Remember a few months ago when I posted those World Peace Cookies by Dorie Greenspan? Well, I went on and on about her so much that my sweet husband surprised me with a copy of Around My French Table. I’m sure he was planning on reaping the benefits of my newfound love of all things French. Don’t worry, he has. I’ve been a Francophile on a mission.
One of the (many) things I love about Mrs Greenspan and this book is that she tells a little story or gives some background information about each recipe. I find her stories delightful, helpful and very relatable. That’s the thing about Dorie (I’m sure she would want me to call her Dorie); she’s relatable and so are her recipes. She uses words like “make aheadable.” So before you go thinking that French food is snooty, I’ll tell you that Dorie and her recipes are the opposite of pretentious.
The recipes in Around My French Table are so down-to-earth that the actual name for this recipe is Cheez-it-ish Crackers. I kid you not. I, like Dorie, like a little cheese with my white wine. But cheese is not served with aperitifs in France. However, they do like something small and often crunchy with their first glass. Enter the cheez-it-ish cracker. The best of both worlds.
Gruyère, Comté or Emmental cheese is the preferred, but if you can’t find those in your area, you can use cheddar. I’m using a smoked Gruyère that I was surprised to find in my local grocery store. The recipe also calls for Aleppo pepper, which has a slight raisin-like quality. I used regular cayenne, but next time I’ll use the Aleppo. You can order it here.
Dorie Greenspan’s Cheez-it-ish Crackers from Around My French Table
- 8 Tble butter (1 stick), cold and cut into 16 pieces
- 4 oz Gruyère, Comté or Emmantal Cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground white pepper
- pinch Aleppo pepper or cayenne
- 1 cup + 2 Tble all-purpose flour
Place the butter, cheese, salt and peppers in the food processor and process until the butter is broken up into uneven bits and the mixture forms small curds. Add the flour and pulse until the dough forms, about another minute, so that everything is as moist as possible.
Turn dough out onto a work surface and knead until it gently comes together. Divide dough in half, pat each half into a disk, and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour, or for up to 3 days.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Working with one disk at a time, roll the dough out to a scant ¼” (one-quarter inch) thickness. Using a small cookie cutter (about 1¼” diameter, see notes) cut the dough into crackers. Gather the scraps together, so you can combine them with the scraps from the second disk, chill and roll them out to make more crackers. Place the rounds on the baking sheet, leaving a scant inch between the rounds.
Bake 14-17 minutes, or until the crackers are lightly golden and firm to the touch; transfer the crackers to a rack to cool. Repeat with the second disk of dough (and the scraps), making certain that your baking sheet is cool. You can serve these while they’re still a little warm, or you can wait until they reach room temperature.
- I thought they could have used a little more heat. Next time I’ll use more cayenne or Aleppo.
- I don’t have a very small cookie-cutter, but I do have a funnel that goes to my flask. So that’s what I used (see picture above). Just try to find something around your house that is the size you want to use.
- Another option to rolling them out and using a cookie-cutter is to make slice and bake crackers. Instead of forming the dough into 2 disks, divide the dough into thirds, shaping each third into a log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours, or freeze them. Then slice them into rounds that are a scant ¼” (quarter-inch) thick. Bake as you do the cutouts. I did both the slice and bake and the cutouts. I preferred the cutouts, but you can make your own decision.