Friday, September 30, 2011

Cheese Thins

For certain (bigger) occasions, I feel like it's more appropriate to bring something homemade, rather than a bottle of wine (our more standard offering). In this case, we were asked to bring at most an appetizer, so I went with these cheese thins - they show up in both Chocolate and Zucchini and Amanda Hesser's Essential New York Times Cookbook (if you haven't noticed, I am a big fan of Amanda Hesser's endeavors).

Amanda Hesser's recipe suggests rolling out the dough and cutting it into strips, however I like Clotilde's method of rolling the dough into logs and slicing them into half-moon crackers (especially since rolling out dough is extra inconvenient with our kitchen's tiled counters). These were cheesy and tasty, a nice way to tide yourself over before the real meal begins.

Cheese Thins
Adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini

6 oz good quality hard cheese, finely grated (e.g. comté)
4 tablespoons butter, also grated
¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
a dash milk or cream, as needed (see below)

1. Combine the cheese, butter, flour, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the ingredients come together to form a dough. If the mixture seems too dry and crumbly to come together into a ball, add a dash of milk or cream until it does.

2. Shape the dough into a log or another sliceable shape, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm enough to be easily sliced, about an hour, and up to a day. (Or you can place the dough in the freezer for 20 minutes.)

3. Preheat the oven to 360°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

4. Remove the dough from the fridge, slice it thinly, and arrange the slices on the prepared sheet (they will expand a little, so give them just a bit of elbow room). You will need to work in batches; return the dough to the fridge between batches.

5. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of your slices, until golden. Let the cheese thins rest on the baking sheet for a minute before transferring them to a cooling rack. Taste when cool, and adjust the baking time accordingly for subsequent batches.