When I decided to host the Food Bloggers Los Angeles holiday cookie and cookbook swap, I forgot one key thing: I don't like baking cookies.
In fact, if you look at my recipe index, you'll notice that in three years I've posted only a dozen cookie recipes.
Which left me in a bind the night before the event. I couldn't get in the mood for sweets.
Luckily, I remembered the fabulously simple parmesan "cookies" on Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen, written by my friend and fellow Los Angeles food blogger Rachel Kaganoff Stern. I once stood at Rachel's kitchen counter and polished off a dozen without coming up for air. (Then Rachel told me how much butter was in them and common sense took over.)
Butter, cheese, flour: That's the base. Rachel makes hers plain. I added smoked paprika, my not-so-secret obsession. And I took a shortcut. Instead of taking the time to grate Parmigiano-Reggiano fresh, I used Costco's grated Grana Padano. It's real cheese, nothing like that fake grated dust in the green can in the grocery store. What's more, it's tastes and behaves like Parmigiano-Reggiano, but it's significantly less expensive. Costco's grated Grana Padano is one of my refrigerator staples. (And no, Costco is not paying me to say this. I buy it with my own hard-earned money.)
P.S. The rest of the Los Angeles food bloggers made sweet cookies, and they were extraordinary. See this post at Shockingly Delicious for photos. Links to the recipes appear below.
Parmesan smoked paprika crackers
These savory cookies couldn't be easier to make. The gorgeous rust color comes from the smoked paprika. Use a kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients for best results. Serve with white wine or Prosecco before dinner. Adapted from Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen.
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) salted butter, softened
- 1/2 pound parmesan, Romano or Grana Padano cheese, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1/2 pound all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.In a stand mixer, blend all the ingredients on low speed until they come together into a rough dough. Do not overmix - that will develop the gluten in the flour and make the crackers tough. You want the crackers to be short and crumbly, like shortbread.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or countertop and roll it out to about a quarter-inch thick. Using a small round cookie cutter (I used the top of an empty spice jar), cut rounds from the dough. Transfer the crackers to the baking sheet with a small offset spatula or butter knife. Re-roll the scraps and cut again, continuing until all the dough is used. You'll have to shape the last few crackers by hand.Bake about 15 minutes, until the crackers are lightly browned on the bottom. Cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: approximately 3 dozen 1.5-inch crackers