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Pimento Cheese Crisps

“In my ongoing quest to eat as much pimento cheese as possible, I arrive at these little gems. They are a hybrid of two Southern party classics —pimento cheese and the classic cheese straw. Crumbly and cheesy, with the tang of pimentos and the crunch of pecans, they are the perfect nibble with a tall glass of ice tea (or short glass of bourbon). They are wonderful packed up in your heirloom Tupperware for a weekend at the lake, or displayed on your heirloom silver for a shower or a cocktail party. They are a marvelous standby, as you can keep the rolls in the freezer for emergencies, and they make a lovely gift, wrapped up with a ribbon.” – Perre Coleman Magness from Pimento Cheese The Cookbook

Perre Coleman Magness  is the creator of the popular blog The Runaway Spoon and offers up 50 recipes in her new cookbook. The Southern staple pimento cheese makes its way into everything from shrimp and grits to burgers, biscuits, soup and pot pie. You’ll also find 14 recipes for pimento cheese itself, flavored with the likes of garlic, bacon and barbecue. Pimento Cheese The Cookbook is available from St. Martin’s Press September 9.

PimentoCheesecoverartOne 4-oz. jar diced pimentos
8 oz. sharp orange cheddar cheese
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
1⁄2 tsp. smoked paprika
1⁄2 tsp. sweet paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
A generous pinch of kosher salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1⁄2 cup chopped pecans

Rinse and drain the pimentos and place them on paper towels. Pat them dry and then leave them for 10-15 minutes to air-dry. Grate the cheese and the cold butter together in a food processor fitted with the grating disk. Switch from the grating disk to the metal blade, then add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, smoked and sweet paprikas, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Process until the dough just begins to come together and looks moist and grainy. Add the pecans and process until the dough begins to pull away from the sides and is about to form a ball. Add the pimentos and pulse a few times just until the dough forms a ball.

Dump the dough onto a piece of waxed paper, being sure to scrape out all the pimento pieces. Knead the dough a few times just to incorporate and distribute the pimento pieces. Cut two more lengths of waxed paper, divide the dough into 2 portions and place each portion on one length of waxed paper. Form each dough portion into a log and roll tightly, pressing in the ends to form a nice solid log and twisting the ends closed like a candy wrapper.

Refrigerate the logs for at least 1 hour before baking, but you can refrigerate them for up to 2 days or freeze them for 3 months. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the rolls from the fridge and slice into medium-thick wafers, about 1⁄4-inch each. Place on the baking sheet, allowing a little room between them to spread, and bake until golden around the edges and firm on the top, 10-12 minutes. Cool on the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

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