Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cheddar Crackers

Part of the fun of being obsessed with food and cooking is making things that are borderline ridiculous.  Such as your own doughnuts, for instance.  Or perhaps frying up a batch of zucchini chips.  The other night when John was out of town I decided to make my own cheddar crackers and eat them for dinner.  I wasn't craving cheddar crackers, exactly, but I was dying to try the recipe.

Unfortunately, that same evening I decided I would also make my own cherry frozen yogurt (I have issues)...so after cooking for about 3 hours after work my cheddar crackers finished at roughly 10:00 PM.  I have a tendency to get a bit overly ambitious when I'm in the mood, and last Tuesday was no exception.  Luckily for me, the cheddar crackers hit the spot, and in fact, the spot was one of nostalgia that I hadn't thought of in ages.  Did anyone else get Better Cheddars (or perhaps Chez-its) tucked into their lunch boxes?  Well I did, and it was a wonderful treat to bite into the salty rounds with a hint of cheddar flavor.  These crackers are clearly loads better than anything you find in a red cardboard box, but they are cheddar crackers nonetheless, and reminded me of my lunch box days.  Whether you had a fondness for cheddar crackers growing up or not, I hope you try this recipe one day when you're feeling a bit overly ambitious and find it necessary to make your own crackers.

The crackers almost didn't come to existence that fateful night, though, because I was convinced I had messed up the recipe.  I almost called Natalie for advice, since she was the one who steered me toward these crispy crackers.  After I added all of the ingredients into the would-be dough, my stand mixer kept churning and churning and all I had was a bunch of walnut and cheese pebbles in my bowl.  Luckily, I figured there was no harm in letting the mixer keep at it for another few minutes (because it wasn't like it could ruin something that wasn't usable anyway), and much to my chagrin, normal dough formed soon enough.  So if you make this recipe and begin to doubt yourself, let your mixer do its thang and the dough will come together.

If I were a wine drinker, I would have accompanied my crackers with wine.  But alas, that's not my style, so I used a nice glass of cold milk to go with this cheesy snack.  What can I say?  I always liked my Better Cheddars with milk.

Cheddar Crackers
From Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

3/4 cup (105 g) flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 1/3 cups (225 g) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 cup (55 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (70 g) chopped walnuts

Mix together flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a small bowl.  In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the softened butter and shredded cheese until just combined.  Add in the flour mixture and beat on low speed until incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add in the walnuts and mix on low speed until the dough turns from pebbles into a stiff combined mixture.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place on parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap.  Shape into a log about 1 inch in diameter and wrap well.  Freeze until hard, about two hours.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the dough into 1/8 inch-thick slices and bake on parchment paper one inch apart for 8-10 minutes.  Make sure the crackers are browned before removing from the oven.  Allow crackers to cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I love, love, love this recipe. I make it and keep them in the freezer, rolled and ready to slice and bake. Problem is, I can eat the whole batch myself! Yours look delicious!


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