Aunty Margaret was always my favourite Aunty and I was lead to believe I was pretty special to her. When I was little, my mum told me the story (I don’t know whether it is true or not) that, when I was born, Aunty Margaret told her, “You have enough daughters, this one is for me.” Aunty Margaret always wanted a daughter but had two sons.
I named my first doll Margaret and, many years later named one of my darling Bichons, “Maggie”, both after this wonderful woman.
Later in her life, my Aunty lived in the next suburb to us and I would go and visit her. She never had anything sweet to offer but always had a batch of these biscuits on hand. I never minded there was nothing sweet. I was happy to demolish a plate of these cheesy treats.
After my Aunty died, I started making these biscuits. Before long, they became a favourite of Maus. She often asks for them. I have been a bit sly really. I am regularly too busy to make them for her so she has had to make them herself. Slowly, it is becoming Maus’ job to make the cheese biscuits.
Aunty Margaret would have made these biscuits with cheddar cheese, which is what I did for years and they tasted great, but Maus and I are very partial to Grana Padano so we use 50% cheddar and 50% Grano Padano. You could easily use 50% Parmigiano Reggiano or Australian parmesan cheese or stick with 100% tasty cheddar.
- 4oz (113g) butter (room temperature)
- 6 oz (170g) grated strong cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 cups plain flour
- small amount of milk, if necessary
- Sift the flour, salt and pepper together then set aside.
- Using a stand mixer or food processor, cream the cheese and butter well.
- Fold in the seasoned flour and knead until the dough comes together. We have been finding that we need to add a wee bit of milk to make a dough. I guess it depends on what cheese you choose. Grana Padano is drier than cheddar.
- Shape the dough into two rolls with a diameter of 3 to 3.5cm and about 20 cm long. Wrap in cling wrap and put into the fridge until firm – at least 1 hour. You can leave the dough as long as you like and even freeze it for a later time.
- Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- When chilled, cut the dough into thin slices.
- Bake in your preheated oven until they start to turn golden on the edges. We find that it takes about 12 minutes before the ones on the edge of the trays start to colour. You will find that the biscuits on the edge of the tray colour before the ones in the centre. As they start to colour, remove them from the tray. Do not let them brown, otherwise, the cheese will taste burnt.