Let me tell you a short story about mi amor, Danny. He’s up for trying just about any food now, but he was a picky eater when he was younger. He wouldn’t eat spinach. No way. Not until his dad started calling it Iowa leaf.
He wouldn’t eat cheese on pizza… until his dad called it topping.
Names are important, apparently.
You could call these homemade Cheez-Its if you wanted to. They taste similar to those addictive crackers thanks to an intense cheese flavor, though these Parmesan-Rosemary Crackers are more tender, aromatic, and buttery. Cream adds richness to these crackers, which are a bit more grown-up than the familiar store-bought squares. Plus, no preservatives! I bet these wouldn’t be left around too long anyway, and another batch is really quick to turn around.
This was my first time making crackers at home, and it’s something I’ll definitely do again. Especially for a party.
Next time I’d play around with rolling the dough out thinner for crispier crackers. They puff up a bit when baked. Rosemary and Parmesan are great together, but play around with the types of cheese and herbs. This recipe comes from Mark Bittman, who usually offers up basic recipes to be adapted in a number of ways. I bet a little cayenne pepper would be good. Work with what’s in your kitchen.
I loved the combination of Parmesan cheese and rosemary, but this is definitely a recipe you can tweak according to what you like or what’s in your kitchen. Try different combinations of cheeses, spices, and herbs.
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream
freshly ground pepper
1 sprig rosemary, stem removed and leaves chopped
Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, salt, cheese, and butter. Pulse until flour and butter are combined. Add 1/4 cup of cream a little at a time, continuing to pulse until the dough comes together. Add more cream if needed, but not so much that the dough gets sticky.
Form the dough into a ball, and roll it out onto a lightly floured cutting board until 1/2-inch thick or thinner for crispier crackers. Use a wine bottle if, like me, you don’t have a rolling pin. Roll the dough back around the wine bottle or rolling pin, and then roll it out onto the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Lightly run a pizza cutter across the dough, creating a grid of squares. Don’t cut the dough all the way through. Sprinkle freshly ground pepper, sea salt, and rosemary over the dough. Lightly press the rosemary into the dough.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack. Pull the crackers apart and enjoy. Crackers will keep in a container for a few days, but they are crispiest the day they’re made.
Note: My food processor was a bit on the small side for this job. I plopped the dough onto a cutting board and formed it into a ball before rolling it out.
Makes about 60 crackers. Adapted from Mark Bittman via The New York Times.