Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Parmesan And Thyme Crackers

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About a year ago I attended a Wine and Cheese Party that was actually a birthday party for two friends who had birthdays within the same week. It was a great idea to combine the birthday party with a wine tasting and of course I had to bring along some cheese. I also decided to give the following recipe a try and took a batch of these crackers along for the party. I am not kidding when I say every single cracker was eaten by the end of the night and I have been making these crackers ever since. I am a big fan of Ina Garten better known as “The Barefoot Contessa” and this recipe is from her latest book “Back to Basics”. The secret to this recipe is to use the good stuff. Real Parmesan Reggiano is an absolute must here in my humble opinion. If you use the stuff in the “green can”, I cannot be responsible for the results! Let’s just say that the Parmesan Reggiano makes a huge difference.

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I write in my cookbooks all the time. I always have. How about you? I like to write in the date that I made the recipe, and I like to jot down anything special that I might have done or any substitutes I might have made. And I like to include any other details about why I was making the recipe. Was it for a party? Did every one like it? Did one of the kids help me make it? I have a lot of cookie recipes with little notes about the kids helping me. Lots of drips and smudge marks too. :)

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Parmesan And Thyme Crackers

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used salted butter)

4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup) (Use a Microplane Grater if you have it, it gets the cheese nice and fine and fluffy.)

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves ( I used about 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme and rubbed the leaves together to crumble them up)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper and combine. With the mixer still on low, add the flour and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add 1 teaspoon of water. ( I had to add several teaspoons of water to get a workable dough. Be sure to mix after each water addition. You do not want to add too much.)

Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 9 inch log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days. (You can also freeze the log at this point and bake them at a later date. Just defrost overnight in the refrigerator and then slice and bake them when you are ready to serve.)

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the log into 3/8 inch thick rounds with a small, sharp knife and place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (I used foil). Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during the baking. Cool and serve at room temperature. Makes about 24 crackers.

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These crackers would be just the thing to help you ring in the New Year. And if you have any leftover from the party, which is hard for me to imagine, these freeze really well even after they are baked. They are a handy thing to have on hand when you want to have something to nibble on while enjoying a glass of wine. Just pull a few out of the freezer and pour. You won’t believe how deep the flavor is. You will actually “nibble” on these because they are so rich. They kind of melt in your mouth and just one or two will do the trick. Enjoy! (Thanks Ina!)

And Thanks to Kelly over at Dare to Be Domestic for the great new wine suggestion. I found us a bottle when out shopping and I have to say that we are liking the Gnarly Head!! Cheers!


Stephanie Lynn said...

These look fabulous and delicious! I can't wait to try them. Thanks for sharing - Happy New Year!

Blondie's Journal said...


These crackers look lovely. I have been meaning to get Ina's new book...I am still trying recipes from Barefoot In Paris! But I am going to give these a try with all the different cheeses I have to serve on New Years Eve.

I wish you a happy one!! :-)


Malisa said...

I am going to try this recipe this weekend! Thanks! Don't you love Ina's voice? It is so soothing!

Karine said...

Your crackers look delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

Melanie said...

I have never thought about writing in my cookbooks. It really is a good idea to make little notes if you change something or if you liked it. I just bought one of her books and I think it is this one. I love her style. Just a sweet face and calming voice. I will have to see if this is the one that I have. I love a few new ones that I just received. I might blog about them and then you will have a list of new ones to buy. I am always here to help you buy another cookbook:)

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

What a great idea to write in your Cookbook. I think I'll give myself permission from now on.
Thanks for sharing...so glad the crackers were a big hit. : )
Hope your Christmas was Merry.

Carla said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks for the recipe tip. We entertain a lot, and I will definitely try these. I really love Ina. I love her simple, yet sophisticated recipes. I have several of her books, including that one, but haven't tried anything out of it yet. Son No. 2's girlfriend knows that I like her, and gave me her "Family Style" book for C'mas - bless her heart!

I think I'll try the crackers for tomorrow night to take to the party we're attending. Oh, and what's this "cheese in a green can" you refer to? Blasphemous! I always freshly grate my parm cheese. Why have it any other way??? LOL ;o)


Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

These sound SO delicious!! I love Ina. I also love that you write in your cookbooks - I love that idea! You will always have something better than a scrapbook to look back on for memories in the kitchen.

Ohh you got the Cab I've been wanting to try that Gnarly Head too - I can't get past the Zin. I'm so happy it was a great choice to side with your crackers! ox

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

I have that cook book on a book stand in my kitchen. I love her style of cooking and it is how I cook most the time, her and rachel ray... I have not tried that recipe, but now I will. I do love to write in my cook books. I think that makes them even more special.

Libbie said...

No one better than Ina!

Kelly @ Dare to be Domestic said...

Lovely lady - I wanted to let you know I presented you with an award on my blog!


Erin said...

These look delish. I love Ina, and I'm so glad to have found you via Triad Smarty Pants!

HMCraig said...

I made these yesterday. I've never thought about making crackers before, but they turned out really tasty! I spread some mascarpone on them and topped it off with a little apricot jam. Very good! Thanks for posting!