Cheddar Pecan Crisps

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Cheddar Pecan Crisps

Cheddar crackers are some of my favorite things in the world. I make them year round, eat the for breakfast (yep totally), lunch, snack, or dinner. There are several things though, that I require of my cheddar crackers. First, nuts of some kind, then heat, typically cayenne because the heat comes a little late so you get to taste the cheese/nuts first. After that, I have things I enjoy, such as some herbal components, particularly rosemary, sometimes a little dried fruit – it makes sense on a cheese board it should make sense in a cracker.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
8 ozs cheddar, grated, big holes on the box grater
1 large egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup pecans, finely chopped

Sift together salt, cayenne, and all-purpose flour over a sheet of waxed paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together butter and cheddar in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth, then add in the dry ingredients. Add in the pecans.

Roll into rounded teaspoons of dough and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet inches apart. Flatten into 1 1/2″ disk with the bottom of a glass or the back of a spoon and bake until golden, 15 – 18 minutes.

Yield: 50 crackers sort of…. well, not really.

No idea where this recipe came from, and it is pretty much altered from the original recipe.

I think you can substitute walnuts for pecans in this recipe. This isn’t always the case, but in this instance, it would work. Pecans are a little sweeter and they are local and so fresh, so that’s what I go with. I don’t typically substitute red pepper flakes for cayenne. But I might try Aleppo pepper next time.

10 Nov 2002
10 May 2009 – Mom’s Day
14 Nov 2015 – cheese crackers for me and there it is.

Cheddar Parmesan Crackers

How weird is it that you have a binder full (!) of cheese cracker recipes? Who does this? No one.
Well, I do. I’m not even sure how this started really, but it did and these, as a group, are one of my favorite things to bake. I eat them for breakfast and for a snack when I get home and am making dinner. I love the fact that most of the crackers I make you can get the dough together and then bake up to a few (or more) days later. The slice and bake nature suits me for baking mid-week.
I have certain things I like about crackers: I prefer cheddar and/or Parmesan over Bleu cheese; nuts should be involved and I D&D_0871lean towards walnuts – pecans can be a bit sweet; my favorite herb is fresh rosemary; and there should always be bit of heat, usually provided by cayenne.
I guess the only thing about crackers is that humidity will effect them (or is it affect). I was correct with the effect – thankfully.
They still taste amazing, but they are a bit soft. Something that cannot be helped even this time of year. It’s early November and humid and in the 80’s. That’s our “fall” as it were.

4 ozs. cheddar, gated on the big holes of a box grater (no pre grated)
2 ozs. Parmesan, finely grated
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1:4 tsp dry mustard (Coleman’s)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
2 Tbs cold water, plus more if needed

In a food processor, blend all ingredients except butter and water. Pulse five times to make sure all ingredients are mixed well. Add small pieces of butter, and pulse until pea sized dough. Add water, a tablespoon at a time until the dough just starts to hold together.

Dump the dough on to waxed paper and roll into a log about 1 1/4 inch in diameter. Wrap well and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to two days (Or freeze for up to a month).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut log into 1/4 inch slices and arrange slices on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 14 – 15 minutes, rotating pan half way through, until lightly golden. Cool on a rack.

Notes: top crackers, before baking with finely chopped walnuts.

05 September 2006 – outstanding
21 December 2006
21 December 2008 – heaping 1/4 tsp mustard; 1/4 tsp cayenne = perfect
vvg – light and crisp – best cheddar cracker
6 March 2010 – still futzing with time and temp
6 December 2014
31 October 2015 – 38 crackers total, vg

Gruyere Walnut Crackers

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Gruyere Walnut Crackers

I think I may be the only person that makes their own crackers. I’ve been doing this for years and have learned so much from the process. This recipe – if you can call it that – is based on my favorite cheddar cracker recipe and on the cheese cracker challenge of 2012, which was, I have to say, epic.   Again, excellent use of commas. Can not help my self.

So here we go …

6 ozs all-purpose flour – yes, weigh it.
3 ozs Gruyere, grated – do I need to say it again?
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp cayenne
4 ozs unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
2 Tbs water
2 ozs walnuts, finely chopped

In the bowl of the food processor, chop the walnuts. Remove them and add the flour, Gruyere, salt, and cayenne. Pulse to incorporate. Add butter and pulse until dough is pea sized pieces. Add nuts and pulse until the dough comes together.
Pile crumbs on an unfloured surface and knead a few times to pull the dough together. Roll the dough into two logs about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or up to three days.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. Slice the logs into about 1/4 inch slices. The most important thing is the slices are similar in size. Space the about an inch apart. Bake 12 – 15 minutes, rotating baking sheet half way through. Place on a rack to cool, and the store in an airtight chamber.

I’ve modified one of my favorite cheddar cracker recipe to use a very nice piece of Gruyere I had. I’ve made some modifications to the methodology and to some of the flavorings.

Cheddar Versions:

13 December 2008

1 July 2012

28 December 2013

1 November 2014

Gruyere Version:

24 August 2015

Mrs. Lenkh’s Cheese Sables

I have had this recipe printed and in my cracker binder –  yes, I have a cracker binder, and have had one for donkey’s years. No comments about that because I am just that girl. I Just have never made this until now. It uses way more butter than normal for cheese crackers, but comes together easily. And I let the dough sit in the fridge for a couple of days before baking. That is one thing I like about cracker recipes. Make them and then bake a few days latter … no biggie.D&D_9562

9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. table salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. baking powder
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
3-1/2 oz. (1-1/2 cups) finely grated sharp Cheddar
1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional – not really)
1 large egg yolk mixed with a pinch of paprika and 1/2 tsp. water, as a glaze
Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling

Put the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Add the cheeses, pulse, and finally, add the egg and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Dump the dough on an unfloured surface. If you’re using nuts, sprinkle them on the pile of dough. Knead by lightly smearing the ingredients together as you push them away from you with the heel of your hand until the dough is cohesive. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour or two to let the butter firm.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out shapes or cut shapes with a knife. Arrange 1-inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once and stamp again.

Brush with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt. Bake until golden brown and thoroughly cooked inside, about 14 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom about halfway through. To test, break one in half and look to see if the center still looks doughy. If so, cook for a few more minutes, but be careful not to over bake. Let cool on a rack and store only when completely cool.

Notes: These were only slightly amazing. So light, so crispy. I cannot think of anything I would do different. Except make them again and again.  I really cannot imagine it took me so long to make them.

Source: Fine Cooking. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/cheese-sables.aspx

Mrs. Lenkh’s Cheese Sables

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Cheese Sables

I’ve had this recipe printed for about ever and in my cracker binder – yes, I have binder for cheese crackers – mock me if you dare. But I have never made this recipe until now. It uses way more butter than normal for a cheese cracker recipe, but it is super flaky.  It comes together easily and then I let it sit in the fridge for several days. About a week, if I’m going to be honest, though the recipe said two days – I know from experience with cheese crackers, you can just let that slide a bit. Thankfully. I like the idea of making something one day and then bake them a bit later – that works for me. I do the same thing when pickling.

Okay for a definition of a sable – I have my handy-dandy The New Food Lover’s Companion.   A book I relied on as an event planner – it’s small and pretty much tells you everything you need to know about food. My mentor had one and when I went off on my own way, it was one of the first things I bought. So the definition of a sable is – “The French word sable means sand (knew that) and the cookies are so named because of their delicate, crumbly texture.”*

  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. table salt **
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne (used about 1/4 tsp because I am me)
  • 1/8 tsp. baking powder
  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3-1/2 oz. (1-1/2 cups) finely grated sharp Cheddar
  • 1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional, nope – not optional – walnuts)
  • 1 large egg yolk mixed with a pinch of paprika and 1/2 tsp. water, as a glaze (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • Kosher or sea salt for sprinkling (didn’t use this at all) **
Put the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking powder in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pieces, six to eight 1-second pulses. Add the cheeses, pulse, and finally, add the egg and pulse until the mixture just starts to come together.

Dump the dough on an unfloured surface. If you’re using nuts ( yes, you are), sprinkle them on the pile of dough. Knead by lightly smearing the ingredients together as you push them away from you with the heel of your hand until the dough is cohesive. Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for an hour or two to let the butter firm.

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out shapes or cut shapes with a knife. Arrange 1-inch apart on two ungreased baking sheets. Reroll scraps once and stamp again.

Brush with the glaze and sprinkle lightly with kosher or sea salt. Bake until golden brown and thoroughly cooked inside, about 14 minutes, rotating the sheets from front to back and top to bottom about halfway through. To test, break one in half and look to see if the center still looks doughy. If so, cook for a few more minutes, but be careful not to overbake. Let cool on a rack and store only when completely cool.

Source: Fine Cooking

*The New Food Lover’s Companion, 2001. p. 531.

** My printed version of the recipe says 1 Tbs table salt, which I thought was total over load, especially with Parmesan,  so I kind of used not that much. And then I tasted the first batch with no extra salt and loved them. So that’s how I did it. And the sables are pretty much amazing. And they hold up pretty well over a week or so. Humidity didn’t seem to get to them. Nice.

Not sure who Mrs. Lenkh is, but I am thankful for this recipe. Another win in the cheese cracker department.

Cheese Straws

I have yet to get into my cheese cracker fixation for this year, but I will. I liked these, sort of. I would have liked them thinner. I will do a better job next time, but they do taste good. And my friends liked them a lot. They just look pudgy.  Maybe I’m being too picky. Yes, likely. But they do taste good.

6 ozs. sharp cheddar, grated
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne

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Cheese Straws that are kind of fat, but they tasted really good.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In food processor, mix flour, butter, mustard, salt, black pepper, cayenne. Add butter and cheese, pulse until dough forms.

Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, divide into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope about 3/8 inch in diameter and 18 inches long; cut each rope into 6 three inch pieces. Place pieces 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Drag the tines of a fork down each straw to create ridges.

Bake until golden and firm to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Source: oops. Don’t know. That’s a bad habit of mine.

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers – Foster’s Market

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Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

2 cups (8 ozs) grated cheddar
8 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp sea salt, plus more sprinkling
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne

Cream butter and cheese together in a large bowl with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined.  Stir together the flour, rosemary, red pepper, and cayenne in a separate bowl.

Turn the dough onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Roll into log shape. Wrap in paper and refrigerate for several hours or over night until dough is firm and sliceable.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator. Cut the log into 1/4″ slices and arrange on baking sheet. Using fork, prick each cracker several times and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

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Okay. I have issues with this recipe. Now I know I’m a bit of a cracker snob and all, but I should have trusted my gut and not used dried rosemary. How I so regret losing my huge rosemary plant. Must start a new one as soon as can be.

Cayenne and red pepper flakes makes for a hot cracker, perhaps too much. I will stick with just cayenne from now on. Don’t need the extra salt on top – too much.

Dough was super nice, bake time was spot on. Easy to put together with things on hand, so not all is bad, but I think it could be better with just a few adjustments.

FostersMarketCookbook

Foster’s Market

One of my favorite memories of my time in Chapel Hill, NC., was going to Foster’s Market. This cookbook is the only one I’ve ever stood in line to get signed and I got one for my great friend too. Sara Foster is so amazing. Both the Durham store, just off the 15-501, and the Chapel Hill store on Airport. It was the place I took all my friends who came to visit. If I could ever open a restaurant/shop, it would be a combination of Foster’s Market, European Street in Jacksonville, FL – my home city (not a town), and Food Glorious Food in Tallahassee, FL.

Source: Foster’s Market