Cheddar-Pecan Crisps: Bubbly-Friendly Bites

Summer always brings much to celebrate — delicious pies, sandy beach picnics, sunny farmstands plump with fresh produce.

This July, we have one more thing to toast: the second anniversary of Let’s Lunch, a monthly Twitter lunchdate that began two years ago when three women from Paris, San Diego and New York gathered online over a sudden — and monstrous — shared craving for BLTs.

Since that first lunch, the group has expanded — the Let’s Lunch bunch now includes folks from ParisSydney (yes, Australia), St. Louis, and more. To mark the many feasts we’ve had, we decided to devote July’s lunch to nibbly bits that that go well with champagne.

What to make? I decided to pull out an old favorite …

First things first: I’m a big fan of savory cookies as a pairing for wine. Rosemary shortbread, paprika-touched cookies — I’ve served them up at many a cocktail hour and watched them disappear in a flash.

Among the cookies I’ve made for such occasions, one always results in guests eating far more than they intend to and then insisting that I email them the recipe: Cheddar Pecan Crisps.

These light but rich cookies have great punch from grated sharp cheddar, an earthy crunch from chopped pecans and will leave a tiny zing on your tongue from little sprinkles of cayenne. They stand up well to hearty reds but are also a nice, crisp foil to chilled whites and, of course, bubblies.

And the best part is, they’re super easy to whip together.

A confession: I did not make these cookies in the picture. I’ve been traveling so much I didn’t actually end up having the time. So the wonderful Mike –whom some of you may have gotten to know in A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family — stepped in. Even though he was juggling an avalanche of work, the Mister graciously offered to stay up extra late one night to bake — and photograph! — these cheddar crisps. And let me tell you, they are delicious.

So, here’s to a new Let’s Luncher. (Just for this month, he insists.) And here’s to Let’s Lunch. It’s been a delicious two years, Lunchers. And cheers to many more!

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Don’t forget to check out the Let’s Lunchers’ bubbly-friendly snacks below! And if you’d like to join Let’s Lunch, go to Twitter and post a message with the hashtag #Letslunch — or, post a comment below.

Caitlin‘s Gruyere Lace Cookies at Caitlin Shetterly

Cathy‘s Truffled Purple Potato Chips at Showfood Chef

Charissa‘s Bacon, Apple & Swiss Quiche at Zest Bakery

Charles‘s Salmon Tartare with an Asian Twist at The Taste of Oregon

Denise‘s Home-Cured Copper River Salmon at Chez Us

Eleanor‘s Grilled Hoisin Pork Shoulder with Mango & Pineapple Salsa (& more) at Be a Wok Star

Ellise‘s Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Palmiers at Cowgirl Chef

Emma‘s Cold-Cured Salmon Bites at Dreaming of Pots and Pans

Karen‘s Parmesan-Goat Cheese Cups filled with Balsamic “Caviar” at GeoFooding

Linda‘s Cheese Straw Crackers at Free Range Cookies

Lisa‘s Salmon Tartare at Monday Morning Cooking Club

Maria‘s Parmesan Toasts at The Bubbly Girl

Rashda‘s Samosa-Shingara Pies at Hot Curries & Cold Beer

Steff‘s Stuffed Figs, Parmesan Crackers & Spicy Cheesy Pecans at The Kitchen Trials

Victor‘s Parmesan Crisps with Goat Cheese, Fig & Prosciutto Spread at The Taste of Oregon

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Cheddar Pecan Crisps

(Recipe from Gourmet magazine)

Yield: Makes about 50 crackers
Active Time: 15 min
Total Time: 1 hr
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat together butter and Cheddar in a bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, then beat in remaining ingredients.

Roll rounded teaspoons of dough into balls and arrange 3 inches apart on buttered baking sheets. Flatten each ball into a 1 1/2-inch disk and bake in batches in middle of oven until golden, 15 to 18 minutes.