Salt, Pepper & Rosemary Cheese Crackers [Recipe]
My conservatory is a sea of green. My tomato, cucumber, pepper & chilli seedlings have now been transplanted and fill one set of shelves. My windowsill is covered with red vases containing an assortment of fresh herbs – rosemary, melissa (lemon balm), basil, coriander, tarragon and mint. The smell of the herbs is intoxicating, particularly when the sun shines and warms the leaves.
I have been using the mint and melissa every day to make tea – I just snip off a small sprig, pop it in a mug and add boiling water. The mint tea is particularly refreshing, while the melissa is a soothing bedtime drink. The basil and mint I use in salads, the coriander on curries and stir-fries. The tarragon needs a bit more time before it is ready to harvest. The rosemary, though, is getting less use than the others. Lest it feel left out, I have been thinking about ways I can use it beyond roast meats or potatoes.
Rosemary has a strong flavour and only needs to be used in very small amounts or it can be overpowering. Used judiciously, though, it can bring a warm, woody note to savoury dishes. The sharp, astringent taste works very well with fatty foods such as oily fish and cheese as well as the classic roast lamb.
I recently received two gifts of cheese from friends overseas (you can see photos over on Facebook), so I decided to make some cheese crackers. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing and whether my proportions would work, but the result was one of the most delicious crackers I’ve ever eaten. I ate three while I was waiting for them to cool – they’re that good. They are buttery and crumbly with just enough seasoning to make them edible on their own, but equally good with a strong goat’s cheese or sharp cheddar. They are also fantastic dipped into hummus. As they’re a bit like a Ritz cracker they would be great as a base for canapés. Easy, tasty and versatile – that’s my kind of food.
Salt, Pepper & Rosemary Cheese Crackers
15 cm | 6 inch sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves only
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
100 g | 3½ oz cold butter (i.e., straight from the fridge)
200 g | 7 oz plain flour (all-purpose flour)
1 tsp baking powder
4-5 Tbsp cold water
- Pre-heat the oven to 150 ˚C | 300 ˚F.
- Rinse the rosemary leaves under cold water, shake off excess water and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Chop the rosemary very finely, then mix together with the salt and pepper in a ramekin or small dish.
- Cut the butter into rough chunks (about 8 pieces). Place the flour, baking powder and butter into a food processor and blitz for about 20 seconds until the chunks of butter have disappeared and the mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Add 4 Tbsp cold water to the bowl and blitz again for about 20 seconds to bring the mixture together into a ball. If it doesn’t quite come together, add another tablespoon of water and blitz for a further 10 seconds. It is important not to over-mix the dough or it will be difficult to roll and may result in tough crackers.
- Remove the dough and place on a clean surface – a large chopping board or area of counter. There is no need to use any flour – the dough is not very sticky due to the high butter content.
- Roll the dough to about 2 mm thick. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the rosemary mixture, then roll again very gently to push the seasoning into the dough. (You won’t need all of the seasoning mix, but it’s hard to make less than this amount. Aim for a light, even sprinkling, using the photos as a guide.)
- Gently lift the dough and move it slightly to ensure no part is stuck to the work surface. Using a 7 cm (3 inch) round cookie cutter, cut the dough into 24 rounds. Re-roll any scraps (do not season) and cut into rounds. For smaller scraps, cut into rectangles using a sharp knife.
- Gently lift the crackers onto two baking sheets. (There is no need to oil or flour the baking sheets.) Leave a small gap between the crackers to allow for expansion during cooking.
- Cool the crackers on a wire tray. They will keep for about 1 week if stored in an airtight container.
Bake for 40 minutes. If your oven has hot spots, you may wish to rotate the baking sheets after 20 minutes.
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way. It does contain links to products that I have personally selected and recommend. If you purchase products via the links in this post I receive a teeny, tiny commission.