cheddar crisps

DSC_0187-cheddar-cracker-left

As someone who enjoys baking, sometimes I tend to forget about the other half of the world. You know, that “savory” half. Baking isn’t all about cupcakes and muffins.

And honestly, sometimes there are only so many sweets you can take… I mean it’s rare but every once in a while I hit a wall where I feel like I am literally going to hurl if I see one. more. freaking. cookie. Like for real.

Enter: these crackers. Your saviors. They are here to give you a delightfully salty treat when one more cookie is the last thing you need. They are light and crisp and packed with cheesy flavor, thanks to the extra sharp cheddar.

You don’t have to use cheddar, but you will want to use a nice strong cheese to make sure your flavors stand out. Some browning on the bottom of your cracker will also help you in this department, as will a sprinkle of smoked paprika on top… if you feel so inclined.

cheddar crisps

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse butter until it is broken up. Add the cheese, salt, and spices and pulse until the mixture forms small curd-like pieces.
  2. Add flour and pulse until the dough forms into a loose dough with pea-sized clumps, about 1 minute.
  3. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it gently until a cohesive dough forms. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour, or until firm.
  4. Working 1 disk at a time, roll the dough out between sheets of parchment to 1/4-inch thick. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut into round disks (I used a 1-inch cutter), placing the rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the scraps and re-roll and cut the remaining dough (I did this twice). Repeat with second disk of dough.
  5. Place baking sheet, lightly wrapped with plastic, in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees. If desired, sprinkle disks with sea salt and bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the bottoms start to brown.
  7. Once you remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with sweet or smoked paprika and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

* Dorie uses Gruyere in her book, she also recommends Comte or Emmenthal as well. Any semi-firm cheese should work here.

* This dough can either be rolled and cut, as in the directions, or chilled into a log and sliced into 1/4-inch disks. Whichever you prefer.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/27/cheddar-crisps/

[ Recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan]

BLT Steak Popovers

popover 1

One word: Popover.

You will love them.  You will crave them.  You will keep yourself up at night thinking about them.

You see, it all started innocently enough last year during Arizona’s Restaurant Week.  The BF and I saw that BLT Steak had an awesome (read: SUPER cheap) prix fixe menu.  We had to go.  And so we did.

The food was phenomenal, but it didn’t even matter because I was full even before my salad came.  Full of this delicious, magical, puffy goodness that was brought to our table.  A cheesy balloon of delicious.  They bring these wonderful treats to your table after you order, while you await your meal, for no reason at all, except to taunt you.  You know that if you eat it, you won’t have room for your dinner, but how could you resist?

popover 3

You can’t.  You can’t resist.  Not if you are even a tiny bit human inside.

I asked to wrap my remaining bit of popover to take home, and the wonderful waitress brought me a brand new one instead.  That beautiful woman.  If you follow wee eats on instagram, you would have seen it.  It looked like this.

blt popover

That’s it after I brought it home and reheated it, wrapped in foil, in a 375 degree oven until it was warm again.  Magical, right?

So you can imagine how thrilled I was that they served them with a recipe card.  Yes, WITH the recipe.  Like all, “Here are our popovers, and we know you will love them so much that we will also give you the recipe.  Aren’t we amazing?  Why yes, yes we are”

Since I don’t need a giant belly-filling popover, I used my mini popover pan (this is the recipe that caused me to buy it, by the way), and instead of gruyere I used cheddar.  Because I happen to really like sharp cheddar.  Use whatever cheese you love, they are all yours.  Serve them warm with butter and sea salt.  Your life will be changed.

popover 2

BLT Steak Popovers

Makes 24 mini popovers or 12 large popovers

Printable Recipe

  • 2 cups milk, heat to very hot, but NOT boiling*
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 generous teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup cheese, finely grated (BLT uses gruyere, I used cheddar for these)

1.  Place popover pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put into the oven.  Preheat your oven, with the pan in it, to 350°F

2.  Warm milk on stove top or microwave until hot, but not boiling (about 1.5 – 2 minutes in my microwave).  Set aside.

3.   In a small bowl combine the flour and kosher salt, set aside.

4.  Whisk eggs until frothy and pale yellow in color, you can do this in a blender, in a large bowl with an immersion blender, or with a standard mixer.

5.  Once frothy, reduce the speed and slowly add 1/3 of the milk to the eggs until combined.  You want to make sure to go slowly with the milk so that you don’t curdle your eggs.  Once 1/4 of the milk is added, add slowly another 1/3 of the milk while mixing.

6.  While continuing to mix on low, add your flour mixture.

7.  Once flour is incorporated, add the remaining 1/3 of milk and mix until blended.

8.  Here is where the trickiness comes in, you can rest the batter anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes if you feel so inclined.  But you see my popovers up there?  I didn’t have the patience to rest anything.  Those were baked right away.

9.  Remove hot pans from oven and spray with non-stick pan spray* (or drop a little butter, or a little shortening, you remember this part from this recipe, right?), and pour batter about 3/4 (maybe a little more) to the top of each cup.  Sprinkle the top liberally with the grated cheese, be careful not to have the cheese touch the actual baking cup or it will melt and stick and prevent your popover from “popping”.

10.  Bake 50 minutes for full-size popovers, or about 35 to 40 minutes for mini popovers (I started peeking through the window around 30 minutes, if you don’t have a window, don’t even think about opening that door until 35 minutes in).  Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool about 5 to 10 minutes, until you can comfortably handle them. Note: If you are using a muffin tin or mini muffin tin, your baking time may be less

* If you’re afraid of curdling your eggs, you can probably skip warming the milk and just make sure to use room temperature milk and eggs.  I just said to warm it because that’s what BLT says (and that’s what I did, and it worked beautifully).

* You can grease your tins with butter (which I used), but there is folklore surrounding the need to use vegetable shortening, and equally as much about using vegetable oil, or even PAM.  I put about a teaspoon-sized cube of butter into each mini tube before putting it into the oven.  The pool of butter did give them little “pigtails” at the end, I wish I’d taken a picture.  They were super cute.

I’ve read that regular-size muffin tin popovers will bake in about 35 minutes or 18 – 23 minutes for mini-muffin tin popovers., but I’m not sure since I’ve not made them.

* If making multiple batches, reheat the pan in the oven for 10 minutes before adding your second batch of batter