While noodling around on the internet this week looking for inspiration for a “nosh of note”, I ran across a recipe for “Parmesan Cream Crackers” by Mark Bittman that was published in the New York Times cooking section a few years ago. Homemade crackers would certainly qualify as a “nosh of note” wouldn’t they? Bittman’s basic recipe has just a few ingredients and from start to finish, 25 minutes/ I had a pan of freshly baked crackers. What could be easier than that?
Encouraged I took the basic recipe and ran with it…first batch I topped with toasted sesame seeds….which thankfully you can now purchase already toasted. Would you like to know how many sesame seeds I have burned up toasting them myself? Thousands I would guess.
The simple dough needs to be rolled out thinly and cut/scored before baking. The second batch I added fresh thyme leaves and red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.
On a roll I whipped up a few other batches using various toss-ins and toppings such as crunchy sea salt, black pepper, espresso cocoa sea salt….
….bittersweet chocolate, chopped pistachios, orange peel and crunchy raw sugar.
Two hours later sheet pans of savory aromatic crackers covered the kitchen counters, ready to accompany a cheese platter along with a few bottles of bubbly for a New Year’s Eve with good, long-time friends…it was as Easy as This.
Note: “Nosh of note” was a quote from my friend, Nancy Vienneau, within an invite to a New Years Eve gathering at her home. Check out her blog at “Good Food Matters”.
Note: You can find the original recipe for “Parmesan Cheese Crackers” by Mark Bittman here..
Happy New Year Cheese Crackers
For basic Parmesan Cheese Crackers:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup cream + more as needed to make dough
For “Toss-ins and Toppings” that I used:
- toasted sesame seeds
- thyme leaves and pepper flakes
- espresso-cocoa sea salt mixture
- chopped pistachios and orange zest with black pepper
- bittersweet chocolate, espresso powder, raw sugar and cinnamon
- any number of other ideas pop into my head…pecans, walnuts, green tea, cayenne, any herbs, cardamom, lavender and lemon zest…use what you might have, what you like, and experiment.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
- To a food processor add flour, salt, Parmesan cheese and butter. Pulse to combine.
- If you choose to add any “toss ins” do so now, although the original recipe is fantastic as is.
- After adding “toss ins”…drizzle in cream while processor is running until a dough forms. If need be, add a wee bit more cream. Dough should be smooth and silky and not at all sticky.
- Roll dough out until thin, but workable, on lightly floured surface. Add flour as needed. Transfer dough to parchment lined baking sheet. (You can also simply roll the dough out on a sheet of lightly floured parchment and then transfer to sheet pans to save a step.
- Here is where the “toppings” part comes in. Sprinkle on top and gently press into surface of dough.
- Using a pastry wheel or knife cut/score dough so you can break into individual crackers after baking.
- Bake until golden, light browned…for about 10-13 minutes depending on your oven. Cool on wire rack. You can serve these crackers warm or at room temperature and they can be stored in air tight containers for a few days. They are great with a bowl of soup or as dippers.
recipe adapted from a recipe by Mark Bittman published in the New York Times.