In my quest to make everything from scratch that my family eats one of the items that has slipped from the list is crackers. My husband and son love to eat cheese and crackers. My son also adores cheese crackers like cheese its. I decided to give crackers a try for Easter.
When I am trying a new recipe I google recipes for what ever it is I am making. This is the best cookbook around. As a professional chef many people ask what my favorite cook book is and I usually say Google. The reason Google can be so powerful as a cookbook is that you can peruse many different recipes in minutes. Then you can see what underlying themes or techniques are used. At this point I will usually build my own recipe or try one from a respected source.
There are thousands of places to find recipes on the internet. With recipe sites, blogs and food sites, lists can be endless. How do you know which ones are any good? Over the years there are a number of sites that I find are invaluable resources and I am sure the recipes are well written and tested. Here is a list of sites that I find have great recipes every time.
www.cooksillustrated.com If you are not familiar with Cooks Illustrated I encourage you to pick up a copy of the magazine at your grocery store or check out the website. They literally test recipes many times and find the best possible way to make each recipe. On their website you can pay a small yearly fee and have access to hundreds of tested recipes for everything from cupcakes to pot roast. Money well spent in my household.
www.marthastewart.com Now I am sure everyone is familiar with Martha. Not only are her recipes good but the comments section at the bottom of each recipe contains comments from people who have made the recipe and what they found worked or did not work. It is great information. Martha also has great recipes for the season with stunning photos. This site is a great inspiration.
www.smittenkitchen.com This veteran blogger has not only some of the most beautiful photos on the web but she is honest in her posts. A good example would be her Everyday Chocolate Cake post. She was not successful with her first attempt and discussed where she got her original recipe, how she tweaked it and what worked and what did not work. This kind of information is great for home cooks and professionals alike. It is always good to learn from someone elses mistakes.
www.simplyrecipes.com Another talented veteran blogger whose beautiful pictures and simple prose get right to the point and convey great information on how to make nearly everything.
www.realbakingwithrose.com Rose Levy Beranbaum is the queen of pies and cakes. She writes her recipes in weight measurement, she has adjustments for altitude and gives you just about any information you may need. Her meticulous recipes have been a staple in my kitchen for years. I usually consult one of her cookbooks or website where ever I bake anything! Check out some of her cookbooks. The Cake Bible, The Pie and Pastry Bible and Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.
www.davidlebovitz.com The undisputed pastry king he writes a wonderful blog about making everything from appetizers, entree and baking all set in lovely Paris. I have never made one of his recipes that failed. All of his recipes are meticulously tested and documented. This blog is beautiful, fun and informative.
There are also many different personal blogs that I follow but that is going to have to be another post.
So on with the cracker trials. I decided to try a recipe that I found on www.foodnetwork.com. This recipe is by Ina Garten. Parmesan and Thyme Crackers.
On the first try the dough came out too dry. This could be because it is a very dry climate here in the mountains. I added a teaspoon of water and then the dough came together nicely in the food processor.
I chilled the dough and rolled it out with minimal flour on the rolling surface. The dough rolled out nicely. I used a flower shaped cutter and lined the baking sheet with parchment paper. The crackers baked nicely and came out lightly browned.
They were delicious. Much like a tiny and thin biscuit. I recommend these crackers for entertaining. A bit heavy for everyday snacking but great for a special occasion. After Easter dinner some of my family and friends went home smiling with little bags of crackers for later.
Parmesan and Thyme Crackers
Inspired by Ina Garten
1 stick or 1/4 lb unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 oz freshly grated aged parmesan cheese ( I used Parmigiano Reggiano – Riserva Stravecchio from Costco which is a great price and very tasty)
187.5 grams of all-purpose flour or 1 1/2 cups
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
Place butter in the bowl of food processor. Process until creamy. Add cheese, flour, salt and thyme.
Process until dough forms a ball. Dump the ball of dough out on a lightly floured surface. Push down into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.
Chill for half an hour.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Flouring your rolling-pin if needed.
Roll to about pie dough thickness. You can roll it out thicker if you like. They were good both ways.
Cut with a cookie or biscuit cutter.
Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned about 20 minutes.