I love sweets, obviously. But when I was in culinary school, I craved salt. I needed to balance all the sweet I was eating. Typically I was getting my sodium fix through French fries or potato chips, but why not change over some favorite sweet pastries to get some savory options?
Lately my pastry chef friends and I have been talking about savory cookies -- how to make them and keep the same texture as a sweet cookie. What flavors would we use. When would you eat them. Here are 5 pastries that can be switched over to offer a savory treat for your next event.
Scones - I often cater small breakfast events and one of my most popular and requested items is a savory, bacon-cheddar scone. People seem genuinely surprised that a scone can be savory, and they love the salty option amongst all the sweets. Goat cheese and chives. Roasted red pepper and parm. The possibilities are truly endless.
Thumbprints - Normally a sweet butter cookie with a dollop of jam, take your thumbprints to a savory snack with coffee or perhaps as appetizers for your cocktail party. Add goat cheese and caramelized onions. My latest experiment will include folding cooked chopped bacon into the cookie dough, tossing with cheddar cheese just prior to baking, and when the cookies emerge from the oven, add sour cream and chopped spring onions to the thumbprint. These will be a welcome addition to a holiday cookie box filled with sweet cookies.
Cheesy herb palmiers - One of my favorite cookies, the palmier is puff pastry folded with sugar to create many layers of caramelized sugary buttery dough. In lieu of sugar, add cheese and herbs to create perfect Sunday morning nibbles.
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Savory shortbread - Great on the side of a salad or a bowl of soup, these shortbread cookies take the place of a roll or slice of bread. Nuts, cheese, herbs, different kinds of salts, there are so many ways to make these savory shortbread your own creation.
Danish - When you say danish, most people think blueberry or sweet cheese, but what about a savory version with some ricotta and a dab of savory tomato jam? Pesto, cherry tomatoes and toasted pine nuts? A buttery option for your brunch table. Make a basic Danish dough and then go to town filling them with your favorite savory flavors. Finish with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.
Rachel Miller is a pastry chef and food writer in Phoenix, where she bakes, eats, and single-handedly keeps her local cheese shop in business. You can get more information about her pastry at www.pistolwhippedpastry.com, or on her blog at www.croissantinthecity.com.