Whenever my parents come for a visit from Canada, I insist that they engage in a little smuggling. The coveted item? Parmesan and Rosemary crackers made by Gone Crackers in Surrey, B.C., Canada. The "cracker lady" (her words) was raised in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada and she conceived the idea for these crackers a decade ago. Well, I couldn't be happier about the conception of her crackers. So happy, in fact, that the four or five boxes that my parents manage to shove into their suitcases - forget the socks and underwear - don't stick around for longer than two weeks. Lucky for me, they will be arriving in two days and this time they're driving a canoe down for us. How many boxes of crackers can fit into one standard-sized canoe? A boatload, I'd imagine.
In a food processor, combine 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour...
¾ cups grated Cheddar cheese and ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese...
1 tablespoon salt...
...and ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Give it a quick whir in the processor to mix.
Cut ¼ lb (½ cup) unsalted butter into ½-inch pieces and add to the flour mixture.
Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, lightly whisk one egg yolk and 2 tablespoons water. Add this to the food processor.
Add ½ cup pine nuts and mix briefly until the crumbs start to hold together.
Turn the crumbs out onto an unfloured surface.
Using the heel of your hand, smear the dough away from you until the crumbs start to come together in a dough.
Using a pastry scraper or metal spatula, fold one-third of the dough into the center. Fold in the opposite side, as though you are folding a letter. The dough is still going to be a little crumbly.
Turn the dough 45 degrees, give it another smear, and then form it into a 14-inch log.
Wrap well in plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours. If you prefer, freeze the dough for up to one month. The night before serving and baking, place in the fridge to defrost.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut the log into ¼-inch slices.
Place the dough circles on the baking sheets, spacing them about ½-inch apart.
Bake until the edges are medium to deep golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. About halfway through cooking, rotate the trays top to bottom and back to front. Immediately after removing the crackers from the oven, sprinkle with a small amount of kosher salt.
Set the crackers on a rack to cool. Serve or store the crackers in a airtight container. You can also freeze the baked crackers.
Savory Cheddar & Parmesan Crackers
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup grated Cheddar cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon salt
⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ lb (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoon water
½ cup pine nuts
Kosher salt for sprinkling