parmesan cream crackers

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Parmesan Cream Crackers
Adapted from Mark Bittman

Maybe I’ve mentioned this before but I like The Minimalist column quite a bit for Bittman’s ideas and low-fuss approach to cooking, but when it comes to the execution of these ideas, I need a lot more detail to make them work. In this case, the recipe itself makes delicious crackers but I found rolling the crackers the recommended 1/2-inch thick to be still too thick, that they required docking to keep them from being little puffers and that I got the best browning from making them as individual crackers, not a large one scored. Below is the original recipe with my adaptations.

Rolling the dough 1/4-inch thick, I yielded 30 1 1/2-inch square cookies that shrank slightly and puffed to 3/8-inch thick

1 cup all-purpose flour, more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese (alternate: I think Romano could also work well here)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream or half-and-half, more as needed
Coarse salt, pepper, sesame or poppy seeds or whatever you like for sprinkling (optional).

Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly dust with flour. Put flour, salt, cheese and butter in bowl of a food processor. Pulse until flour and butter are combined. Add about 1/4 cup cream or half-and-half and let machine run for a bit until a dough forms. If it does not come together, add more liquid a teaspoon at a time, until mixture holds together but is not sticky. (I only needed the ingredient levels as listed to pull the dough together.)

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/4-inch thick or even thinner, adding flour as needed. From here, you can either form them into individual crackers (I went for 1 1/2-inch squares cut with a fluted pastry wheel) and bake them an inch apart on your baking sheet (the method I used) or transfer the entire rolled-out sheet to your baking sheet (draping it over the rolling pin will make it easier) and score them lightly with a knife, pizza or pastry wheel to break into crackers after they are baked. For either method, dock all over with a fork and sprinkle with salt or any other toppings you are using.

Bake until moderately browned, about 12 minutes. Cool on a rack; serve warm or at room temperature or store in a tin for a few days.

Note: Mine were the most crisp before they’d been kept in a container. If you’re baking them less than a day in advance, I think they can be left uncovered to maintain their best texture.


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