You’ve had pimento cheese on a cracker, now you can have pimento cheese in your cracker. In my on-going 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, the pate of the South, and the classic cheese straw. Crumbly and cheesy, with the tang of pimentos and the crunch of pecans, these are the perfect nibble with 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 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.
And yes, to answer the obvious question, I would serve pimento cheese crisps and pimento cheese sandwiches at the same time.
Pimento Cheese Crisps
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimentos
8 ounces sharp cheddar
½ cup (1 stick) cold butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
A generous pinch of salt
A few grinds black pepper
½ 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. Switch from the grating blade to the metal blade, then add the flour, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne salt and 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 form a ball. Add the pimentos and pulse a few times until the dough is a ball.
Dump the dough onto a piece of waxed paper, scrapping out all the pimento pieces from the bowl. 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 two portions and place each portion on one waxed paper length. Form each into a log and roll tightly, pressing in to form a nice solid log. Twist the ends like a candy wrapper. Refrigerate the logs for at least an hour before baking, but you can refrigerate them for two days or freeze them for 3 months.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° and 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 with a little room to spread and bake until golden around the edges and firm on the top, about 10 – 12 minutes. Cool on the pans for a few minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes about 3 dozen