We’ve been home for more days than we want to think about. But we’re traveling vicariously, thanks to our cookbook collection — and Melissa Clark’s “Dinner in French: My Recipes by Way of France” (Clarkson Potter, $37.50) has transported us to Paris, Provence and places in between.
The New York Times food columnist is known for the delicious, easy-to-follow recipes she shares in the NYT food section, as well as the pages of her best-selling cookbooks. Here, she’s taken classic French fare and updated it for American kitchens with recipes that run the gamut from Roasted Tarragon Chicken to Butternut Squash with Lime and Hazelnuts, Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Tarragon Tart, and these chees cocktail crackers.
They may look like shortbread cookies, but they’re filled with the spicy, savory flavors of hot smoky paprika and Comté cheese. No Comté? Substitute Gruyere or extra-sharp Cheddar, Clark says. You can serve them at room temperature, but they’re even better hot from the oven.
Comté Cocktail Crackers
Makes about 4 dozen crackers
1½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1½ cups (6 ounces) finely grated Comté or Gruyère cheese, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika, plus more for sprinkling
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
Flaky sea salt, to taste
In a food processor, pulse to combine the flour, 1 cup of the Comté, the cornstarch, sugar, fine sea salt, and paprika. Add the butter and continue to process until the dough forms a ball. Or, combine everything in a large bowl and use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter and cheese into the flour mixture. Be thorough so the dough is mostly smooth (though a few small butter chunks are okay).
Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to ¼-inch thickness. Slide the whole thing onto a baking sheet and chill until firm, 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use a 1-inch round cookie cutter to cut the dough into disks, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets. Reroll the scraps between the parchment paper and cut out more disks.
Sprinkle the crackers with the remaining ½ cup Comté, flaky sea salt and paprika. Bake until golden, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Dough: You can freeze the dough, sealed in plastic wrap, for 3 months. Let it come to room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling it out.
Crackers: You can bake them 3 days in advance and store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Before serving, reheat the crackers in a 300-degree oven for 5 minutes.
— Reprinted from “Dinner in French.” Copyright © 2020 by Melissa Clark. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Laura Edwards. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
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