I'll confess a deep, dark secret. I love...Cheez-its. I don't want to know what cheez is, and I endeavor to not eat the things (I forbid them from the house...most of the time), but I'm moved by their flaky, tangy, processed perfection. Addictive little beasts, grrr.
But as tasty as they are, I'm obviously not bringing them to a party, at least not in this century. (I've brought much worse to parties, including little cocktail pumpernickel slices spread with herb processed cheese and topped with slices of Oscar Mayer salami cut into Christmas-tree shapes. It took me forever to free-form all those little salami trees. I...yeah. That was a long time ago.) These better days, I think it's nice to bring a host/ess something I've actually made myself, mad scissor skills aside.
Like blue cheese shortbread crackers. They're cheesy (no Z!) and crisp. Tender and tangy. Addictive little beasts. Perfect nibbled alongside a glass of wine. And blessedly un-orange. In other words, a lovely thing to take to a party.
Blue Cheese Shortbread Crackers
Adapted from Bon Apetit November 2002
3 1/2 oz. crumbled blue cheese (about 1/2 c.)
3 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/3 c. walnuts, finely chopped
Blend the blue cheese and butter in a processor until creamy. Add flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Using on/off turns, process until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add walnuts and process just until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Roll out dough between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer wrapped dough to a baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes (they're much easier to cut out and handle when chilled).
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Using a small biscuit cutter (or other shape cutter), cut out crackers. (You could also free-hand cut them into squares and skip the cutter altogether.) Transfer cutouts to prepared baking sheets. Gather dough scraps and reroll (and chill); cut out additional crackers. Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool. (Can be prepared 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)