For those of you who know me, you probably know that I try to avoid recipes that require rolling out dough. For some reason, all my life, I’ve hated making anything that required rolling from christmas cookies to pie crusts. For my New Year’s Eve dinner, however, I decided to test my under-used skills and make crackers from scratch.
I ended up deciding on Patricia Well’s recipe from Vegetable Harvest for spicy polenta-cheese crackers. Turns out, they were quite easy to make. The polenta soaks up the buttermilk nicely, making the dough very easy to work with. Best of all, the dough only has to sit for 15 minutes; a far cry from the several hours usually required for roll out confections.
Spicy Polenta-Cheese Crackers
1 cup bread flour [I used whole wheat pastry flour]
1 cup instant polenta
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper [I used a bit more, for an extra kick]
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup buttermilk, shaken to blend
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a food processor or a blender, combine the flour, polenta, sea salt, baking soda, cayenne pepper, and cheese. Process to blend. Add the butter and process just until the mixture resemble coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and process until the dough just forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds. Wrap in plastic and set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Cut the dough into quarters. Set one quarter on a lightly floured surface; cover the remaining pieces with plastic. Roll out the dough 1/16 inch thick. Using a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter or a glass, cut out rounds of dough and arrange them on a nonstick baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake until the crackers are golden and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. Once cool, transfer to airtight containers. The crackers can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. [Note: watch crackers carefully to make sure they don’t burn!]