By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

Cheddar and Mustard Seed Biscotti

Biscotti are usually sweet, crunchy cookies perfect for dipping in a cup of coffee, but the concept translates into savory munchies that can be served on their own or spread with cream cheese and Easy Winter Tomato Jam also on this site.

The combination of cheddar cheese, flour and butter makes these much like Southern cheese straws, but these get extra texture from cornmeal, spice from black and cayenne pepper, tang from buttermilk and a bit of crunch from whole mustard seeds. Opportunities for variations abound, so consider substituting poppy seeds for the mustard seeds and varying the cheese (gruyere is especially good).

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon spoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, the two peppers and mustard seeds in a medium bowl and whisk together. Stir in grated cheddar cheese. Add buttermilk and melted butter and stir until mixture forms a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it just until smooth, dusting with additional flour to keep it from sticking. Form dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Work with one piece of dough and keep the other wrapped so it doesn't dry out. Roll dough into a log, about 1-inch in diameter and place on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Continue with remaining dough. Flatten the logs of dough slightly. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a rack and cool for about 20 minutes. Keep oven at 350 degrees F.

Slice logs on a diagonal, about 1/4-inch thick using a serrated knife. Arrange slices on silicone mat or parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes. Turn biscotti over and bake for another 20 minutes, or until they are dry and crisp. Cool completely on racks.

Makes about 4 dozen biscotti.