Mary Loh, Sue's mom, got this recipe from her mother, who was born in Macon, Georgia. In the Conley household, the holidays aren't complete without a few dozen batches of these, baked, packed in tins, and given to neighbors and cousins.
This dough is too stiff to mix by hand. You really need a stand mixer to get the dough right. Make the dough at least three hours before you plan to bake, so you can chill it. It's best to make the dough the night before. Top with pecan halves, if you wish.
Makes 55 to 60 wafers
2 cups All-purpose flour
½ tsp Sea salt
Pinch Cayenne pepper
½ lb Unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1 lb Sharp Cheddar cheese (very good quality), coarsely grated or Wagon Wheel
- Sift together the flour, salt, and cayenne and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter at medium speed until smooth. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the cheese, in batches, until it's all been incorporated. Add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, waiting until each addition is thoroughly incorporated before adding more. The dough will be very stiff.
- Lay flat a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap. Spoon all the dough into a long cylinder, wrap it up tightly, and roll into a smooth, neat tube of dough that's about 11/2 in in diameter. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F. Set out brown paper bags or parchment paper to rest the wafers on while they cool (Sue doesn't use wire racks to cool these).
- Slice the dough into 1/4-in slices and place about 1 in apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until the wafers are golden brown on the top, and a deeper brown on the edges, 7 to 10 minutes.
- With a spatula, transfer the wafers onto the paper to cool. They taste best when cooled for at least 30 minutes.
- The wafers will keep for 2 weeks in a metal cookie tin, separated by layers of wax paper.