za'atar cheesy biscuits

za'atar cheesy biscuits in a bowl

Za’atar cheesy biscuits are to be had with a festive drink or two. When normally a bag of crisps might do, these moreish savoury sablés, made with a touch of the eastern Mediterranean, definitely lift the occasion. Luckily the recipe makes enough dough for some to be frozen, so you’ll have an emergency savoury aperitif all ready for the next lot of family and friends.

A recipe with a simple list of ingredients and straightforward to make, it’s worth giving this one a go if you’ve never made a savoury biscuit before. It will help to have the butter at room temperature so that it blends easily with the cheese. The pecorino, being younger and sharper, goes well with sumac and za’atar mix, but if parmesan is in your fridge, use that instead. The finer you grate the cheese, the easier it will blend too. Adding a touch of sumac gives a lovely speckled finish when the biscuit is baked, but if you don’t have it, add another teaspoon of za’atar mix into the dry ingredients.

Since the recipe requires the dough to be chilled, this is a recipe you can make ahead of time. Then you only need to remove the logs rolled in za’atar mix from the fridge, slice finely and bake a short while before they’re needed. Nothing nicer than a warm biscuit. Each log will make about 20 thin biscuits, which can fit on one tray, as they don’t spread.

makes about 40 


210g plain flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder 
2 tsp Zejd sumac
2 tsp Bassatin Baanoub za’atar mix
165g unsalted butter, room temperature 
165g pecorino cheese, freshly grated
2 tbsp Bassatin Baanoub za’atar mix
1 egg, beaten


  1. Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl and add the sumac and the 2 teaspoons of za’atar mix. Stir well to mix. 
  2. In the bowl of a kitchen mixer blend the butter with the grated cheese until the mixture is smooth and well mixed but not too aerated. Add the dry ingredients a third at at time with the machine on slow. Stop once the dough has formed.
  3. Flour your work surface, and divide the dough in two. Bringing the dough together to form a sold mass, roll each into a log about 3 cm in diameter. Wrap each one in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  4. Add the 2 tablespoons of za’atar mix to a tray. Brush the logs with the beaten egg and roll in the za’atar mix, making sure you coat all of the surface area. Refrigerate for an hour, or freeze one for later. 
  5. With a large sharp kitchen knife slice the log into circles about 2-3mm thick. Place on a baking tray, lined with grease proof paper, and bake in a hot oven, 170 degrees fan/gas mark 3 for 10-12 minutes. They’re ready when lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before placing on a baking tray.

Best eaten the day of baking, slightly warm. If there are any over, they can be crisped up the next day in a warm oven. 

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