When you need a low-carb nibble that's special enough for a holiday party, these Cheddar Pecan Almond Crisps are amazingly delicious! This recipe is also gluten-free, Keto, low-glycemic, meatless, and South Beach Diet Phase Two; use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.
It's the holidays, and everywhere you look there are sweet treats tempting you. I'm guessing quite a few of my readers join me in the effort to avoid most of those sweet holiday offerings, but you also want something special to serve guests or take to holiday parties at this time of year, right?
I think these Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Cheddar Pecan Almond Crisps are going to be perfect for those times when you need a low-carb treat for a holiday gathering. I switched out the flour for almond flour in a recipe I spotted in the Penzeys holiday catalog, and when we tested the recipe we also cut it in half, because even though it's low in carbs, this is a calorie dense treat when it's made with almond flour.
How did we like them? When I tested this recipe with Kara, we seriously could not stop eating them! I thought they were so tempting that I made Kara take most of them home with her when she left and then I gobbled up the leftovers and wished I'd kept a few more. I promise everyone will love these for a holiday nibble, whether or not they're thinking about the carbs!
The dough has to be chilled and the butter needs to start out soft, so you have to plan ahead. Mash up the softened butter with a fork, and then mash in the finely grated sharp cheddar. In another bowl, mix the almond flour, salt, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Chop the pecans, then mix together the cheese mixture, almond flour mixture, and pecans to make a stiff dough.
Divide the dough into two balls, then roll out into a log that's about 1 1/2 inches thick. Roll waxed paper around each log and chill in the fridge overnight, or at least for 4-6 hours. The dough should be firm when you cut it.
Cut the log into round pieces about 1/4 inch thick. (Cutting them into even thicknesses was the only hard part for the recipe, and they do spread out a bit as you can see from that photo.) Bake on parchment at 350F/180C for about 13-15 minutes, or until the cookies feel firm. Let them cool for about 30 minutes before serving; we cooled them on paper towels.
Serve at a holiday party or when you're having friends over and I promise that these will disappear pretty quickly!
Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Cheddar Pecan Almond Crisps
(Makes about 50-60 little crisps, adapted from a recipe in the Penzeys catalog, Thanksgiving 2016.)
1/4 cup softened butter (1/2 stick)
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 cup blanched almond flour (I always buy this one, and my brother Mark just moved to the town in Utah where they make it! You might find it at Costco.)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or maybe a bit less if you use salted butter)
generous pinch sweet Paprika (I love Pride of Szeged Paprika)
pinch Cayenne Pepper (or other hot ground chile will work)
1/2 cup small chopped pecans
Let the butter soften for a few hours on the counter. Then put butter into a small bowl and mash with a fork. Grate the sharp cheddar on the very smallest cheese grater you have; then add cheese to the bowl and mash together with the butter. (A pastry blender would be good for this if you have one but we just used a fork.)
In a separate bowl stir together the blanched almond flour, salt, sweet paprika, and cayenne. Chop the pecans. Add the almond flour mixture and chopped pecans to the cheese/butter mixture and mash together. (You could probably do this in a food processor with the plastic blade, but it wasn't too hard to get it mixed with a large fork.)
Divide the dough into two balls; then roll each ball into a log that's about 1 1/2 inches thick. Roll the logs in waxed paper and chill in the fridge overnight, or at least for 4-6 hours (until the dough is very firm.)
When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350F/180C and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the logs of dough into pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick and lay them out on the parchment paper, leaving some space in between for the dough to spread out. Bake about 13-15 minutes, or until the crisps are firm and barely starting to brown.
Let cool for 20 minutes or so before serving. (We cooled them on paper towels.)
(If you don't care about carbs and want to make the original version with flour, here's the recipe for Cheese Pecan Crisps from Lucy Bartlett, shared in the Penzeys catalog. It looks like the ones with flour don't spread out nearly as much!)
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Cheddar Pecan Almond Crisps are definitely good for most low-carb diet plans though, especially Keto or Low-Carb-High-Fat diets. Although these are low in carbs, they're probably best as a special treat if you're following the South Beach Diet, due to the amount of fat, and nut flours are limited to Phase 2 or 3 for South Beach.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Low-Carb Holiday Nibbles:
Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Cheese Crackers with Almond Flour ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Low-Carb Multi "Grain" Crackers ~ Elana's Pantry
Easy Ham and Dill Pickle Appetizer Bites ~ Kalyn's Kitchen