Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook: Yeasted Baked Goods; Pastries; & Basic Recipes (Chapters 5 and Back Matter)
December 2007 Cookbooks of the Month, Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook AND Martha Stewart’s Hors d’Oeuvres Handbook.
Please post your full-length reviews of yeasted baked goods, pastries; and basic recipes (Chapters 5 and Back Matter) here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.
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Parmesan Crackers (with black pepper), page 318
WOW! One of my December goals included making *savory* goodies to give out to friends this year. Yay! I found the winning crackers with these (I had also tried some disappointing Nigella blue cheese crackers in Nov, a flop!). If you want to make crackers to serve or give to friends, make these!
Martha's recipe calls for rosemary on top, but I switched them to Parmesan-Black Pepper crackers, since in my home we go crazy for pepper, and I thought they would go better with the dips I made minus the rosemary.
These surpassed my expectations. :) They are delicious and gorgeous. How very Martha! I kept hoping they would turn out like those outrageously expensive artisan crackers I covet at fancy bakeries, even TJs and elsewhere, you know, like 6 in a package for $6. They did turn out like that -- better :)
Honestly, I couldn't believe how easy these were to assemble ... into the stand mixer I put dry yeast and water, waited five mins, then added olive oil, sea salt, (delicious orange blossom) honey, flour, some more water. Mix two minutes, add Parmesan cheese, mix one more minute.
Next, the kneading and waiting -- knead four or five times (! wow, talk about easy), form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap for ten minutes, then chill in a lightly oiled bowl for at least an hour or overnight.
I waited a few hours. Instructions call for a pasta maker next, to stretch the dough into very-thin crackers. I opted for the rolling pin, as I don't (YET!) have the pasta machine... I couldn't believe how easy it was to get the dough to the prescribed 8 by 5 inches. Honestly. At second glance, maybe that's because I divided the dough into 8 segments, not 16 as suggested.... I guess I'll try the next batch as prescribed, but I think it would be really hard without the pasta maker.
Then I put the crackers on parchment-lined paper, oops forgot to brush with an egg, and ground on more sea salt and LOTS of black pepper and more Parm. About 18 minutes later, I pulled these delightfully crispy treats from the 350 degree oven, and we enjoyed with two homemade dips, including Martha's pepita dip (see hors d'oeuvres thread and photo below). Sweety and I both loved these. My version :) without pasta maker stretching dough for you, makes eight big crackers. I'm sure I could get more, maybe 12, but I'm not Martha, so I don't think I could get 16 rolling by hand.
These would be soooo elegant to set out with appetizers at a dinner party, or to wrap up in cellophane with a pretty ribbon to give as a gift (carefully, b/c they're fragile, and you don't want all of the goodies atop the crackers to fall off).
Check out the images -- including one of the equally enchanting pepita dip (page 388, Hors D'oeuvres Handbook).
re: foxy fairy
Made these too for New Year's Eve. We really loved them also! They were excellent with the Hot Crab Dip from the Hors D' oeuvres Handbook! I should have halved the recipe since there were only two of us, but I went ahead and rolled all of them out and froze the dough in between parchment layers... hopefully, that will work out okay. I just love making my own crackers!! (I hesitated too, when I read pasta maker, but it really was not a big deal.)