Mustard-Swiss Crackers

This is a new recipe for me and a new idea as well. I have so very many cookbooks, but just for convenience sake, I usually use recipes I’ve saved on my cute little red drive from off the interweb.

Well that stops now. I am going through so rather old cookbooks to start “cooking the books.” I won’t do it all at one time, just as I feel like it, but this is my first foray into the idea.  I already know what I have next in line – spoilers, but since I had swiss in the house and all kinds of mustard and I have an unnatural thing for crackers, I decided to start here. My changes, due to not wanting to go to the Publix,  are noted below.

D&D_28248 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
8 ozs Swiss cheese, coarsely grated (2 1/4 cups)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbs Dijon mustard – used Gulden’s and added Dijon to the next grocery list
2 tsp dry mustard (Coleman’s)
1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds – didn’t use
1 tsp salt

In the bowl of the food processor, blend butter and cheese until almost smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Divide dough between two sheets of waxed paper and role into an 8 inch log. Wrap tightly in wax paper and then foil; freeze until firm, 1 1/2 – 2 hours.*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment. Cut logs into 1/4 inch slices and arrange 1 inch apart. Bake, turning half way through until edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Source: The Best American Recipes: 2004-2005

Cook the Book 2018

*Refrigerate overnight – totally worked as it most of the time does.

Dough 7 April

Baked 10 April – smells a lot like mustard, but the taste is wanting. Needs some heat and I think the Swiss just gets lost in the end. So we shall try this again – maybe adding a pinch of cayenne

They bake up beautifully though, so worth another try (very soon) with some flavor adjustments. Maybe the Dijon mustard will make a change too.  Sprinkle of some salt on the top. Not sure – so many ways that this can go.

Love things you can prep and leave in the fridge and bake a few days later. Makes baking in the evening after work so much easier. You feel like you’ve accomplished something on a Wednesday or whatever.

 

Manchego Crackers

So I had Manchego and had to figure out something to do with it. I buy cheese like that – buy it and then figure something out. Improvisation or some such. Manchego is sheeps’ milk cheese from Spain – from the La Mancha region. I guess this is the sheep milk cheese cracker. I am a big fan of sheeps’ milk cheeses, and goats’ milk cheese, and cows’ milk cheese. Well you get the idea. Fan of cheese is all possible variations.

This is a new recipe to me – so here we go.

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6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne
2 ounces Manchego cheese, finely grated

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse just until a dough forms. Do not overwork dough, or crackers will be tough.

Roll dough into a log about 1.5 inches in diameter (is that the right word for round-ish? – don’t know). Refrigerate. I usually just refrigerate overnight just to be safe and it seems to work well.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Slice dough into rounds about 1/4 inch thick and place on baking sheet lined with parchment. Dock the crackers with a fork. Bake in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Allow crackers to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer them directly to a cooling rack to cool.

Store crackers layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.

Adapted from Epicurious. Via http://lifecurrents.dw2.net/manchego-crackers/

~Original directions: Gather dough into a ball, and flatten into a 5-inch disk. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and chill dough, until firm, about 30 minutes. The dough can be made ahead and chilled like this for up to 2 days.

Roll out dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until about 1/8-inch thick, roughly 14-inch round.

Working quickly, cut out rounds with a 1 ¾ to 2-inch floured biscuit cutter, and arrange the rounds ½-inch apart on a silpat or parchment paper covered baking sheet. Re-roll scraps (but only once or they will get tough; chill first if soft), and cut out more rounds. Prick each round 2 or 3 times with a fork.

If your kitchen is warm, roll out dough between 2 sheets of wax paper.

~ Notes: I really hate rolling out crackers, or cookies for that matter. Let’s just keep it simple. I did the same thing with Scottish Sharp Cheddar Shortbread just last week. I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work. At least, I’m two for two right now and I shall just keep going. I guess my exception is my favorite sugar cookies. I am not sure how they could be made any other way – but that does not mean I am not open to trying something new.

Keeping Recipes …

How do you keep recipes?

I tend to print recipes and keep them in several binders. Then I also have a drive with folders and some are on Evernote and some on my old blog. Some I just know by heart and need nothing to make them – there are many of those. I just spent two evenings this week sorting through recipes (new and old) and along the way, I edited – looked at each recipe and then think, “Will I really make this?” Lots ended up in the recycle bin which makes me feel bad (dead trees) and I need to edit earlier in the process – like before printing.

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Yes, I have a binder for Crackers. No judgement.  See: Cracker Challenge.

I wish I could develop a system that truly works for me, but using cookbooks, family recipes that I know by heart, a few magazines, recipe “ideas” (with no step by step instructions), and things found on the recipe sites I trust, and of course, other blogs – How are you supposed to keep it all straight?

Looking at my photo, I am, obviously, not consistent in the way I make my binder labels.

My first blog, and this one too, were/are a way to keep up with things, but sometimes it gets a bit out of hand. I wander around the house with a stack of recipes I want to try – just printed, pulled from binders, etc. Trying to make them fit into the right time of year makes it even more difficult. Ugh. I am supposing this is a complete first world problem, but I would like to have a set of things to pass down to the Boy and his future wife and their kids. Otherwise, why are we here? You get my genetics by default, but I would love for you to know the recipes that come from different people in our family.

Such as my spinster (yep, they used the word) Aunt Rhodie’s chow chow recipe. She was really my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister and was partially deaf (seems mostly like when she wanted to be – that is what my grandma always said anyway) and never married but lived with my grandmother and grandfather, but she could totally rock the chow chow.  Now the recipe makes gallons so I’ll have to down size it to make it manageable, but is it worth the effort?

I believe it is. Especially when you put that chow chow on black-eyed peas – my favorite way to eat it. Otherwise black-eyed peas – kind of meh. Interesting the only reason I have the recipe is because my mom asked for it. This was my father’s aunt, but my mom appreciated it – probably because it could get me to eat black-eyed peas if for no other reason. I don’t remember my mom ever making it. Can’t blame her. Why do that when Aunt Rhodie+ would do it for us? Just get a few jars from the dug-in-clay basement of my grandmother’s house – which also held the washing machine – clothes were dried on the line out back. There is something really nice about that and I miss it. Clean sheets dried in the wind, so fresh and comforting and a cool clay basement.  Something you do not, nor will ever have, in Florida.

+Rhodie was short for Rosebud. I think Rosebud is so much better, and to be honest, that is what my grandmother called her sister most of the time.

I am going to have to work on the recipe to take it down from gallons into something that I can handle.  This is not the time of year for green tomatoes, but I think this might be my “winter” (winter being a questionable word for us right now) project to make it into something smaller that might work for our family. I also wonder … will it taste like I remember? Lord, I hope so.

 

Parmesan Walnut Crackers

I do love to make crackers. I have a cracker binder. I am guessing not many people have those. I mean a cheese cracker binder. Well, there it is. I just cannot help it, I love cheese crackers. This recipe was my winner in 2012 cracker challenge. Not my best year, but the best crackers. And I keep on making them again and again. dd_1673

8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ozs freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
big pinch of fresh cayenne

Cream butter and Parmesan and mix well. Stir in flour, walnuts, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Form mixture to 1 inch logs and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days, or longer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut log into 1/4 inch slices. Place slices on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 20 minutes until edges are golden.

Winner of the cheese cracker challenge. Yes, I do a cracker challenge quite often. So sad. And very geeky. But that is me.

I think I’ll do it in January just for fun with a new set of recipes. Might include cheese straws for this one. Or maybe not. We shall see.

My thoughts on the Cracker Challenge – yep, that sounds slightly weird. Geh.

After the 2012 cracker challenge, I decided to make the ultimate cheese cracker – my own version. I took the following things into consideration: ingredients on hand, time to mix, log or flat, dough handling, time to chill, spice. nuts. flavor, crispiness, cost to make, and it all culminated in an all around winner which was – Parmesan Rosemary Walnut Shortbread.Will make that again, because I really love them. Because growing fresh Rosemary is simply easy – just put it in the garden in a place  that gets lots of sun, but not too much water – read: no sprinkler system.

D&D_1476That said, I took the best qualities from the 5 recipes I used and developed this. I think this just might be my first real recipe on my own – although with a little help. I do freelance in cooking, but baking is a completely different animal.

The cracker challenge sat for a while (until 2016), but now we are going to make my ultimate cracker and see if/how it measures up. I am not growing Rosemary – damn it. But we shall manage. Will soldier on. That is what I do. It is June 2016 and I cannot sleep, so this is what I decided to do. I’ll wear it proudly. It is June 2016 and I cannot sleep, so this is what I decided to do. I’ll wear it proudly.

6 ozs all-purpose flour – yes, we are measuring by weight – why else do I have the damn scale? Thank you Ruhlman.
2 ozs grated cheddar – plus just a bit because that is what I do.
2 ozs finely grated Parmesan – it really seems like a lot but in reality it is not, mostly.
1/2 tsp cayenne – I think next time – more, yes, please – more.
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped, but not too finely
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 ozs (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2” pieces
1 egg yolk, with just a smidge of cold water

First thing, I chop the walnuts in the food processor and since everything else is going to be mixed in there, it is no big deal. Remove the walnuts.

To the food processor, add the flour, and cheeses, cayenne, walnuts, pepper and whir around a bit. Then add butter. Once that is combined, add the egg and water to the top of the dough and just pulse until it comes together. Then add the walnuts back in. Will not be long to come together.

Dump out on waxed paper and press together and then shape into a couple of logs. Chill overnight or up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut the logs in 3/4 inch slices or there abouts. Just try to make the slices very similar to each other. That way they bake the same way. It takes about 12 minutes to bake them, but you need turn them half way through. You want the edges slightly gold and the same with the bottom. That really is as far as you want to go in the baking these cheese crackers.

Hood got a bit of cheese, but the cracker rolls are in the fridge and ready to be baked and in my head, they will be good because the dough was not damn bad.

Nota bene:That is something I have learned – if the dough does not taste good, neither will the cookies or crackers.

 

 

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

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