Got cookie baking down pat? Take a whack at crackers


Crackers are as easy to make as cookies.

The techniques are the same. Some are rolled thin and cut, others rolled in a log and sliced, still others dropped from a spoon. One version of Cheddar cheese straws starts with store-bought puff pastry.

These delicate nibbles are rich enough to serve alone, with pre-dinner drinks. Or, pair them with soup for a filling lunch.

RF Keep your crackers fresh by storing them in an airtight container.

Cheddar cheese straws

Makes 18 straws

1 6-by-9-inch sheet puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Mark puff pastry into 1-inch strips. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with paprika and cover with cheese. Cut into strips. Starting at each end, twist each strip two or three times and roll lightly with hands. Place each strip on cookie sheets, pressing the ends firmly onto the paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

-! (Source: "Seasoned in Texas"). Cornmeal crackers

Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 1/4 cups boiling water

2 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together cornmeal, salt and cayenne. Gradually stir in boiling water, keeping the mixture smooth. Stir in butter until smooth, then stir in egg. Drop onto the prepared sheets by scant tablespoons, about 3 inches apart. Bake until edges are brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in tightly covered container in cool place for up to 3 weeks.

-! (Source: "Enchanted Evenings") Brie wafers

Makes 30 wafers

1/2 pound Brie, at room temperature

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Process cheese and butter in a food processor until creamy. Add flour, cayenne, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Mix, pulsing on and off, until a soft dough forms. Transfer dough to a plate and shape into log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice dough into 1/4 -inch thick rounds. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight tin.

(Source: "Christmas in the Heartland")

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