Today I finally share a recipe made for a very special reception hosted at our home a few months ago. These are simple to make in the food processor and have great texture. You know when you bite into a cracker and it feels kind of hard, but in 2.5 seconds it dissolves in your mouth releasing all sorts of enticing flavors? These are exactly it. The recipe I used was inspired by two sources, Fine Cooking and America’s Test Kitchen, you can certainly adapt it to your own taste. They are a bit spicy, so if you prefer to take the crackers into a different path, omit the cayenne, go for cumin or even some curry, that could be wonderful too. Most important thing is to use good quality Cheddar and Parmigiano cheeses because their flavors will be quite prominent in the crackers. I guarantee you will have no leftovers at the end of your party…
CHEDDAR CHEESE CRACKERS
(inspired by ATK & Fine Cooking magazine)
1 cup extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 + 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces and kept cold
3 tablespoons water
Process cheddar, flour, cornstarch, salt, cayenne, and paprika in food processor until combined, about 30 seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles wet sand, about 20 seconds. Add water and process until dough ball forms, about 10 seconds. Transfer dough to counter and divide in half. Roll each half into 10-inch log, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap logs and slice into ¼-inch-thick coins. Place coins on prepared sheets, ½ inch apart. Bake until light golden around edges, 22 to 28 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let coins cool completely on sheets before serving.
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Comments: It is easy to open several boxes of crackers to serve alongside cheeses and spreads. But nothing takes a cocktail party to another level like homemade crackers. And homemade bread, of course. These keep very well at room temperature inside a can, so you could prepare them in advance and impress that special group of friends stress-free. Wait for the question “What brand of crackers are these? They are so good!”. To that you follow with a short pause… and say as nonchalantly as possible… “These? Oh, these I made myself…” A little bit of Hollywood never hurt a cocktail party, trust me on that…