Good savoury biscuits are really hard to find when you don't eat gluten. They are often dry, crumbly, tasteless and can be a bit like eating cardboard. Even cheese biscuits are a rare find in the shops and tend to be not very cheesy and mostly, depressingly naff!
I hate that in the absence of a good savoury, easily transportable snack, we often resort to sweet biscuits or crisps. I am also acutely aware that nutritionally, my daughter should be getting plenty of calcium to help counter the negative effects of Coeliac Disease. Cheese is a fantastic source of calcium, so despite the calories, a snack which contains plenty of it is good by me, and perfect for her! But it also needs to be taken out and about without requiring constant refrigeration, so cheese biscuits are ideal. Being able to buy them in neat little packages is much trickier.
Frustrated by the lack of a good cheesy cracker, I have set about producing my own. Well worth the effort of a few attempts and tweaks, these little bites are deliciously savoury and very very moreish. Once you have eaten one, your hand will keep dipping into the tin for more.
They are crisp (but not crumbly), very cheesy, nicely salty, and very simple to make. Although you can make them without it, the chorizo adds a wonderful chewy, warming, chilli kick. Cheese and chorizo are always an amazing match, but the added walnut in these biscuits brings an extra slightly nutty texture and lightly bitter contrast to the richness of the cheddar, parmesan and spicy sausage.
For the vegetarians amongst you, just leave out the chorizo and either go for straight cheese and walnut or substitute with a little sun-dried tomato, a few extra herbs or a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
These morsels of cheesy pleasure make such a fantastic snack that I am entering them into April's Family Foodies challenge, being hosted by Lou over at Eat Your Veg (co-hosted by Vanesther at Bangers & Mash). This month they are asking us to come up with a selection of healthy snacks. These savoury biscuits are absolutely scrumptious, perfect for an extra calcium hit, and have the added bonus of being totally transportable for the emergency, out of the handbag 'here's one I made earlier' trick! Whether you need to eat gluten free or not, these are heaps tastier than the bought varieties and can be made with any number of ingredients to meet the demands of the fussiest tastebuds (providing cheese is on the menu!).
But make plenty of them........ Blink and they will be gone!
Two Cheese, Chorizo & Walnut Biscuits
60g brown rice flour
40g potato flour
50g tapioca flour
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
80g butter - frozen
90g mature cheddar cheese - grated
30g Parmesan cheese - finely grated
½ teaspoon dried oregano
15g walnuts - chopped
20g chorizo - finely chopped
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk/almond milk
tapioca or corn flour to roll out
- Base-line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Weigh and mix the flours and xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are broken down.
- Grate the frozen butter into the flour a little at a time, stirring as you go to ensure an even distribution.
- Add and stir in the grated cheese, oregano, chopped walnuts and chorizo.
- Stir in the egg yolk and milk.
- Using your hands, bring the mixture together and knead slightly until you have a smooth dough ball.
- Sprinkle the work-surface liberally with tapioca or corn flour and roll-out about half the dough with a floured rolling pin to a thickness of about 1cm.
- Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter and place on the baking trays with a small gap between each.
- Bring the remaining dough back together and repeat the process until all of the dough has been used. Repeat with the second half of dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden, swapping the trays round in the oven half way through cooking to ensure an even bake.
- After 15 minutes, turn the oven off and leave the oven door open for a few seconds to cool slightly, before closing again and leaving the biscuits inside for a further 20 minutes as the oven cools. This will help the biscuits to dry out a little more and become crisp.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to complete the cooling process.
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