, full of flavor and easy to make, these bite-size Cajun Cheddar Cocktail Cookies are a fun and savory addition to the world of slice-and-bake cookies.

Sarah's Cajun Cheddar Cocktail Cookies are a melt-in-your-mouth explosion of flavors. Sarah Nasello / The Forum
Sarah's Cajun Cheddar Cocktail Cookies are a melt-in-your-mouth explosion of flavors. Sarah Nasello / The Forum

Cajun Cheddar Cocktail Cookies

PRINT: Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe

Makes: About 4 dozen 1-inch cookies

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

¼ teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons butter, very cold, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco, Frank’s)

1 ¼ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup salty pretzels, broken into small pieces

Directions:

Place the flour, Creole seasoning and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade; pulse 10 to 12 times until combined. Add the butter and hot sauce; pulse until the dough begins to clump together, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed.

Add the cheese and pretzels and pulse until well-combined, at least 12 to 15 times.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead briefly into a ball. Divide the ball in half and roll each half into a 9-inch log. Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or freeze for up to 2 months.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake in the center of the oven for 1 sheet, or if baking 2 sheets at a time, position racks in upper and lower third sections of the oven.

Use a serrated knife to cut the dough into slices about ¼-inch thick. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet spaced 1 inch apart.

Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking until the cookies are firm and golden, about 9 to 12 more minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for several days or freeze for several months. Thaw at room temperature.

Sarah’s Tips:

  • Serve these cookies during cocktail hour, especially with beer and savory cocktails like a bloody mary.
  • Let the frozen dough log thaw in the refrigerator for about an hour before slicing and baking.

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.