1 lb. sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated, room temperature
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter (no substitute!), very soft
3 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
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1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Black sesame seeds or poppy seeds
Makes about 125. In a heavy electric mixer blend together cheese and butter. Sift together flour, salt and cayenne. Add to cheese mixture. Blend until dough clings together. Fill the barrel of a cookie press with the dough. Secure close fitting the cookie press with the five-petal blossom shaped disc. Press cheddar blossoms onto ungreased cookie sheet, allowing just a bit of space between.
Scantly sprinkle sesame seeds or poppyseeds in center of each "flower." Bake in oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 25-28 minutes or even less time if using dark non-stick bakeware. (Note: I prefer using aluminum bakeware without nonstick coating.) This may seem like a long baking time for such small treats, but the longer you bake these the more intense the cheese flavor. The less the baking time yields a more buttery taste rather than cheesy.
Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer from sheet to cooling rack. Let cool thoroughly before transferring to a storage container. Keeps at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.