Parmesan Cookies with Basil Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

These scrumptious delights are the perfect way to welcome your guests. They are sure to disappear fast, so you might need to consider making double! You can make the cookies a day or two in advance, storing them in an airtight container until required on the big day.

Serves: Makes about 60
Cooking Time: Around 1.5 hours


Ingredients

+ 30 large cherry tomatoes, halved
+ olive oil, for cooking
+ sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
+ 2 cloves of garlic
+ 200 g unsalted butter, softened
+ 1 3/4 cups (260 g) plain flour, sifted
+ 1 tablespoon pure cream
+ pinch dried thyme
+ pinch dried chilli flakes
+ 1 3/4 cups (140 g) finely grated parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
+ 2/3 cup (180 g) basil pesto *
+ extra virgin olive oil
+ 60 small sprigs of thyme

* you can either make your own, or use a store bought option.

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan-forced. Generously flour two large baking sheets and set aside. 

Place the garlic in a small baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and roast for 30 minutes or until soft. Remove and allow to cool a little before squeezing out the soft flesh and discarding the papery skin. If you are preparing the cookies ahead of time, skip this next step about the tomatoes and do this on the day. Place the tomato halves on a large baking tray, cut-side up, and drizzle with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, add to the oven with the garlic and roast for 20-25 minutes or until just softened. Set the roasted tomatoes and garlic aside, and reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC.

Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle beater, beat the flour and butter until combined. The mixture should, at this stage, resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Add the cream, roasted garlic, thyme, parmesan, a pinch of salt and a decent amount of pepper to the bowl. Continue to mix until thoroughly combined. 

Turn the dough out onto a very well floured bench. The dough will be really soft, but don’t worry as this is how it is supposed to be. Cover the dough in a good amount of flour and gather it all up into a ball, then wrap in plastic film and chill for 30 minutes. If the dough will not form a ball, you may need to add a touch of water to the mixture.

Remove the dough from the fridge and cover your worktop generously in flour. The dough will still appear almost too soft to work with, but don’t panic – that is what the extra flour is for. Using a floured rolling pin, gently roll out the dough to a thickness of 5 mm, then cut into rounds using a 3 cm cutter. Transfer each cookie to the prepared baking sheets as you go. Gather up the remaining scraps of dough and repeat the process until you have used up all the dough. 

Before baking, sprinkle the cookies with the extra finely grated parmesan and season with extra pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the bases are firm. Allow to cool completely.

 To assemble the canapes, dot 1/2 teaspoon of pesto onto the centre of each cookie and top with a roasted tomato half. Drizzle a tiny amount of extra virgin olive oil over the top and garnish with a small sprig of thyme.

Original recipe sourced from What Katie Ate.

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