I have been eating well in the past few weeks but, other than 2 new soups and a trio of chocolate truffles, nothing worth posting about.
Speaking of truffles … here’s a picture. There are close-ups under the cut.
I used a semi-sweet chocolate ganache for the red (cranberry and French brandy) and green (mint extract and vodka) truffles. The white truffles (almond and orange extract and Cointreau) were made with a white chocolate ganache which, even with the addition of ground almonds, half again as much chocolate and reducing the whipping cream, never really hardened, even after frozen. I ended up rolling the resulting balls in ground almonds or Christmas themed chocolate shot.
I decided to share a fast and easy cheesy cracker recipe that will make a nice appetizer/nibble to enjoy with a glass of bubbly for New Year’s eve.
Cheese Crackers or Straws – makes about 4 dozen 2″ long, 1/8th of an inch thick crackers
2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese, yellow or white
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, for a moderate kick
paprika, sprinkled on top or 1/4 tsp added to dough for more color (optional)
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer combine all of the ingredients with the paddle to make a cohesive dough, sprinkling in a tablespoon or so of water if the dough doesn’t seem to want to come together. As soon as the dough starts to come together, turn off the mixer and gather it into a rough ball.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface, and roll into a shape that fits into your cookie press.
Chill if the dough is very soft or if you don’t have a cookie press and want to make Cheese Coins instead. In that case, roll the dough into a 16-inch log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in waxed paper or plastic wrap, and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then make like slice ‘n bake cookies by slicing into 1/8″ rounds.
For straws made in the cookie press, put dough into the tube of the press. Use the star-shaped disk. Squeeze out onto parchment. Close together is fine. Squeeze one long strand then cut it into 2-3″ segments and slightly offset them.
NOTE: I didn’t have a star-shaped disk for this cookie press so I used the ribbon disk instead and broke off in 2 inch pieces or cut a pan width segment into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces.
Sprinkle them with a bit of paprika, if desired and if you didn’t already add the paprika to the dough.
Bake in a preheated 375° F oven 11 minutes or until edges are just beginning to brown. (If using yellow cheddar and the paprika, you may have a hard time judging if the edges are browned as they’re pretty yellow. You will want to take them out after about 13 minutes in that case.)
Allow the crackers to cool on the pan for several minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.