Parmesan Cream Crackers (Going to Heaven with Five Ingredients, Three of them Dairy)
The two of us sometimes disagree about what cheeses are best. If Amanda is picking a cheese recipe, you can bet goat cheese or pecorino will be involved, whereas Emily is responsible for most instances of feta in our shared menus. A mutual awesome friend is allergic to a protein in cow’s milk, so when she’s sharing a meal with us, anything goes as long as it’s made from non-cow’s milk.
The one thing we don’t disagree on, ever, is that cheese is delicious, and recipes incorporating cheese are good candidates for our Smitten Kitchen cooking extravaganza menus.
These crackers are addictive. As a result, it’s pretty handy that you can make and cut a whole batch, flash-freeze the unbaked crackers on a cookie sheet, and then store the unbaked crackers in plastic bags or tupperware and bake a few at a time. If you don’t bake all of them at once, you can’t eat them all at once.
Based on Deb’s suggestion that Romano would work well, too, we tried them with both Parmesan and Romano. However, the Parmesan crackers turned out much better. That may have just been a difference in how well the cheese was ground, as I think we may have had to hand-grind the Romano, whereas we purchased the more finely grated Parmesan cheese already grated.
Parmesan Cream Crackers
Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, more for rolling out the dough
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 4 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Sea salt for sprinkling (fine or coarse, it’s a matter of personal preference)
Preheat your oven to 400. Prepare a baking sheet, the larger the better, by lining it with parchment paper. Deb also says to dust with flour, but I’ve forgotten this many times and haven’t noticed a major difference.
Measure the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a couple of times. Add the cheese and butter and pulse until the mixture is well-combined. Add the cream tablespoon by tablespoon and pulse until the mixture just comes together – as with a pie crust, you don’t want to overblend. Deb recommends adding more cream teaspoon by teaspoon if your mixture is too dry, but I’ve never had that problem, so I haven’t tried that. If you think your mixture is too dry, unplug the food processor, and check to see if the mixture comes together well in your hands when you take it out. That way, you won’t accidentally add too much moisture.
Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and roll it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut them into individual crackers about 1 to 1 1/2 inch on each side. A pastry cutter, particularly one with measurements displayed on it (such as OXO good grips), works well here.
Score the crackers with a fork – the most effective method is scoring them diagonally, as pictured.
Look at the funky one. . .
Transfer the cut crackers to the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch between the crackers. Sprinkle the crackers with sea salt. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the crackers are lightly browned; rotate the baking sheet halfway through if necessary for your oven. Do not overbake, as the bottoms will start to get a bit blackened, and this detracts from the taste.
These crackers stay the most fresh, without getting soggy, if you store them uncovered (which you should not do for more than a day or two). You should probably store them uncovered in a room you don’t go into a lot, because otherwise they’ll disappear rapidly. If you want longer term or more portable storage, store them in a paper bag rather than a plastic bag, which is a good rule with all bread products.
As a bonus, here’s a fun idea for packaging: Chinese food takeout containers. You can get them in a variety of colors and sizes, which I discovered during a baking project that hit a speed bump when I discovered the dollar store near our apartment does not sell cookie tins. I do not pay more than a $1 for cookie tins because I don’t want to ask for them back and I am cheap, so this was a problem (and might I say, one I have never encountered before, but then again, I’m usually living near a Dollar Tree, and they almost always have cookie tins). Instead of spending a bajillion dollars on the only cookie tins I could find in our area, I ordered some of these containers online, and made little labels for them with paper and twine that named what each baked good was. Fun and functional.
You absolutely have to make sure you use only containers that are food-grade and FDA-approved. I’ve seen very cute containers sold elsewhere with warnings on the bottom saying they are not food-grade, so be careful. You can order food-safe ones online at a variety of places.