Serves approximately 36 shortbread
1 cup (250 ml) salted butter, softened
1 tbsp (15 ml) + 1 tsp (5 ml) coarsely ground black pepper, toasted until fragrant in a dry pan, divided
¼ cup (60 ml) + 1 tbsp (15 ml) icing sugar, sifted
¾ tsp (4 ml) salt
1½ cups (375 ml) flour
½ cup (125 ml) semolina flour
1 cup (250 ml) + ¼ cup (60 ml) packed finely grated Grana Padano cheese, divided
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil


  1. In bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, 1 tbsp (15 ml) pepper, icing sugar and salt. Beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue beating for another 2 to 3 minutes. Mixture should be thick and creamy. Add flour and semolina and mix just to incorporate; do not over beat. Add 1 cup (250 ml) grated Grana Padano and mix to combine.
  2. Transfer dough to a clean surface and divide into 3 equal rounds. Roll each round into about 7-in (18 cm) long logs. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours. At this point, logs can be wrapped and kept in refrigerator, up to 1 week, or frozen until ready to bake, up to 1 month. If freezing, allow to thaw overnight in refrigerator before baking.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a shallow dish, combine remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) Grana Padano and 1 tsp (5 ml) pepper. Brush logs with olive oil and roll them in cheese-pepper mixture to coat edges. Slice logs into ¾-in (2 cm) rounds and place on lined baking sheets. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until edges begin to brown and shortbread is just firm to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack. To gift, pack shortbread into clear cellophane bags and tie with a decorative ribbon.
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