Cheddar Shortbread Bites

Shortbread Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 (8-oz.) package (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Topping Ingredients:
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

Combine flour, butter, salt and red pepper in medium bowl; beat at medium speed until dough forms. Add cheese; mix until a ball forms. Shape dough into ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. (It will be hard to roll at first, but will soften as it warms up. Press together any cracks that form on edges of dough.) Cut dough with 1 1/2-inch cookie cutters or pizza cutter into desired shapes (squares, triangles, circles). Place onto ungreased baking sheets.

Combine poppy seed and sesame seed in small bowl. Beat egg white and water together in another small bowl. Brush cut-outs with egg wash; sprinkle with seed mixture.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until very lightly browned around edges. Immediately loosen from pan; let cool on pan.

Notes: Shortbread can be topped with a variety of other ingredients such as sea salt, chili powder, seasoned salt, fennel seed or other herbs.

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