smoked gouda and walnut shortbread

smoked gouda & walnut shortbread 6

Cheez It's. Just say those two words to me and I swoon. I know they are filled with crap and salt, but I love them. I remember reading an article about a local Boston area chef on how she opened her restaurant, how she did it, where did she get her culinary training from, you know all the usual questions, then at the end they asked her "what are your favorite-can't live without comfort foods?" She answered wine and Cheez It's! I said YES, a chef after my own heart. I love to hear what the top chefs like to snack on; most of them are just like us and need that comfort/salty stuff. I try my best to not eat a lot of Cheez It's. The creations I make with them are insane, but good. I got a ton of emails on the infamous cheez it bark and white chocolate cheez it bark. 

smoked gouda & walnut shortbread 7

Lately I've been on a quest to make my own healthier version of cheeze like crackers. Or are they called shortbread?
Years ago I made a cheddar and cranberry one--super tasty.
These gouda and walnut crackers go so well with the red pepper jelly I recently discovered at Trader Joe's. If you need a good, crispy, tasty, decadent cracker for a new years eve party or for you last minute louies for Christmas appetizers, then give these a go.
They are tasty little critters and pair perfectly with a nice cold glass of white wine.

Make sure to grate the butter and cheese for nice crisp, light cracker.

For the love, use this stuff, makes a world of difference.

Do not over-work the dough. work with your hands till just combined.
It's ok if the loaf is still crumbly--it will firm up in the fridge I promise.

Slice them nice & thin for a crispy crackers, thicker for a chewy cracker.
If knife gets sticky when slicing the dough, just wet the knife in water over and over. IMG_6628

smoked gouda & walnut savory shortbread
print recipe
1 & 1/2 sticks butter, grated and kept cold
1 1/2 cups smoked gouda cheese, grated and kept cold
1 1/2 cups white flour
About 4-5 dashes of half & half
1 ts sea salt
1 ts baking powder
½ ts black pepper
7-8 dashes of worcestershire sauce
1 cup toasted walnuts, rough chop

Cook notes: 
You could use another kind of cheese. If you do you might want to reduce the amount of salt added in. If you like crisp cookies then slice these really thin before baking. If you like chewy cookies then slice them thicker; just don’t go too thick.

In a bowl mix the butter and cheese together. Sift the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder together. Combine flour mixture with the butter and cheese mixture. Then add in the nuts. Using your hands (I found this the easiest way to get it all combined) mix it up the dough until JUST combined. Halfway through mixing add in a few dashes of half and half. Turn dough out onto a large piece of waxed paper. Roll the dough into TWO logs.
Cover in wax paper, tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can freeze the dough at this stage as well. If you do freeze make sure it’s wrapped really good so air does not get in there. When ready to bake; preheat oven to 375F.
Unwrap the dough log and, using a very sharp knife, slice the log into rounds 1/2 inch thick or as thin as you can. The thinner they are the more crisp; if you want chewy cookies then thicker slice. Place rounds on cookie sheets and sprinkle cookies with just a few pinches of sea salt.
Bake for 13-15 to 12 minutes; you will need to flip the cookies over halfway cooking to get the other side brown.
Bake until the bottoms and tops of the cookies are golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with red pepper jelly or other savory/sweet jelly. Store in an airtight container. They do not keep that long, maybe 3 days? Should make about 30-35 or more.


  1. yum. i'm a cheezit fan too so these will have to be made...

  2. These look fantastic Dawn! I love smoky cheese and can only imagine how yummy it would be in a cracker.

  3. the first thing I do when i get home from Aruba will be going to the groc store at midnite and if TJs was open, I'd be there to get the hot pepper jelly. Good thing i have a STASH of it at home. LOVE that stuff..and when I make your cheezeit bark, I may even dip it in there. Salty, sweet, hot, chocolate, all the elements in one. Lol

  4. I don't care how fancy pants you are...we all have those packaged random goodies that we love! For me its tortilla chips and frosted mini wheats. I can't even buy frosted mini wheats because I will literally consume the whole box in a couple days :). Love. These look so fantastic Dawn! So creative in the kitchen

  5. These look delicious! I love Cheez Its too...especially the white cheddar ones. I have to try some of that red pepper jelly - I've been seeing rave reviews of it on just about every blog I read lately!

  6. i've done gruyere crackers once and they were fantastic. loving the addition of worchestershire (however the heck you spell it) sauce and walnuts :)

  7. Cheez it's really are addictive little suckers. You can't stop at one. Impossible.

    I would totally take these over cheezits though. I'd feel much more sophisticated eating them :)

  8. Those look great. I love anything with smoky cheese.

  9. Another great sounding savory shortbread. I like the sound of serving them with the pepper jelly.

  10. Oh, those sound so awesome! We have a new gastro pub here in Minneapolis that makes their own cheez-its, you would swoon.

  11. I wonder if this would work with almonds. I want to make these, but the person I would make these for is allergic to walnuts and pecans. :\

  12. I've made several variations of homemade crackers and I always love how much better they taste!

    (that being said, I did attempt homemade cheez-its once :) http://www.thesweetslife.com/2011/07/homemade-cheez-its.html)

  13. I totally *get* these. Had some wonderful savory shortbread at a holiday party the other day and people were weary to try it. So good! This looks great too!

  14. These look amazing! I love the combination in it. Will definetely have to make these, and then hide them. :)

  15. Une excellente idée apéritive
    À J-2 je te souhaite une agréable journée


  16. Love this savory shortbread! Merry Christmas my friend!

  17. after seeing sweet something after sweet something, this is a refreshing change!

  18. I'm going to have to try these. I love, love, love cheese and wine too :)

  19. yum. i'm a cheezit fan too so these will have to be made...


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