2011/02/06

Polly, want a cracker??? (Blue Cheese & Walnut Crackers)

The doldrums of winter have hit hard.  The snow I don't mind (so much).  I think it's the slush.  And the grey days.  And the cold.  If there is anything that has the power to send me over the edge, it's the mind-numbing, extremity-frosting, bone-chilling sub zero weather.  It seems to suck the very life out of me and I have to remind myself that we have reached February and it's all down hill from here... 

But alas!  It warmed up the thirties today, which was enough to entice me to throw on some real clothes and leave the confines of the house.  I could not have been happier than if it were the first day of spring (when is that????). 

The change in climes not only improved my mood, but it also influenced my decisions at the grocery store.  And I came home with a package of guava paste (which I have never used, but the look of it made me happy, so I bought it).  Some how, the guava paste had me thinking about crackers and cheese.  And foods that often pair well with sweet. 

Which reminded me of these blue cheese crackers that I had made over the Holiday season.  Salty, unique and strong enough to stand up on their own or to pair with other complementary flavors. 

Now, I still don't know what I am going to do with that packet of guava paste (perhaps something with phyllo dough and cheese???), but I do know what is probably going to go along side them. 


The Flavor Bible suggest that Blue Cheese pairs well with figs, honey and pears...  I can imagine these crackers as part of a buffet along side a platter of honeyed figs and thinly slice pear slices.  How's that for a spread to kick the winter doldrums away?   



Ina Garten's blue cheese & walnut crackers

Ingredients

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used Kerrygold)
8 ounces blue cheese, crumbled, room temperature (Stilton is recommended, but if you can't find, substitute another high-end blue cheese)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts


Directions


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheese together for ~1 minute until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it's in large crumbles, ~1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until just combined.


Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts in a square on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, and distributing them evenly on the outside of the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.


When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Cut the log 3/8ths-inch thick with a small, sharp knife and place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for ~22 minutes or until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.

4 comments:

  1. Crackers are so much fun to make. I used to always have some logs frozen ready to go... I guess I need to pick that one back up. These look great!

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  2. These look tasty! I bet some diced pears and honey would taste nice on top or on the side.

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  3. I think those would definitely kick the winter doldrums away. I really like that idea of pairing blue cheese with honeyed figs and pear slices. Mmmm...

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  4. I've never tried crackers before but these look really good!

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