No matter that these sumptuous, zesty little rounds are not really biscuits—and I have no earthly idea why they’re known by everybody all over the South as “biscuits” (the one exception being a strange lady I encountered in Mobile, Alabama, who called hers cheese “cookies”). What matters is that cheese biscuits, like toasted pecans, are the backbone of any respectable Southern cocktail party or afternoon tea, and that I personally couldn’t exist without a tin of them in the kitchen at all times for nibbling. This particular recipe goes back generations in my family, with the only change being my discreet addition of Parmesan cheese. Just make sure you use aged, extra-sharp cheddar, genuine Parmesan, and pecans that are not in the least rancid.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, cheeses, salt, and cayenne pepper and mix with your hands till well blended. Add the flour gradually and mix with your hands till firm and smooth, adding a little more flour if the mixture is too sticky.
Roll pieces of dough into balls the size of large marbles and place on ungreased baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Press a pecan half into the center of each and
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