I read a lot of food blogs. A lot. I leave lots of comments on food blogs, especially when I see something that I want to try. I star it in Google Reader. But then when it comes time to plan my menus, I sit at my dining room table with my cookbooks, unfortunately I am not sitting down at my computer with my starred and bookmarked items. So, I rarely remember the delicious sounding recipes that I want to try. Except every once in awhile, when all of the planets align perfectly, I happen to remember a starred recipe that would be perfect for an event or occasion. This happened over the holidays. I was invited to a Christmas open house and needed to bring an appetizer. For the past 2 years, I have brought a bean dip, with pita chips to the party. I wanted to try something different this time, and fortunately, the very same week of the party, Patricia, from Technicolor Kitchens, posted this recipe. Which as I reread her original post, I see that she got it from Bake and Shake, who apparently adapted it from an Ina Garten recipe. Now, it is my recipe. Because I am going to be making this a lot. I will take it to parties. I will make them on Saturdays, just because.
Savory herb, black pepper and parmesan shortbread
1/2 cup (113g/1 stick) salted butter, softened – I used unsalted
1/4 (heaping) cup (35g) ground parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon freshly cracked/ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil (or use the dried herb you like the most)
1 1/4 cups (175g) all purpose flour
Line a light-colored baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together the butter, salt, parmesan, black pepper and basil until creamy and speckled. Slowly add the flour, and mix until dough holds together when pinched. If dough is still too crumbly, add up to 1 tablespoon of ice water. Turn out onto a floured counter top, roll into a ball and then into an elongated log, around 30 to 35cm (12 to 14 in) long, depending on how large you want your crackers. Try to make sure the log is an even length, and wrap in tinfoil or plastic and freeze for at least half an hour, or longer if you don’t want to serve them today. If you do, preheat your oven to 175ºC/350ºF.
Remove from the freezer, and slice into rounds: the original recipe (by Ina Garten) yields nearly 36, Patricia got 35, and I forgot to count mine! Arrange in rows on the baking sheet, with at least a little space between them – they won’t spread like normal cookies or biscuits. Bake for 15-25 minutes, checking after 15, until golden brown around the edges and smelling delicious (so true!! The smell is intoxicating).
Remove and cool completely, or serve slightly warm.
These are so good. Seriously good. I could easily have eaten the whole bowl myself. At the party, I happened to be standing by the food table (um, yes, I just happened to be standing there, it’s not like I spend most of the night at the food table, I do occasionally wander away to refill my wine glass), when someone asked me if I knew what those “crackers” were. I said yes, that I had made them and that she should try one. She stared at me and said “you made them”…”you made crackers“. I kind of understood her confusion, who makes crackers??? You go to the store and buy them, that’s how you get crackers. I assured her again that I made them. I wondered away (how does my wine glass keep getting emptied so quickly) and forgot about her. About an hour or so later, she comes rushing up to me, exclaiming that they were fantastic, the best crackers that she had ever eaten. Of course, by then she’d had a little bit more wine, and was quite cheerful, but I do believe that her exuberance was warranted, these are fantastic crackers.