January 17, 2013 § Leave a comment
Usually, the word snow is whispered by Southern meteorologists, hinted at in passing as part of a cold weather event, a “wintry mix,” if you will. Sometimes the fluffy whiteness does descend on us here, not usually in any real measurable amount. I always think that those transplanted here from say Wisconsin or Idaho or South Dakota laugh at our responses to the little snow we occasionally get: the schools letting out, the runs on the grocery stores, work being canceled, bridges being closed. I have to say I get excited by the prospect of snow, probably since it’s such an uncommon occurrence. Today, the weathermen called for snow, and we actually saw some fall for a few hours. I’m going to claim it as an early birthday present.
As the bookmobile would not be making its run today, I was free to spend my time in the kitchen, making soup and experimenting with a cheese cracker recipe that I planned to make for my dad for Christmas. It’s only January!
These crackers turned out to have great flavor and combination of chewy and crunchy, but for some reason, my dough wouldn’t roll out. Instead of flat crackers, I tried rolling them into small balls and, just for fun, into sticks. They may not look like it, but they taste remarkable, pleasingly cheesy and salty with a bit of a bite from my secret ingredient.
I have Smitten Kitchen and Joy the Baker to thank for the inspiration and starting point for this attempt. I combined and tweaked their two recipes into something that is, well, almost gone as I type. I took 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter and grated it into a bowl. Then I grated 8 oz. of Boar’s Head Vermont Sharp Cheddar Cheese right over that pile of butter. Then, in went 1 cup of all purpose flour, a half a teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper and the same amount of onion powder. Using my pastry blender, I combined it all until the butter and cheese started to stick to the flour when I squeezed it. Then, I added my stroke-of-genius ingredient: juice from a jar of jalapeno peppers, 2-3 Tablespoons, until the dough really started to come together. (In hindsight, I could have added more, both for the flavor and the binding help.) Once all the ingredients were blended together, I dumped the mess out onto my plastic wrap and formed it into a ball before putting it in the fridge for an hour or two. After trying to roll it out without success, I created the shapes you see above and put them into a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. I checked for browning on the bottom of a few before pulling the tray out of the oven and letting the cheesy snacks cool on a rack. Below you’ll find proof of my inability to get this dough to roll, but it also proves that flavorful food isn’t always the prettiest.