Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Spicy Cornmeal Crisps

I made 2 kinds of crackers this year for Christmas. I thought this was the better of the two myself; but the others disappeared faster, so apparently that was a minority opinion. Still, these have a nice dry-crunchy sandy texture from the cornmeal, and the seasonings make them delicious plain or with cheese. Like all crackers, it is very important to make them as thin as you possibly can. Otherwise, they are not crispy, just tough.

32 crackers
1 hour prep time

1 cup soft unbleached flour
1 cup fine cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon rubbed dry rosemary leaves
1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile, such as Aleppo
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 to 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Tear off a piece of parchment paper to fit a large baking tray.

Mix the flour, cornmeal, and seasonings together in a small mixing bowl. Melt the butter and mix it with the buttermilk. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. When it gets too stiff to mix easily, dump it out on the parchment paper and knead briefly until well amalgamated into an even dough. Don't let the dough sit, but roll it out at once - it will get very stiff and hard to work with unless you get right to it.

Roll out the dough as thinly and evenly as you can, on the parchment paper. Keep it in a neat rectangle as well, trimming and patching the edges to do it. Cut the resulting rectangle into crackers with a pizza cutter. Lift the parchment paper carefully onto the baking tray. Sprinkle the tops of the crackers evenly with the coarse sea salt.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until dry and firm, and slightly browned around the edges. They will continue to harden as they cool. Break apart the cooled crackers to serve.

Last year at this time I made Red Cabbage, Carrot & Onion Stir-Fry.

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