gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

When you hear shortbread, you think cookies. Right? Not what we have here. These delicate savory shortbread crackers are anything but sweet. They are packed full of buttery goodness with definite hints of parmesan and rosemary. And how awesome is it that they are totally amazing whether they are gluten-free or not?

These herb shortbread crackers are the perfect accompaniment to your next cheese tray. The original inspiration for this comes from our friend, Ina Garten. Her recipe for Parmesan and Thyme Crackers was featured in her cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics. Her method was to prepare the dough in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, then form it into a log to then be sliced. I’ve actually followed that recipe in the past and they were really good. But you know how these things tend to evolve.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Sue from The View From Great Island came up with the brilliant idea of using her food processor then rolling out the dough so that fresh herbs could be pressed onto the top of each cracker. Pure genius! And using rosemary (my favorite herb) instead of thyme is certainly okay by me. 

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Now it’s my turn to transform this recipe one more time. Since several of my loved ones are gluten-intolerant, I just had to give a gluten-free version a sincere try. Well …I’m here to tell you that it can be done and they are amazing! I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 All-Purpose Flour and you’d never guess that these guys are gluten-free. 

Let’s get this party started. The dough is made in your regular old food processor. Nothing fancy required …just be sure it holds at least 8 cups. 

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Once the dough starts to come together, remove it from the bowl of your processor and knead it with your hands so that it all comes together. You’ll find that when using gluten-free flour, the dough will be a bit more crumbly than it would be with regular flour. Not to worry. It requires at least an hour of chillin’ out in the fridge before rolling it out …that helps it all bind together.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper which, by the way, is an amazing way to simplify the process. No worries about having the dough sticking to your rolling pin.

Speaking of rolling pins, check this out. The dough is rolled out to a 1/4-inch thickness. I have this amazing rolling pin that adjusts to the required thickness by adding or eliminating color-coded discs on either end. It makes for a precise and super easy roll out.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Once the dough is rolled out evenly to a 1/4-inch thickness, take your 2-inch round cookie cutter and press lightly all over the surface so that you have a guide as to where to place the fresh herb sprigs. Once you have them situated, put the waxed paper back over the top and give it all one more light pass with the rolling pin. The herbs will then be embossed right into the dough.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Following the pattern on the dough, cut through each circle with your 2-inch round cookie cutter. Carefully transfer each round onto a baking sheet. Gather up any leftover dough, roll it out and repeat the process until all of the dough is used.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

These  guys will need about 15 minutes in the oven …maybe a bit less. Keep an eye on them. They’re done when the edges are just starting to turn a pale golden color. 

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Allow the crackers to cool for a few minutes on the pan before carefully transferring them to a cooling rack. If you are making the gluten-free version, you’ll find that the crackers are a bit more delicate than regular. The crackers will firm up as they cool.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Imagine adding these beautiful shortbread crackers to your next cheese tray. Or as an accompaniment to a hearty bowl of creamy soup, like this one or maybe this one. They’re delicious as snacks on their own, too.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackersgluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers
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gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics

and from the view from great island

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Refrigerate Dough 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 20 to 24 shortbread crackers
Author Rosemary Stelmach

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
  • whole leaf fresh herbs for laminating onto the dough (such as parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary, or dill)

Instructions

  1. Place the flour, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper into the bowl of a food processor. Add the chunks of soft butter and pulse about 30 times to combine into a crumbly mixture. The process of pulling the dough together should not take longer than 30 seconds to a minute. If the dough does not come together in that time, add a tiny bit of water to the bowl, start with 1/2 tsp, and process again. The gluten-free flour mixture will likely require additional water.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and bring it together into a smooth flat disk, just like you do with pie crust dough. The dough should be smooth and uniform, without dry floury parts. Knead it with your hands if necessary. Wrap the disk in the plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position the oven rack in the middle.

  4. Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. The dough is rolled out between two sheets of waxed paper which prevents the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.

  5. Once the dough is rolled out evenly to a 1/4-inch thickness, take your 2-inch round cookie cutter and press lightly all over the surface so that you have a guide as to where to place the fresh herb sprigs. Once you have them situated, put the waxed paper back over the top and give it all one more light pass with the rolling pin. The herbs will then be embossed right into the dough.

  6. Following the embossed spheres as a guide, use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out your circles. Carefully transfer each round onto a baking sheet. Gather up the leftover dough, roll and repeat until all of the dough is used.

  7. Bake the shortbread crackers for 13-15 minutes, until they are just starting to turn pale golden around the edges. Cool for a few minutes on the pan, then gently transfer them to a cooling rack. The shortbread will firm up considerably as it cools.

  8. Make Ahead: You can make the crackers up to a couple of days ahead of time. Or prepare and freeze the dough until ready to use.

Recipe Notes

Keep in mind that depending on the moisture content of your butter and cheese, you may need to add a tiny bit of water to your dough to bring it together. Also, if using gluten-free flour, you will most likely need additional water. Start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there.

gluten-free (or not) rosemary parmesan shortbread crackers

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