Saturday, March 13, 2010
So, um, yeah… today’s recipe? I might have picked it just because of the name. Cheddar pennies – it’s kind of cute, right? Well, I think so anyway. And I have a weakness for cute things – puppies, cupcakes, my husband… but I digress. Cheddar pennies – cute in name, appearance, and tasty to boot.
If you’ve never tried them before (and I hadn’t prior to making them), cheddar pennies are small, buttery, shortbread-like crackers flavored with very sharp cheddar cheese. Recipes vary, but in general, cheddar pennies are typically made with butter, flour, cheddar cheese, and some seasonings. You can serve them plain or jazz them up with any number of herbs or spices.
In addition to being tasty, their short ingredient list and easy preparation make cheddar pennies a great go-to recipe for entertaining. You can even make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the freezer, ready to slice up and bake off whenever you need them… if you can wait that long. These little cheesey crackers are addictive. Once you taste one, you might not be able to resist baking up a whole batch to snack on. Fortunately, one recipe makes a lot of crackers, so you’ll have enough to share. You know, if you’re feeling generous.
Adapted from Food Network Kitchens Cookbook
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch of hot paprika (I used a pinch of sweet paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
4 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
Toppings: any combination of whole-seed spices like cumin, fennel, or caraway; fresh herbs like dill, thyme, or rosemary; coarse salt; cracked black pepper
(I used coarse sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, paprika, and cumin seeds.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and paprika (or paprika and cayenne).
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter, cheese, and mustard until smooth.
Add the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together. (The dough will seem very crumbly at first. Don’t worry, keep mixing, increasing your mixer speed if necessary, and it will come together.
Divide the dough into thirds.
Roll each dough ball into a log that is about 9 inches long and 1 inch across. (It’s like playing with Play Dough!)
Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice the logs into 1/4-inch thick coins and place them on the baking sheet about an inch apart from each other.
Press on the toppings of your choice. (I only used one topping per penny – coarse sea salt, ground black pepper, paprika, and cumin seeds. I also left some plain.)
Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Cool pennies completely on the pans on wire cooling racks.
Makes about 8 dozen crackers. (I ended up with exactly 85 pennies.)