Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cheese crackers (and T day prep)

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving!

Ok - T day is practically here! The thing I both love and hate about Thanksgiving is I always do the same menu. This predictability makes it easy to plan and streamline and get it right, but sometimes I wish I could be a little more creative. Oh well, thats what the other 364 days of the year are for. Today I made little cheese crackers, that hold beautifully in an air-tight container at room temperature, to serve as part of my appetizer platters. I do play a little with the appetizers from year to year - yesterday, I made two batches of my savory palmiers - puff pastry spread with a bacon and mushroom filling, rolled and sliced - I froze the palmiers and will bake them about an hour before I plan to serve them. Cheese crackers, palmiers and some green and red grapes, a platter of sliced veggies with some roasted red pepper dip, a few bowls of gourmet olives and maybe some spiced nuts will be my appetizers. Next I made my whole berry cranberry sauce (I use orange zest, cinnamon and cloves) and popped that in the fridge. I'll serve it with canned jellied cranberry sauce as well. I also made candied sweet potatoes today, using a brown sugar, butter, maple syrup and vanilla coating.

So these cheese crackers are amazing - heres the recipe:

Make Ahead Cheese Crackers

  • 12 Tbs (1.5 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 6 oz extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Beat butter with electric mixer, for about 5 mins, or until very fluffy. Add cheeses and beat to combine. With hands add flour mixture and combine until a dough forms - if too crumbly to form into a ball add up to 2 Tbs cold water. Divide dough into quarters and shape into balls, flatten into discs and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Roll dough (about 1/8 inch) and cut out with 1.5" cookie cutter rounds or shapes, place 1/2 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets and bake at 450 for 6-8 mins or until golden, watch carefully as these goes from golden to burnt pretty quickly. Remove from baking sheet onto paper towel lined trays to cool completely. Store in airtight containers for up to two weeks.

Tonight I think I'll make an Italian Ricotta Cheesecake - a lighter and still decadent take on cheesecake - tomorrow, with only one day to go I will tackle the chestnut stuffing and the pumpkin pie. I bought the organic, free range, humanly raised well treated (hopefully read to on a nightly basis) bird today - and had to make room in my refrigerator by moving the delicious leftover pea soup from last night into a smaller container. Lots to clean - lots to do!

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