August 17, 2011

HOMEMADE PARMESAN CRACKERS


I have a crush on Christopher Hirsheimer.

I have never met Christopher, but nearly every time I drool over a stunning piece of food photography, Hirsheimer's name seems to be at the bottom. I first learned of Hirsheimer through her work on David Tanis' books and I was completely inspired by the rustic beauty of the images. I then found out that she was one of the founders of Saveur - of course that makes sense.

Last week I was running errands around Berkeley and came across a cool new shop called Home 101. Home 101's eclectic mix of vintage housewares and yummy preserves, olive oils and granola by local artisans feels just right. It turns out the owner Allison is a totally nice woman and after we got to chatting about food photography, she generously gave me a copy of Canal House Cooking no 6What does this story have to do with my girl crush on Hirsheimer? Well, Canal House is her project, too.



Canal House is a beautiful series of small cookbooks full of homey recipes and adorned by Hersheimer's mouth-watering and honest photography. Find it if you can. Buy it if you can. It is a treat!

I have never made my own crackers, but have been curious to give them a try.  The simplicity of the Canal House recipe inspired me to take the plunge.

Man they are good...cheesy, buttery, and so easy to make, what more could I want from a recipe?


INGREDIENTS adapted from Canal House Cooking #6
 (printable recipe)
  • 6 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 cup flour (GF folks I used Pamela's Gluten Free Bread Mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ice water



Finely grate cheese and place in Kitchen Aid Mixer. (Equipment note: Canal House recommends making the dough in a food processor, but I don't have one. If you don't have a Kitchen Aid Mixer or food processor, you could mix the dough with forks, or a pastry cutter.)

Add flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne to the cheese. Stir to blend.

Add one tablespoon of butter at a time until dough is crumbly.

Slowly drizzle about 4 tablespoons of ice water into dough while mixing. Stop adding water as soon as the dough is moist enough to be formed into a ball.

Place ball of dough onto parchment paper. Flatten into a thick disk, wrap the dough up in the paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to a day.

When you are ready to roll out your cracker dough, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll dough between two pieces of parchment until it is 1/8 inch thick. Use small cookie cutters to cut the crackers.

Place uncooked crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet into the preheated oven. I recommend placing the crackers on one of the upper racks of your oven so the bottoms don't get too brown.

Cook for 8-12 minutes until golden.

Enjoy!


43 comments:

  1. I love the idea of homemade crackers, such an excellent addition to wine and olives.

    and yes, I love the Canal House cooking series, so well done!

    ReplyDelete
  2. i love the canal house books. in fact, just today i signed up to receive daily emails from them. lunchtime inspiration.

    and damn girl, your photos are beautiful. damn. no words. just lots of swear words. and i don't want to offend anybody.

    ReplyDelete
  3. M - the crackers are so easy. Don't know why I haven't tried before. And how have I missed Canal House until now? Such little works of beauty:)

    Phyllis, you cracked me up! Swear away. No offense here;) xxxooo E

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome crackers! I bet their tastw just heavenly. Parmesan is a great cheese to bake with.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  5. What I love about this food community is that we all get so excited and giddy about discovering something like "Canal House Books. I can't wait to learn more about these. The crackers are adorable and would make such a wonderful little surprise treat to give someone along with a pint of homemade soup, etc. BTW, Istanbul will have to wait. It was a sweeping preference this year for Ireland. Darn teen voting rights! No, really, I have always wanted to see Ireland...and Istanbul...and Patagonia...and Mongolia... Ha!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Rosa, yes that Parmesan-y taste (almost 3 cups of cheese!) is delectable. SO simple and so good:)

    Sarah, I love that there are other food nerds out there like me;) Canal House is totally inspiring. I think you'll LOVE it.
    Sorry to hear about Istanbul. Another year maybe? But Ireland should be amazing. Cannot wait to see your photos!!!

    -E

    ReplyDelete
  7. You make a pretty good cracker for never making them before! I've been hearing about this book everywhere today. It seems like I should search it out soon!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hadn't heard of Christopher Hirsheimer before but you send me off to google - gorgeous. Can totally understand the girl crush! These crackers look delicious, too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I ate every single one that was left when I got home. They were delicious topped with a small slice of dried chorizo. What a lucky guy!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Emma, Isn't Hirsheimer amazing? Yes, and the crackers were really good too;)

    P, I'm so glad you ate the rest of the crackers so that I didn't have to eat them all myself:)

    -E

    ReplyDelete
  11. I had to google Christopher Hirsheimer too! Thanks for introducing me to her work. I'm still a bit new to the food photography world, but I am now an addict drooling over food porn and spending too much time bent over my food looking at it through a lens instead of eating it!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am making these!! I looove crackers like this and I swear if I wasn't at the office right now I would be hitting the grocery store to go get the ingredients. Questions: How did you store them? How long do they last? I want to bring them to a bbq with some goats cheese and red pepper jelly but I sort of want to make them beforehand

    ReplyDelete
  13. E,
    I have hysterical stories about my cracker adventures. you couldn't break mine apart with a hammer, let alone cut them with a very sharp knife. They were either as hard as pucks or so crumbly you couldn't pick them up. I had all but given up on the little devils until today. Thanks for inspiring me again to give it ONE MORE try.

    I am going to try them with Daiya alternative cheese and see what I can do with them...last try...I promise. If it's a success we can celebrate with that red pepper jelly Stephanie likes so much.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It looks good and the pictures are beautiful.

    So funny about your girl crush. I also have a crush on Katie (What Katie Ate), her photos are so inspiring.

    Btw, Erin, I borrowed both David Tanis' book from the library. I'm looking forward to trying the recipes.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Jamie, I'm so glad to introduce you to Hirsheimer. She is awesome! Isn't this food photography thing addictive? I am hooked!

    Hey Stephanie, Goat cheese and red pepper jelly would be so tasty with these little guys! The crackers really are great fresh out of the oven.... but I made some and then put them in a hot toaster oven for just a few minutes to crisp them up. I think this would be a good option for your friends' BBQ.

    Oli, your cracker saga sounds hilarious! I hope this recipe treats you better:) Let me know how it goes!

    Jenn, Katie really is amazingly talented - I totally agree! I'm curious to hear what you cook from Tanis and how you like it. I hope you enjoy:)

    Cheers guys,
    E

    ReplyDelete
  16. I also love Christopher Hirsheimer. One of my favorite and most used cookbooks is "The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market Cookbook." Beautiful photos and easy recipes that I follow through the seasons.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hey Deepa, Thanks for the tip! I need to check out that book. I'm always looking for great new food resources and that sounds like a winner!
    -E

    ReplyDelete
  18. I make something very similar so know how absolutely gorgeous these are, but i have to say mine are nowhere as perfectly pretty as yours! :) such a lovely little post and its a wonderful go-to recipe indeed

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks so much Procrastobaker! Must say, the recipe was so easy I couldn't go wrong:)
    Have a nice weekend,
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  20. These look so simple and delicious! I love the idea of making homemade crackers. Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Myhappyhappening, Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll give the recipe a try, it is so worth it!
    -E

    ReplyDelete
  22. made those crackers over the weekend,
    it's a keeper, such good recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  23. M- thanks for the feedback! I always love hearing how recipes turn out in other kitchens:)

    I think the recipe could be so good with herbs in the mix, don't you? Or even another type of cheese.

    -Erin

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love books like these... I would totally go out a buy as many as I could get my little hands on, but considering we just moved to a new place and I still haven't found a home for all the things I currently own, I suppose I should lay off the shopping for a bit. ;) The crackers look fantastic! Thanks for sharing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love homemade crackers, and these look fantastic! And, great choice of Christopher Hirsheimer for a crush.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey Dianna, I know. I know. The cookbook collections can get unwieldy;), can't they?

    Lisaiscooking, Thanks:) Hope you like the recipe as much as I did!

    -E

    ReplyDelete
  27. Homemade crackers...yummy! No more processed boxed crackers for me...these look amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  28. ooh I need to get my hands on those biscuits, looks so delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I have made these in the past (or at least something very similar!) so can vouch for their absolute gorgeousness! Yours are so so much prettier than my botch job attempts though :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Charissa, I agree! Now that I know crackers aren't too hard to make, it will be hard to go back store bought!

    Tres Delicious, Give em a try. They really are easy!

    The Procrastobaker, Thanks! Somehow these were so easy to make pretty. I am not very patient in the kitchen and I must say, this recipe seemed kinda fool proof;)

    -E

    ReplyDelete
  31. gorgeous photos, those crackers look amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  32. These crackers are just so beautiful in their simplicity. I love how you managed to adapt that into your photos. And thank you for introducing me to Hirsheimer - I kinda feel like his books are slowly becoming a bit... soggy.... from all the drooling. ;)

    Tobias

    http://tandteacake.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hey izy - thanks so much!

    T and Tea Cakes, Glad to introduce you to Hirsheimer... she is amazing!

    -E

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm so glad I only missed one post while I was away! Now I feel a bit less left out of the loop:)

    The only style of crackers that I've made have been thicker, and almost biscuity in size and texture. That size proved to be too much for the large amount of cheese that I added as well.

    That was maybe five years ago already though, so it's time to try a new version. A successful version. An easy to photograph, foolproof version. Delightful!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Ooooh, I have to make these!

    ReplyDelete
  36. These look absolutely delicious. I, too, LOVE Canal House Cooking. Their lunch blog is one of my favorite reads.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hey Emma - you would love these crackers and I bet you have some very cute cookie cutters to make them even more gorgeous:)

    Thanks Annie!

    Hey Adrianna, I still haven't checked out the Canal House lunch blog, though I hear it's great:)

    -E

    ReplyDelete
  38. Just discovered your blog via Poires au Chocolat - these crackers look so incredibly delicious. Wish I could reach into the computer screen and pick one out! (or three) We have a tradition in my house of making cheese straws, but I love the idea of making them into little round biscuits and can imagine parmesan gives them a lovely salty tang.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Great recipe! Will be linking back to this in my post tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Great photos and great posts! I enjoy reading them :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. I have been meaning to try baking my own crackers for a while - my other half loves crackers and they are such a perfect little treat when winding down with a glass of wine and a hunk of cheese after a long day in the office. The last picture in the post above may have just converted me to finally give this a try! Stunning picture and I love the marble board!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks realsimplefood, I do love this recipe. It's amazingly simple to make your own crackers. I hope you enjoy!
      xo
      E

      Delete

So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

Related Posts with Thumbnails