When I made these crackers for a tasting at Marché they were the absolute bomb. So I’ve been playing with the recipe a little and discovered I love them even more with a little rosemary. I also discovered this recipe is all about using a great cheese – it makes all the difference. The best batch was made with Montgomery’s Farmhouse English Cheddar – a very traditional cheddar that gets wrapped in muslin (not wax) so as it ages it develops huge complex flavor. It grated well and brought just the right amount of sharpness and savoriness. This dough was easy to work with too. This recipe is definitely one for my arsenal – you can make them a few days ahead (just store them airtight) and is a guaranteed party favorite.
ROSEMARY CHILI CHEDDAR BITES
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ t. salt
1 t. crushed red chilies
2 t. finely diced fresh rosemary leaves
4 T. unsalted butter, chilled and diced
8 oz. aged Cheddar cheese, grated
3 to 4 T. water
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, chilies and rosemary. Transfer to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese and pulse to combine.
Add 3 to 4 Tablespoons of water, one at a time, pulsing until the mixture comes together in a ball. Wrap ball in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll the dough out to a 1/8 inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet/tray. Cut the dough into ½ inch diamonds (or any shape you prefer) using a cookie cutter, sharp knife or fluted pasta cutter. Spread the pieces onto 3 baking sheets lined with parchment/baking paper, leaving just enough room so they are not touching. Bake 35-40 minutes, until deep golden brown. Let cool completely before serving. May be store up to 1 week sealed in an airtight container.
Makes about 180 crackers
Adapted from The Cheese Mongers Kitchen by Chester Hastings