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savory shortbreads with parmesan, fennel and sea salt.

Savory cookies are totally my new favorite way to cookie.


In fact I baked up this recipe to bring to new neighbors who had moved in next door…except that, well, they sort of disappeared in the time that it took me to throw on some lipstick and get them wrapped up pretty.  I had the best of intentions.  Really.

Anyway I guess our new neighbors will get the more traditional oatmeal or peanut butter instead.Whip up a little butter with powdered sugar, flour, salt and pepper.  The dough creates divine, peppery shortbread with a subtle sweetness.

Crush up fennel seeds and combine with sea salt…both of which I happened to inherit from my mom.  You rule, Mom!

Brush with olive oil, then sprinkle the fennel salt on top…

Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine – either would be a perfect match for these sweet and savory crackers!

Savory Shortbreads with Parmesan, Fennel and Sea Salt

(adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, makes approx. 18 cookies)

What You’ll Need:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago or Manchego cheese (about 2 ounces)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a medium bowl on low speed until smooth, 1–2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, pepper, and kosher salt. Reduce speed to medium and beat, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until light and fluffy, 4–5 minutes. Add flour and cheese. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat mixture just until dough comes together.

Wrap dough in plastic and flatten into a rectangle. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.

DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 5 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing.

Place fennel seeds in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Coarsely crush with a rolling pin or the bottom of a skillet.  Transfer to a small bowl; stir in sea salt. Set fennel salt aside.

Arrange a rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from plastic wrap. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out small discs (I used the top of a 1/4-measuring cup).  Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush cookies generously with oil, then sprinkle with fennel salt.

Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until cookies are golden brown (flecks of cheese will be slightly darker), 20–22 minutes. Let cool on sheets for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store airtight at room temperature.

TOTAL:  $2.20 or $.06 per piece.

How did I arrive at these prices?  Take a look at my Shopping Guide to see what/how I pay for items.


97 calories per cookie

7 grams of fat

7 carbs

2 grams protein

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh nice! I’ve made a savory shortbread before. It was made of Parmesan cheese. Sort of tasted like a cheese-it. 🙂

    September 26, 2012
    • Yum! These might be similar, but are more like a buttery shortbread cookie cracker. Enjoy!

      September 27, 2012
  2. I love savoury cookies too. These look gorgeous. The thought of biting in and getting a taste of the fennel and cheese is making my stomach growl!

    September 27, 2012
    • Mine too – thanks!

      September 27, 2012
  3. Ooh, I like savory shortbreads. This looks right up my alley! Too bad I don’t have a plate right now (and a cocktail). 🙂

    September 28, 2012

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