Cocktail Hour, Anyone? {CtBF}

What do you snack on with a drink while you prepare dinner?  Or set out for guests while you apply the final touches on a meal?  Depending on the menu or the drink, we typically serve cheese and crackers or chips and salsa.  If company is coming over, I put more thought into it, offering a variety of textures plus accommodations for dietary restrictions or sensitivities.  I’m always looking for new ideas and inspirations for easy cocktail time nibbles.

This week’s recipe for Cook the Book Fridays fits the bill.  I’d describe Salted Olive Crisps as something between a thin savory biscotti and a full-loaded cracker.  You start by making a shallow loaf of something like a quick bread with a healthy dose of Herbes de Provence and oodles of chopped olives and almonds.  After the loaf is baked and slightly cooled, you slice the loaf as thinly as you can and bake the slices again to crisp them up.  Once cooled, you have a treat to offer (to yourself or others) alongside a glass of wine or other beverage.

Though I used a good bread knife, as recommended, to slice the loaf, my crisps weren’t quite as thin as they were meant to be.  I think it’s because the recipe wasn’t clear about how long to cool to bake the loaf before slicing.  I only let it cool until I could handle it, about 10 minutes.  It was still warm.  However, when the recipe said to turn down the oven temperature after the loaf came out of the oven, it seemed like I was meant to bake the slices shortly after the loaf was done.  I felt like if the loaf had cooled completely, it would have been easier to slice thinner.

The slightly thicker slices took longer to get to golden brown and still felt a bit soft.  I baked these after dinner, so they weren’t cool enough to put in a closed container before bedtime.  I put them back in the warm (turned off) oven to spend the night.  In the morning, they were beautifully crisp.

I used oil-cured olives that have a slightly sweet flavor and a chewy texture like moist raisins or prunes.  In fact, I often use these same olives as a substitution for dried fruit in recipes that Howard would otherwise eat.  I can see this recipe serving as a springboard for many other combinations, varying the herbs, the olives, the nuts, and adding other savory ingredients such as sun-dried tomatoes or capers.  I think it would be nice with a combination of sweet and savory ingredients, but I’d have to try that when I’m bringing treats to a friend (refer to constraint above).

If you’d like to try these yourself, check out the recipe on page 42 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen.  You can learn more about other bloggers’ experiences with this recipe here.  Or let me know when you want to stop by for cocktail hour chez moi, and I’ll whip up a batch and share!



Posted on 7 April 2017, in Cocktails, Cook The Book Fridays, my paris kitchen and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. You seemed to have more of a success story to tell than I did. My crisps were good when I took them out of the oven after being twice-baked but after storing them in an air-tight canister, they were soft and rubbery. I put a couple slices in the toaster and they were okay but not worth the calories. I had to throw the rest of the batch out. I do like all your combo suggestions, however. Everyone has given me some tips and I might try these again. I am curious as to how yours taste after a day or two.

  2. I love the sweet and savory suggestions you mentioned. The toughest challenge is keeping the crisps crispy through and through, and overtime, like the kind we buy at the store.

  3. They do look good Betsy, I guess the trick is to let them dry out thoroughly. My were tasty
    at first, but the next day they were terrible.

  4. I agree there were a few things in the recipe that were not super clear – I let my loaf cool completely before I sliced and even with my good knife it was hard to slice thinly, I only got 24 slices. Also, did yours stay crisp the next day? Mine, sadly, didn’t, even in an airtight container…

  5. Update: Mine have stayed crisp, even after a few days. I think it has to do with leaving them in the oven overnight. Lots of extra time to dry out.

  6. I did the same as you… leaving them in a switched off and cooling oven.. after an hour they were ready to be packed away!

  7. Those olives sound really interesting! And what a tip about leaving them in the oven overnight! Also, Betsy, you are totally right about the instructions: I remember now that’s why I grumbled about it taking so long to make these. Upon a cursory review of the recipe, I figured it was first bake, lower oven temp, slice, bake. But once I lowered the temp and read the recipe more carefully, I realized I had to let it cool for quite a while, which bolloxed up my “schedule.” Ah well. It’s kind of interesting how much recipe cues can have an effect!

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