Granny Sue’s seeded cheese nibbles

Granny Sue, I should explain, is not my granny. She’s the granny of a friend, and creator of the world’s greatest cheese biscuit recipe. Last time we visited, her grandson’s lovely wife produced a dish of Granny Sue’s most excellent biscuits, and kicked half the batch she made up a notch with a sprinkle of cumin seeds. I waited until they were both rendered soft and giving with drink, and demanded the recipe: here it is, unaltered by me aside from the addition of some more whole spices.

The unholy amount of butter and cheese in these makes for an intensely crisp, rich finish – I defy you not to scarf the lot in about five minutes flat.

To make about 25 toothsome little biscuits, you’ll need:

60g plain flour
60g sharp Cheddar cheese
60g salted butter
1 egg yolk
1 heaped tablespoon whole-grain mustard
20g Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon each fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds

Put the butter in the freezer for 20 minutes, while the oven heats to 200°C (400°F). Sieve the flour from a height, making sure you get plenty of air into it, into a large mixing bowl, and grate the Cheddar cheese into it. Grate the frozen butter into the bowl, and use a knife to mix the butter, cheese and flour together well. Add the egg yolk and the mustard to the bowl with a little water (the amount of water you’ll need to make a soft dough will vary according to the conditions on the day you make the biscuits) and mix with the knife until you have a dough which comes together nicely without sticking.

On baking sheets, form teaspoons of the mixture with your fingers into little rounds or lozenges about half a centimetre thick – it’s fussy but rather nice to create a different shape for each of the three different spices you’ll be using. Sprinkle a pinch of grated Parmesan on each one, then a pinch of one of the spices. I made a third of my batch of biscuits with cumin, a third with coriander and a third with fennel. Press the top of each biscuit gently with your finger to make sure the whole spices are firmly engaged with the cheese. Bake for 12 minutes until the biscuits are sizzling and golden. Cool on the baking sheets for ten minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Serve with drinks before dinner.

10 Replies to “Granny Sue’s seeded cheese nibbles”

  1. Ooh – I say very dry sherry. But you're right; they're the *perfect* nibble with drinks. My Mum does another cheesy biscuit with cayenne and cashews – I should poke her for the recipe. There is nothing like something crisp and cheesy to make pre-dinner boozing even jollier than it usually is.

  2. Go for it, Tig – they're dead easy, you probably have all the ingredients already, and they are supremely cheering. Enough good cheese, especially in a crispy form, is a brain-chemistry altering marvel.

  3. Oh my god, yes.

    My boyfriend and I are going up to his parents' house at the beginning of September, as they have a bit of a ramshackle house in Fife which has an old, long and narrow orchard for a garden. They can't scrabble up trees and grab the apples down at their age so we're going to do the harvest.

    We've just agreed that our post-harvesting dinner will feature these little beauties and some red wine. And for dessert? An apple crumble with some of the glorious raspberries that have grown in the garden this year, and with amaretti mixed into the topping.

  4. Came across these lovelies while trying to find something little and yum to take to after my show party this evening at the end of our am dram production. I've made them and done a quality control tasting and am now concerned they make not make it past curtain up! Delicious.

  5. Sorry … cheese obviously went to my head. Clearly meant "may not make it past curtain up". Still very lovely despite my lack of typing ability.

  6. Made these for a party last weekend and they were scoffed down within an hour. I didn’t put the extra spices on but they were still delicious. I had to drain the trays halfway through as I used so much butter and cheese, they were drowning in fat! I think this made them have a crisper finish though. Thank you Liz – you really are a marvel and your recipes never let me down (apart from my own lack of skill for the caramel pork one!)

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