Cheese shortbread – sort of

In the very first Radwinter novel, entitled… Radwinter, Thomas, the main character is chatting with his brother’s fiancée, Ruthie about the range of shortbread she has produced –

I asked her about the millionaire’s strawberry shortbread, she’d tried it again with cherries and some almonds in the biscuit and flaked almonds on top… the olives and wine arrived, Ruthie tasted it and said it was lovely, and so it was…

I have such a sweet tooth I told her I’d liked the strawberry shortbread.

“Perhaps you could do a range, the strawberry one, and the cherry, and then… well the caramel made me think of banoffee… so could you do a banana one?” then I felt stupid because she went glazed.

She pulled out a note-book and began to scribble furiously. “Don’t mind me, I just have to write it down while it’s in my head! Brilliant idea, Thomas, any other thoughts?”

“Well not everyone’s got a sweet tooth… how about a cheese one?” the thought just leapt into my head and out of my mouth and I blushed at how stupid it sounded.

She stared at me as if I was mad. She grabbed her wine and took a swig then went back to her notebook.

“Genius, you are a taste genius,” she said scribbling madly.

Later Thomas writes to her:

I asked about the shortbread and suddenly I found I’d written a whole paragraph about it. I’d become a bit fixated on the idea of a savoury millionaire’s shortbread; the shortbread part was ok, cheese, nuts, mustard, seeds, that was fine… but what about the caramel?

You couldn’t have a savoury caramel, unless you put peanut butter in it which is popular… I’d had some really nice peanut butter ice-cream at a food fair Rebecca and I went to. But supposing you just took the idea of having a sweet layer… maybe quince jelly, maybe a sort of syrupy chutney? Maybe a pomegranate sort of jelly stuff? But then what could you do with the top… it has to be chocolate… but chocolate and cheese? Chocolate and peanut butter and cheese? It doesn’t sound right even if you use chilli chocolate… so I was stumped on the chocolate, but I’d give it some more thought.

I’ve never taken up on Thomas’s idea of either savoury shortbread, or a savoury millionaire’s shortbread… but I did come across this recipe:

Cheese shortbread – sort of


  • 8 oz strong cheddar.
  • 4 oz cold butter,  cubed
  • 7 oz plain flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp paprika or cayenne
  1. rub the dry ingredients together and then add the egg and pull together very lightly into a soft dough OR/
  2. put everything into a food processor and blend in bursts until it’s like breadcrumbs – don’t over work – then pull together into a soft dough
  3. roll into small balls – you should get about 30-40; flatten them slightly as you put them onto a lined baking tray
  4. bake for 10 minutes, at 400˚F, 220˚C, gas mark 8, until golden brown – they will puff up a little
  5. cool thoroughly on a wire rack.

This doesn’t sound like the shortbread Thomas had in mind, but they do sound tasty!

Here is a link to Radwinter in paperback or for Kindle, and you can find out what other ideas Thomas has:

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