Quick and Impressive Appetizers: Blue Cheese Walnut Shortbread Crackers

by moderndomestic on January 11, 2010

Blue cheese and walnut crackers

Just don't serve them on Valentine's Day . . .

One of the few things I miss about having cable – besides all the trashy Bravo reality shows – is watching The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. Actually, Ina Garten is pretty much the only thing I miss about the Food Network. Since the network moved away from chef-driven shows and tried to fill its ranks with Rachel Ray wannabes, I pretty much stopped watching all together. Well, I watched Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee, but only to gape at how disgusting everything looked.

But Ina Garten, while not a professionally trained chef, is in a class all by herself. She’s a Martha-Stewart-type, but way less fussy – she doesn’t do thing like make two-story gingerbread houses roofed in gold leaf, or top cakes with chocolate truffles molded to look like robins’ eggs. She just likes good food, with good ingredients, and she’s not afraid of a little butter. Or, well, a lot of butter.

These blue cheese walnut crackers are classic Ina. The flavor of the crackers depends on the quality and type of blue cheese you use, but the crackers themselves are quite simple and come together in minutes. Garten calls these “crackers,” but they have the crisp texture and heft of a shortbread – they’re like a cookie, minus the sugar. These crackers are decadent, savory and extremely flavorful, and everyone will think that you spent hours, not minutes, throwing them together.

I brought these to the Food Blogger Potluck last week, and they were a hit. They also made my entire apartment smell like blue cheese for a couple of days, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. And, um, you may not want to serve these crackers on a date night – well, unless both of you really like blue cheese.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Crackers 2

. . . Well, unless you and your partner both love blue cheese. Or aren't shy about brushing your teeth.

Blue Cheese Walnut Crackers
Adapted From Ina Garten

Ingredients:
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz good quality blue cheese (not blue cheese crumbles), at room temp.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbs water
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbs water (for egg wash)
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

In the food processor, pulse together the butter and blue cheese until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper until evenly combined. Add the flour mixture and the water to the butter mixture and pulse until the dough comes together.

Remove dough to a floured work surface. Press into a ball, and then roll into a 12-inch log. Brush the log with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts in a square on the work surface and roll the log in the nuts, pressingly lightly, until the log is evenly coated. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 30 minutes to one hour, until thoroughly chilled.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the log into 3/8 inch slices with a very sharp knife. Place cracker rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool crackers on a rack and serve at room temperature.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren January 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

I love gaping at Sandra Lee. They really should just re-name the show “Tablescapes with Sandra Lee”, because she brings absolutely nothing to the table food-wise.

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moderndomestic January 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm

I also love her disgusting cocktail recipes. That lady is a booze hound.

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Shaw Girl January 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Sandra Lee scares us all. She has crazy eyes (probably from all the vodka). Bummed that I missed the potluck but glad you posted this recipe!

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Phil January 11, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I have been wanting to make these crackers for a while. I basically watch the Food Network for Ina and Alton Brown. I wish they had more chef-driven shows too. I don’t understand why they insist on airing only Rachel Ray clones because it seems like a diverse array of shows would attract a wider group of viewers and give FN a larger audience. I’m not even saying eliminate Rachel Ray just add some shows that don’t fit that mold. Now they can eliminate Sandra Lee, that woman is a walking crime against humanity.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but Hulu has a few old Molto Mario episodes (one of my personal favorites) along with Jose Andres and some other chef-driven shows you may want to check out, especially since you don’t have cable. Sadly there is no Ina yet.

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mary January 11, 2010 at 7:52 pm

I regret not trying these. I was just SO FULL. I guess I’ll have to make my own now.

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moderndomestic January 11, 2010 at 7:58 pm

It is okay – I, too, wasn’t able to eat everything I wanted. That was the only thing I didn’t like about the evening (and, really, it’s a good problem to have).

You should make them! I think you’ve made her Parmesan black-pepper crackers before, and these are similar (and just as good).

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