weekend cookbook challenge #17 – the key word is… May 30, 2007

Cornmeal

"challenge".

As a blogger who tries to take part in events sort of regularly, I was bummed when I realized I missed the last Weekend Cookbook Challenge. To ensure that it didn’t happen again…I have made my weekend cookbook challenge recipe…on a Wednesday. At least its getting done!

Ani from FoodieChickie – our host this month – picked what I consider to be an unusual theme: cornmeal. I have had a bag of it in my cupboard for months now…cast aside after I changed up a recipe and didn’t need it. outside of using it to occasionally coat or bread something, I just don’t use the stuff. since I was going to embark on a recipe adventure, I didn’t want to go the way of the usual cornmeal cakes or muffins.

Perusing Food and Wine’s website, i found this recipe for Cornmeal Crackers with Pumpkin Seeds. I’ve never made anything like this at home…and thought it would be a suitable "challenge" for the WCC. I wasn’t kidding. My easy little cracker recipe ended up turning into Chez T’s Recipe Test Kitchen.

Here are a few things I noticed while making these…and I made three batches of these puppies…

  • I think this dough is *really* salty. I followed the directions to the letter…so I would maybe cut back on the salt a bit…or make sure that you taste the dough as you season it so you don’t go overboard.
  • Getting them to "cracker thin-ness" is a challenge. Maybe calling them a "biscuit" is a better idea?
  • Make sure that you bring the dough thoroughly to room temp once you chill it. It goes crazy crumbly after the stint in the fridge.

Outside of those helpful hints, I think these would be a delicious addition to an appetizer party or a wine tasting. Once you get the hang of them, they are wonderfully crunchy and have great crumby texture. The taste is almost cheese-like…with some lingering heat from red pepper. A great nosh for sitting around and having a wonderful cocktail to accompany it.

Cornmeal2

Cornmeal Crackers with Pumpkin Seeds – makes 2 1/2 dozen – originally found here on foodandwine.com

  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  1. In a
    large skillet, stir the cornmeal over moderate heat, shaking the pan
    occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a
    plate to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal with
    the flour, 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds, the salt, sugar and crushed
    red pepper. Using your fingers, work the butter into the cornmeal
    mixture until incorporated. Mix in the milk, pressing the dough with
    your hands to form a ball; add a little more milk if necessary. Cover
    the dough and refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat
    the oven to 350°. Butter 2 baking sheets. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of
    dough and roll into balls. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet and
    press into 2-inch rounds with a flat-bottomed glass. Press the
    remaining 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds into the rounds. Bake the crackers
    for about 10 minutes, or until browned around the edges. Let cool for 5
    minutes, then transfer to a large plate. Serve warm or at room
    temperature.

Note: The cracker dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. The crackers can be
stored overnight in an airtight container. Recrisp them in a 300° oven
for a few minutes before serving.

Comments

BedHeadBoy May 30, 2007 07:05 pm

Those ‘lil crackers look delicious! I would think, wouldn’t I, that they would go great with one of those obnoxious, over-oaked, malolacticly dysfunctional California Chardonnays. Cheers!

Abby Jun 5, 2007 09:06 am

Those look great! I love pumpkin seeds … reminds me of kindergarten when I first roasted them as a class! What a fabulous hor d’oeuvre base.

tami Jun 6, 2007 06:06 pm

abby-
the pumpkin seeds were a big draw for me – i rarely eat them..and if so, i eat them as is and not in a dish.
i agree…this would be a great base to add to it and tweak it..and definetely top it with something.
let me know if you try it!
- tami

Ani Jun 10, 2007 06:06 am

Glad the recipe used the cornmeal you had in your cupboard.