I didn’t know whether to title this post “cheese crackers” or “cheese puffs” or “cheese straws” (the recipe I adapted this from is one for cheese straws). These appetizers aren’t so much like cheese “puffs” or “straws” since I flattened these out before I baked them, however, they aren’t crispy like crackers either. They are buttery and cheesy and very delicious, though :)
Thyme always reminds me of the holiday season. The cheese flavor in these little bites isn’t so intense as to overwhelm the thyme, so they make a perfect recipe for fresh herbs that you want to showcase.
Rosemary would be really nice too in place of thyme. And while these are in the oven baking, they will also fill up your entire house with a delicious holiday-ish smell!
To make them, I stirred together flour, grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, a little cayenne pepper, and some fresh ground black pepper.
Then I used a spoon to mix in softened butter till it was in little clumps
then used my hands to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looked like crumbly sand
I stirred in an egg yolk and kneaded the dough just until it came together, but it’s important to not over-knead it. This is because the crumbly-ness of the butter-flour mixture creates that flaky texture that will be lost in the final product if those tiny pieces of butter are all melted/smushed together by over-mixing.
I pinched small pieces of dough from the ball and rolled them into finger-sized ropes, then flattened each rope and pressed a sprig of fresh thyme onto it.
The woody kind of stem is okay to leave there and to eat, as long as you use the tops of each thyme sprig rather than the woodier bottom ends. Some of the thyme sprigs may also fall off in transport if you choose to give these as gifts or bring them somewhere, but the herb flavor will have sort of infused into the cracker so it’s okay.
They bake for ten to fifteen minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, until crisp but not browned at all.
These are perfect for a Thanksgiving appetizer, especially if you are already buying fresh thyme! I know my family uses fresh thyme in making our stuffing and turkey and as garnishes for number of Thanksgiving dishes, and fresh thyme is so nice that I hate to let it go to waste or go bad in the fridge.
My recipe makes about 30.
Enjoy, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving season! :)
Parmesan-Thyme Cheese Crackers
scant 1 cup flour (about 2 Tablespoons less than a cup)
2 ounces grated parmesan or Romano cheese (about 2 cups)
a pinch of salt
a pinch of cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 Tablespoons softened butter
1 egg yolk
fresh thyme (or rosemary, or other fresh herbs)
Stir together the first five ingredients in a mixing bowl.
Mix in the butter, using your hands to crumble it into the flour mixture until the texture looks like coarse sand.
Stir in the egg yolk, mixing until the dough comes together. Add a teaspoon of water if you are having trouble getting it to stick together.
Pinch small pieces of dough and roll them into finger-sized ropes, then flatten each and press a sprig of thyme into the top.
Bake the crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or grease the baking sheet with butter or cooking spray) for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp but not browning.
Let them cool and serve as appetizers or snacks.