As a blogger who tries to take part in events sort of regularly, I was bummed when I realized I missed the last Weekend Cookbook Challenge. To ensure that it didn't happen again...I have made my weekend cookbook challenge recipe...on a Wednesday. At least its getting done!
Ani from FoodieChickie - our host this month - picked what I consider to be an unusual theme: cornmeal. I have had a bag of it in my cupboard for months now...cast aside after I changed up a recipe and didn't need it. outside of using it to occasionally coat or bread something, I just don't use the stuff. since I was going to embark on a recipe adventure, I didn't want to go the way of the usual cornmeal cakes or muffins.
Perusing Food and Wine's website, i found this recipe for Cornmeal Crackers with Pumpkin Seeds. I've never made anything like this at home...and thought it would be a suitable "challenge" for the WCC. I wasn't kidding. My easy little cracker recipe ended up turning into Chez T's Recipe Test Kitchen.
Here are a few things I noticed while making these...and I made three batches of these puppies...
- I think this dough is *really* salty. I followed the directions to the letter...so I would maybe cut back on the salt a bit...or make sure that you taste the dough as you season it so you don't go overboard.
- Getting them to "cracker thin-ness" is a challenge. Maybe calling them a "biscuit" is a better idea?
- Make sure that you bring the dough thoroughly to room temp once you chill it. It goes crazy crumbly after the stint in the fridge.
Outside of those helpful hints, I think these would be a delicious addition to an appetizer party or a wine tasting. Once you get the hang of them, they are wonderfully crunchy and have great crumby texture. The taste is almost cheese-like...with some lingering heat from red pepper. A great nosh for sitting around and having a wonderful cocktail to accompany it.
Cornmeal Crackers with Pumpkin Seeds - makes 2 1/2 dozen - originally found here on foodandwine.com
- 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons milk
- In a large skillet, stir the cornmeal over moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal with the flour, 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds, the salt, sugar and crushed red pepper. Using your fingers, work the butter into the cornmeal mixture until incorporated. Mix in the milk, pressing the dough with your hands to form a ball; add a little more milk if necessary. Cover the dough and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter 2 baking sheets. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough and roll into balls. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet and press into 2-inch rounds with a flat-bottomed glass. Press the remaining 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds into the rounds. Bake the crackers for about 10 minutes, or until browned around the edges. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a large plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: The cracker dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. The crackers can be stored overnight in an airtight container. Recrisp them in a 300° oven for a few minutes before serving.