These little Parmesan biscuits are sooooooooo moreish and if you can bear to give them away little bags of biscuits make cute Christmas gifts for special people. As they are so quick and easy to make it’s easy to make some to eat and some to give away. The chilli gives them a spicy kick and, of course, you can add more or less depending on your taste. If you don’t like chilli you could add eg very finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme. Mine are quite small to eat as nibbles but you could make larger ones to serve with cheese.

(Can I give a word of caution about using a star cutter instead of a round one, although they would look pretty and Christmassy, the points are very prone to burning and even without the points you need to watch these biscuits carefully to make sure you end up with golden biscuits and not burnt ones. Do you want to add to your Christmas stress?

Makes about 25 biscuits

100g cold, unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

100g plain flour, plus extra for work surface

Pinch salt

Pinch chilli pepper

1 heaped tsp English mustard powder

50g finely grated extra mature cheddar

50g finely grated parmesan cheese (or similar hard cheese), plus a little extra for tops

1 small egg, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 160C/Gas4.
  2. Place butter, flour, salt, chilli pepper, mustard powder and cheeses in the bowl of the processor. Process together to begin with and then, as you see it coming together, pulse in short bursts. It will all come together without the need for water or egg. Tip it out & leave the dough in a plastic bag in a cool place for about 30 minutes
  3. Lightly flour the work surface and roll it out to the thickness of 2-pound coins. Cut out the biscuits to the size and shape you wish- between 3cm and 5cm (I used a round 1 7/8 -48mm). Lay them out on a baking tray, lined with baking parchment, about 2 cm apart-you may need to do this twice unless you have 2 baking trays.
  4. Carefully brush the top of each biscuit with the egg & sprinkle with a little of the finely grated Parmesan. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they are golden brown, take care not to burn them.
  5. Lift the biscuits off the tray with a palette knife & place them on a wire rack to cool. They keep well for a few days in a sealed container.

(adapted from a Simon Hopkinson recipe)