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Cheese Pennies

Another friend's mother baked these crackers when she invited a gaggle of sports writers for brunch before the 2000 NCAA women's basketball championship game.

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (the more you use, the sharper the flavor)
1/2 pound extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
3 tablespoons sesame seeds

Sift together flour, salt and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

Cream butter in large bowl with electric mixer. Add cheese and beat until thoroughly blended.

On low speed, gradually add sifted dry ingredients and beat until thoroughly incorporated.

Lightly flour cutting board. Turn dough out.

Flour hands lightly. Shape dough as for ice box cookies, into round or square shape, 8 by 2 inches.

Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper. Refrigerate at least a few hours (days, if you want to).

Toast sesame seeds: Place in shallow baking dish in 350-degree oven. Shake occasionally until seeds are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

To bake crackers, slice dough 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Place on unbuttered cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees, 12 to 15 minutes, until pennies are lightly colored. Remove pennies from tray as soon as they are taken from the oven. Transfer to racks to cool.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

"Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies"

Thursday, June 07, 2001

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