Friday, March 22, 2013

Mustard and Walnut Cheese Crackers

Mustard and Walnut Cheese Crackers
Source: Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies (Random House, 1995 ed.), pg. 229.

These are like cheese straws except maybe better! They are very spicy and intensely flavored. (I used extra-sharp cheddar cheese.) They would be great for appetizers or a party food. (If making these for a large group, you might want to double the recipe). One recipe makes about 48 crackers.

4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sifted unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. black or white pepper (finely ground)
1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne
1/2 lb. sharp cheddar cheese 
1 TBS. prepared mustard 
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
6 oz. (generous 1 1/2 cups) walnut halves, chopped

Cut the butter into 1/2 inch slices and let stand at room temperature (it needs to be room temp. when you use it)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, pepper, dry mustard and cayenne. Set aside.

Cut the cheddar cheese into medium-small pieces and place in a food processor.
Process for about 20 seconds.
Add the sifted dry ingredients and pulse 7 or 8 times.

Add the butter...
and the prepared mustard.

Add the Tabsco sauce through the feed tube. Mix the ingredients.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl. It will be thick and sticky.
Add the walnuts and stir them into the batter.

Flour a work surface, transfer the dough by spoonfuls and line it up to form a roll about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 - 2 inches in diameter. Roll the dough until smooth.
Remove excess flour with a pastry brush.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight (or longer).

 Preheat oven to 350. 

Use a sharp knife and slice 1/4 inch wide and place them 1 - 1 1/2 inches apart on an unlined and unbuttered cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crackers are lightly colored. (Some crackers may be done before others - if so, remove those and return the others to the oven). After removing from the oven, place on paper towels or paper bags.

After cooling on paper towels, they can be transferred to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.

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