Never in my life did I imagine getting a 22 pound wheel of cheese to play with. And getting paid to do it! But it happened! Seriously! Life is awesome! [And this post is sure to have a ridiculous amount of exclamation points, deal with it!]
When Jackie sent me a message about an “interesting opportunity,” I had to respond. She is the Social Media chair for the IACP Conference 2012 which is here in New York City this year. [IACP stands for the International Association of Culinary Professionals, by the way.] She is working with all the awesome brands sponsoring the conference. In order to get all the food lovers of New York excited for March’s fun times, they hosted a big launch party.
And how do I come into the mix? Well, the launch party needed showstopper or two. Jarlsberg cheese wanted a display – something edible. Something tying a bunch of themes together. In my insanity at the end of the year – holiday traveling, time off and catching up at work with big projects – I relayed the idea to my friend Eryn. She was absolutely awesome and took control – handling phone calls and planning. Really, who would have come up with Lady Gaga-esque dressed cows on a runway with paparazzi mice?
I assisted with everything I could last weekend – running errands and grocery shopping, melting cheese and fitting into fun silicone molds, printing backgrounds and everything. Oh, and baking more homemade crackers than I could ever imagine in one weekend. If you’re of the baking type and you’ve never given homemade crackers a go, you must try them! The most simple list of ingredients – a mix of white and whole wheat flours, cheese and butter.
So how did the cheesy thing go? Pretty good. No, no, amazing. The display received a lot of good reaction, the crackers [and homemade biscuits], cheese balls and new Jarlsberg dip were eaten up eagerly. Oh, and did I mention that R.L. Stine tweeted that it was “The best Jarlsberg cheese display you will ever see.” Yeah. That happened. Eryn put it best. “11 year old me is flipping out!!!!”
Oh and here’s the Jarlsberg crackers. So good, so much better than Cheezits. And a lovely discovery that cheddar isn’t the only cheese right for crunchy, airy , cheesy crackers. Of course, of course, my adaptation is based on another genius Smitten Kitchen recipe!
- 6 ounces [1.5 cups grated] Jarlsberg cheese, or cheddar
- 4 tablespoons [2 ounces or 1/2 stick] butter
- 1/2 cup [62 grams] whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup [31 grams] all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon minced dried onion
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms. It will take about two minutes.
- If the dough has gotten warm, wrap and chill until at least room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured counter, or a counter lined with parchment paper, roll the dough out with a lightly floured rolling pin. You want to roll the crackers 1/8" thick. Basically, you want to roll these practically as thin as possible - once they seem thin enough, do a few more passes of the rolling pin.
- Using a cookie cutter of choice [or knife], cut the crackers. into desired shapes and transfer to a parchment-lined pan. If you have scraps, combine, reroll and cut until no scraps remain. [This dough behaves very well for rerolling!]
- Bake the crackers for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Let cool completely before transfering to a storage container to keep the crackers crisp - any leftover heat will steam & the condensation causes softer crackers.