Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rustic Rosemary-Parmesan Crackers

I have two new books from Sur la Table to tell you about today. Both were just released in late September, and I received review copies. Simple Comforts, is a cute, little book about seven inches square. It's full of classic dishes that everyone craves, but the recipes have been updated for a more contemporary feel through the addition of fresh herbs and oils and vinegars that have become easy to find these days. Favorite comfort foods like cinnamon rolls, old-fashioned dinner rolls, chicken noodle soup, chicken pot pie, classic extra-cheesy macaroni and cheese, and strawberry shortcakes are all here. But, you'll also find banana chocolate chip bread with chocolate icing, pizza margherita, kabocha squash soup with toasted cumin and chiles, chard mushroom and swiss cheese frittata, and an ice cream sundae with roasted strawberries with a brown sugar-balsamic drizzle. It's a great go-to reference for meals that are sure to please and would be a perfect book for a beginner cook.

The second book, Gifts Cooks Love, offers just what the title suggests. It presents homemade goodies that make great gifts and ideas for packaging them as well. There are preserved gifts like aleppo pepper-peach chutney, apricot-bourbon mustard, and cotes du rhone-rhubarb compote. The smoked and cured options include homemade bacon, salmon gravlax, and a smoky ketchup. Of course there are baked goods like double fudge brownie pops, panforte, and a very cool-looking biscotti Christmas tree. For the tree, the biscotti are cut to different lengths and then stacked bottom to top, from large to small, to form a three-dimensional tree shape. It looks so great in the photo in the book, I have to try it. You'll also find confections, homemade liqueurs, spice blends, and gift kit ideas. I jumped in and tested the homemade rosemary-parmesan crackers, and these are mentioned in one of the kit suggestions that would also include green tomato chutney, aleppo pepper-peach chutney, panforte, and chipotle chile candied pecans.

The crackers were made in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and flour, chopped fresh rosemary, salt, and sugar were combined. Water was poured over that mixture, and it was kneaded with the mixer. The dough was set aside, wrapped in plastic, to allow the gluten to relax. Then, working with half the dough at a time, it was rolled out and cut into long, thin crackers. They were placed on olive oil-coated baking sheets, the tops were brushed with more olive oil, and they were sprinkled with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. They came out of the oven golden and puffed in spots. They bake pretty quickly, in just about ten minutes, but you do need to watch them and remove the crackers on the ends of the baking sheet that brown before the ones in the center. These were crunchy, addictive snacks, and they'd make a gift I'd be happy to give and even happier to receive.



33 comments:

  1. I love a good cracker and these look to fit the bill. I'm already thinking about dips and spreads to pair them with.

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  2. Great crackers! I bet they are very addictive.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  3. Homemade crackers are just the sort of thing that makes a get together special. These are perfect for the upcoming holidays (which I agree are WAY too close!) Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Homemade crackers beat store bought ones any day of the week. Great hostess gift as well!!!

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  5. I love making my own crackers too, but it takes so many batches to bake this in the oven. That's why I always discourage to do it. I really admire your patient here Lisa. They look as good as it sounds.

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  6. These look wonderful. I love homemade crackers. I will have to add these to my repertoire.

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  7. Gorgeous! I want some with hummus or a cheese plate, please.

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  8. I love both the books you mention, and I love the crackers. Beautiful!

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  9. Perfect cocktail nibbles for the holidays to come. Of course, I'll have to make a double batch, as I'll devour the first all by myself.

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  10. Such a perfect crackers for a family bonding...

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  11. These look absolutely fabulous, I love how they look so crisp. Was it hard to roll them so thin?

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  12. Steven: The dough was springy even though it had rested before being rolled. But, it wasn't a sticky dough. So, rolling took a little patience, but it wasn't bad.

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  13. I love Sur La Table cookbooks...they're so realistic and doable.

    These crackers look to be the perfect accompaniment to a great cheese plate. I think they'll upstage any of the cheeses on it.

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  14. Snack time!!! Crispy goodness. Yum! I may have to pick up a copy of that cookbook. Sur La Table is one of my fav places to shop.I'm like a kid in a candy store whenever I'm there. hahaha...

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  15. They look perfectly crisp and with rosemary plus parmesan, bet they are super tasty!

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  16. Simple and delicious! Great snack!

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  17. They look great Lisa! I was at a shop and they sold similar ones but they didn't look quite as nice as these! :)

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  18. Your crackers look just wonderful!

    Yummmmmmm,..;!!!

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  19. Looks absolutely delicious and yummy!

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  20. I love crackers like these and I can hardly wait to make my own thanks to you.

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  21. Those cookbooks sound great and these crackers are definitely a gift that THIS cook would love. I'm pretty sure that I would eat them and then obsess about exactly what was in them so I could try to recreate them as soon as possible!

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  22. I'm always impressed when people make crackers - these look like a huge crowd pleaser and super tasty!

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  23. They sure do look absolutely delicious!

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  24. Oooh, hooray, homemade crackers! I have said before that I'm loving the progression of your bread experiments -- crackers are the next frontier, eh? I've made something similar before and they were wonderful -- I made several batches and inserted various herbs. I actually just got a copy of Gifts Cooks Love - it's a great little book, and I will use it a lot this holiday season.

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  25. Love a crisp homemade cracker too. These look delicious.

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  26. One flavorful cracker! I would love anything with rosemary in it.

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  27. Yum! These look delectably thin and crispy. Great job with the photos!

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  28. Lisa, this is not a good post for a cookbook addict to read. I always make handmade gifts for teachers, bus drivers, etc and my repetoire is getting a little tired. Looks like I know what book to buy to help.

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  29. Yum! These are great. I've been experimenting a lot with crackers lately and had to try these - even without an official recipe. Some techniques that set these apart: 1. Using a little sugar (I just used a tsp per 1 1/2 c flour) 2. Brushing the sheet and tops with olive oil instead of adding it to the dough) 3. Baking in strips instead of scored sheets. I think all three of these subtle tips really help to add crispness and flavor. Thanks for sharing!

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