Friday, February 27, 2009

A Mouse in My House

I think there’s a mouse in my house. The hunk of Parmegiano-Reggiano in my refrigerator shrinks steadily. The grated Parmegiano mysteriously disappears. Come to think of it, it seems like Parmegiano is always on the shopping list, even when we don’t eat pasta. Slices of cheddar cheese go missing, and so do slices of Swiss and provolone. And the Pecorino, which was supposed to be used for dinner, is no more. It’s time to catch my little mouse, and I know just how to lure him in—there’s no way he can resist. Where will the trail of shreds lead? Well, I have my suspicions…My husband did ask for his very own wheel of Parmegiano for his birthday.

Cheddar Crackers
Printable Recipe

6 ¼ ounces all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
¼ teaspoon powdered mustard
Generous pinch cayenne pepper
Several drops Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons water

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low for about 3 minutes, or until the dough comes together. Transfer the dough to a sheet of parchment paper and roll into a 2-inch log. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Unwrap the dough and cut into 3/16-inch slices. Arrange the slices about an inch apart on parchment-lined baking trays. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer crackers to a rack to cool.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen crackers. This is an extremely versatile recipe; try experimenting with different cheeses and flavorings. For example, instead of nigella, try freshly cracked black pepper—a very coarse grind is best. Or substitute Parmegiano-Reggiano and 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary for the cheddar and nigella, omitting the mustard, cayenne, and Worcestershire.

Nigella, which can also be known as kalonji or charnushka, tastes very much like thyme and is available at Indian markets and at Penzeys Spices. Crackers keep for several days in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. The log of dough, or portions of it, may be frozen for up to 1 month tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.


Rhyleysgranny said...

I adore cheese too but am not keen on commercially made crackers. These look and sound very good. You have a very nice blog.

angela said...

Would love to make these but not sure how measure dry ounces as its different from fluid ounces. I know this due to some failed attempts at other recipes. If you have any idea could you post so I could make these. Thanks:)

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Measure pounds and ounces with a scale. You can get a kitchen scale for less than $30 at any good cookware store. By the way, measuring dry ingredients by weight is much more accurate than measuring them by volume.

The Italian Dish said...

Okay, finally a good homemade cheese cracker. I'm giving these a try - they look great. I'm thinking of all the things I could do with them!

Anonymous said...

Can I get a bite please...have never managed to get crackers to look so good.

avaserfi said...

I made these yesterday with cheddar and black pepper. They might not have been as pretty as yours but they were a hit!

gaga said...

Oh, these look tasty! I'm going to have to try these.

NZ Ian said...

These are so tasty and easy to make. I used poppy seeds on the top and upgraded the heat with chilli flakes. Also used gluten free flour mix with 1tsp Gaur gum. Did the lot in a food processor on pulse and dribbled in the water till dough came together.

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