I don’t eat a lot of cheese, but Parmigiano-Reggiano, that’s another story. I count that as less of a cheese than more of an ingredient I cannot live without. In Paris, it’s not always easy to find cheeses from other countries — because with more than 400 types of cheese in France alone, why go elsewhere? — but most frommageries have a big wheel of Parmesan, from which they’ll slice a wedge as big as you like. The French are reasonable people.
Right now I’m in Dallas and luckily, Jimmy’s Food Store offers up the same cheese sliced before your eyes service. (Jimmy’s makes me happy. I go there a lot.)
I actually wanted to get this post up before the new year, and talk about how great these crackers would be with Champagne — but my annual nasty Christmas cold came to visit and knocked me off-schedule on just about everything. But back to the point. Champagne. These are great with Champagne. Champagne is fine for New Year’s Eve, but it is even more fine as an everyday thing. Like Maille brand Dijon mustard, Kalamata olives, and Parmesan, I keep a bottle of Champagne in my fridge always. It is a staple. Because you just never know when the mood will strike. Personally, I’m hoping the mood strikes more often in 2017 than it did in 2016. I’m visualizing, manifesting, and doing silly dances for it.
A note about these crackers. They are best when rolled out as thin as you can possibly roll them. These crackers are a little crazy and like to puff up their tummies like madeleines. This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in a French magazine, so there you go. When taken out of the oven, their tummies flatten right out (if only it was so easy – I’d put myself in the oven), and once cooled, they crisp right up.
They taste like fancy Cheez-Its, and this small recipe actually makes quite a lot. But next time I’m going to double the batch because they tend to disappear as quickly as the bubbles do.
Parmesan + Black Pepper Crackers
Makes 8 to 10 dozen (1-inch) crackers
- 1 ¼ cups flour
- ½ cup grated fresh Parmesan
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (more if you like them really peppery)
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- Whisk together the flour, Parmesan, salt and pepper in your mixer bowl.
- Add the butter and milk and mix until combined and you have a smooth dough mass. Remove and shape into a fat disc, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Roll out 1 piece of dough on a lightly floured board as thin as you can, because these crackers will thicken and puff when cooked. Then, with a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 1-inch wide strips, then into 1-inch squares. Place these on the baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Repeat with the other ball of dough.
- Bake each sheet of crackers for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and around the edges. Let cool completely. Serve with Champagne, of course.