Gluten-free crispy cornmeal snack crackers with Parmigiano Reggiano more
I love an election year (exciting! democracy breathing!). And a good cup of coffee (strong and smooth, please, which means no thank you for Starbuck’s unless I’m desperate which does happen from time to time). I’m also partial to a good, long chuckle. And a true classic movie or two (we showed The Natural to our kids the other day – I will never ever get over my crushing crush on Robert Redford, but it’s not my fault because he’s so dreamy and such a cool character – and anyway I forgot that Glenn Close was the long lost love!).
Something I don’t do often enough? High fives. Don’t leave me hangin’, okay? I will never … leave you hangin’. I will always return your five. You can count on me.
Know what else I love? Crispy crunchy buttery salty crackers.
If you miss Ritz, you’ve come to the right place, bee-tee-dubs (can I pull that off? don’t answer that). We did gluten-free ritz crackers last summer, and they’re perfect.
These are crunchier and a little bit more snacky, on account of their crunchiness. I made them rather small, for my kids’ school lunches since my little one is a slow eater, slow like honey, and seems to eat a bit faster when a snack is made for popping right in your mouth. But you can make them bigger and serve them with wine and cheese.
The Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese helps give them true depth of flavor, and the cornmeal gives them that toothsome bite. They have a surprisingly small amount of butter, but the extra melted tablespoon that you brush on top before sprinkling plenty of coarse salt really makes these crackers a true favorite.
Don’t forget to poke some holes, to help the crackers rise in the oven. It really helps them crisp. And you get those nice, round holes in the dough by poking a toothpick in straight and then moving it around in tiny circles to widen the hole. Once you get the technique down, it goes super fast. And it’s worth the extra few minutes for gluten-free cracker perfection.
- 1¼ cups (175g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
- 1 cup (140g) coarsely ground gluten-free cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 4 tablespoons (23g) cultured buttermilk blend (Saco brand – available in most larger supermarkets)
- 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¾ cup (6 fl. oz.) milk, at room temperature (low-fat is fine, nonfat is not)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted (still warm)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornmeal, baking soda, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt and buttermilk blend, and whisk to combine well. Add the finely grated cheese, and mix to combine. Add the 4 tablespoons butter and the milk, and mix until combined and the dough begins to come together. Divide the dough into two parts, and press each into a small ball.
- Place the first ball of dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper, and roll into a rectangle about ⅛-inch thick (about the thickness of a nickel). The dough should roll out quickly and easily. With a fluted (or simple round) 1-inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds of dough and place them on a prepared baking sheet, about 1-inch apart (they will not spread during baking). Gather and reroll scraps. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Using a toothpick, poke 4 evenly spaced holes toward the center of each of the rounds of dough. Poke the holes in a tight circular motion to create well-rounded holes.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of all of the rounds of dough lightly with the remaining teaspoon of melted butter. One tablespoon of melted butter should be enough to cover all of the rounds lightly. Sprinkle the tops of the rounds liberally with coarse salt.
- Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once during baking, for about 12 minutes, or until the crackers are dark golden brown on the edges and lightly golden brown on top. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in a tightly sealed container at room temperature. For best results, serve within 2 days.
- Makes about 100 crackers, depending upon size.
Job well done, friends. High five?
P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. Your support means the world to me!