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Spiced cheddar cheese crackers

February 18, 2013

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Until I think of a better name for these,  I’ll stick with what I got.  Chile powder, cumin, and a serrrano pepper give the crackers a bold “southwestern” flare. What I like just as much  is the dough, which is a “blitz puff pastry”.  The extra time and effort involved in applying this classic technique is well worth the effort.  The puff pastry used to make croissants and Danish pastries is a very labor intensive project as most of you are probably well aware.  This quicker version suits these crispy, flaky, and buttery crackers perfectly.  I can guarantee that you will not be able to keep your hands off them.  To give credit, the basic recipe “Cheese Crackers”,  is from “Cookies”  by Todd Knaster. The book is part of the “at Home with the Culinary Institute of America” series.  The basic cheese crackers were very favorably received when I made them.  The cracker is versatile in that you can add whatever flavors suit you.  Nuts, herbs, spices or other cheeses are other possibilities.  I’d like to try curry powder for one.  My twist on them this time is to give them a flavor profile that reminds me of home.

 

For the basic version,  leave out the spices and pepper.  The original recipe does however give the option of 1/4 tsp. cayenne.  It makes about 4 dozen crackers.

1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

2 teaspoons chile powder

1/2 tsp. ground comino

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, cold

1/2 cup cold water

1 Serrano pepper, fire-roasted and minced (optional) Remove some or all the seeds if you want to cut back on the heat.

1  1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (a sharp cheddar is recommended)

 

Combine the flour, salt and spices in a bowl.  Add the butter and toss to coat. Rub in the butter with your hands until it is the size of peas.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the cold water, scraping down the sides as necessary until the dough comes together.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a rectangular  shape 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle the cheese and minced pepper evenly on top.  Fold the dough like you would a business letter.  With the long side of the rectangle going from your left to right,  visualize the dough divided into thirds.  Fold in one third of the dough over the middle third.  Now fold the last third over the first and middle third.  Roll out the dough again to 1/4 inch thickness and repeat the fold.

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Put the dough on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and cover with plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Again roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Give it another fold and chill again for 30 minutes.  This completes a “3-fold” process for the blitz puff pastry. (Regular puff pastry involves many more folds and more careful handling of the dough.)

Roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness and dock well with a fork or docker. Cut out into desired shapes using a knife or pizza cutter.

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Bake until golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.  Rotate the tray halfway through for even baking.

Let them cool for a minute on the tray before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an air tight container.

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The wonders of “blitz puff pastry”

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They went well with Mexican flavored lentils.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Gonzalez permalink
    February 18, 2013 3:00 am

    Wow man, very nice and very creative! Great writing and the pics are perfect! Bravo!

  2. February 18, 2013 3:08 am

    Thank you Roberto, I wish you could try these, maybe next time you’re in town.

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