Monthly Archives: December 2012

ffwd: cheez-it-ish crackers

Oodles of Homemade Cheez-Its

I’ve never been much of a junk food eater, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Cheez-Its. In addition to pretzels and animal crackers, it’s the only thing I would buy from the office vending machine. I find them addictive in any or all flavors: original, white cheddar, or any of the newer ones. It’s a definite weakness. The Annie’s Cheddar Bunny Classics are a close second.

Based on name alone, I was excited about this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie.. Homemade cheez-it-ish crackers? That knowledge could be truly dangerous.

These crackers are way too easy to make. The recipe called for a nutty Swiss cheese, like Gruyère, Comté or Emmenthaler, which would have made these très French. I had a bar of sharp Cheddar so I used what I had. I used my food processor’s fine grating blade on the cheese, then added the butter and seasonings right into the bowl.

Ready to Process

A few pulses combined everything into tiny curds that looked a lot like egg salad.

Doesn't this look like egg salad?

Doesn’t this look like egg salad?

Finally, flour was added to bind it all together. I never got the expected large curds, but the dough was crumbly and moist which kneaded together easily.

Dorie gave a slice-and-bake option. Honestly, I’d take the slice-and-bake option over the rolling pin every time. I formed the dough into three skinny logs, about ¾-inch in diameter. After the logs chilled for a few hours, all that was left to do was to slice the rolls into little coins and bake them.

Slice-and-Bake Crackers!

For me, a single batch made about 10 dozen crackers. I think my yield was high because my logs were on the skinny size. The end result was perfect bite-sized treats. These are perfect for snacking on, while sipping a glass of wine.

Yes, meeting this recipe could be my downfall. They are easy to make and delicious to eat, far superior to their commercial inspiration. I can’t wait to try them with different cheeses. All I can say is, I’m in trouble.

The recipe for these crackers can be found here, courtesy of the Calgary Herald. You can also find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

I’m looking forward to reading about what my fellow FFwD bloggers thought about this week’s recipe. Check out their links at here.

I wish all my Dorista friends and their loved ones Joyeux Noël!!!

Cookie Swap for a Cause

Cookie Logs

I’ve always wanted to participate in a cookie swap, but my friends always seem a bit overwhelmed and busy during the holiday season, so I never make the move to organize one. This year, I learned about a different sort of cookie swap, so I signed up.

The Boston Food Swap organized a Cookie Swap for a Cause which was held yesterday. Each baker brought at least four dozen cookies. Glad (who also provided the containers) donated $1 per cookie swapped. Over $4000 was raised to support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

Five long tables were set up and filled with thousands of homemade cookies. I was amazed at the variety. There was little, if any, duplication. I swear you could see the sugar in the air! People hung around and mingled. There were some activities and vendors to check out. Mostly everyone was waiting for swap time.


When the swapping started, everyone got two Gladware containers to fill with one or two of each cookie that looked appealing, as long as they lasted. I brought home samples of a few dozen different cookies. Howard will probably end up bringing them to work as there are too many for just us to eat, but they all look delicious! It was fun!

Now I want to try out one of the Boston Food Swap’s monthly events.

I brought Cranberry Noëls, an icebox cookie with flecks of red and green. Red from dried cranberries and green from pistachios. I love making icebox cookies for so many reasons. The main ones: the dough is easy to make, and you can store extra logs in the freezer for homemade slice-and-bake cookies anytime.

Cranberry Noëls
Adapted from

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
¾ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped pistachios
¼ tsp finely grated orange zest

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add milk and vanilla, and mix until just combined. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cranberries, pistachios, and orange zest until fruit and nuts are well-distributed. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture (I use a ½ cup measuing cup). Continue mixing until fully incorporated.

Turn dough onto a work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a log about 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375F and line baking sheets with parchment. Use a sharp knife to cut logs into ¼-inch slices. Place on baking sheets, about 1½ inches apart. Bake until edges are golden, rearranging pans halfway through, about 15-18 minutes totoal.

Remove from oven. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 4 dozen (you can make rolls skinnier and longer for more, smaller, cookies)

These are my cookies.  Excuse the blurry photo my iPhone took.

These are my cookies. Excuse the blurry photo my iPhone took.

P.S. If you are a local friend of mine and would be up for a traditional cookie swap in 2013, let me know. If there are enough of us, I’ll organize something for next year.