Recipe: Parmesan Crackers
In my "Five Ingredients or Less" recipe definition, the oil to prepare a pan doesn't count. Neither do herbs or spices--things as simple as salt and pepper. The Five Ingredients must be foodstuffs, so this recipe only has one ingredient: Parmesan cheese.
Make these crackers when you have invited a friend over for a glass of wine and you want to have a little snack on the side. Make them for any cocktail party. Make them as a side cracker to go with a bowl of soup, even for an elegant party. Combine them with my Hearty Italian Tomato-Mushroom soup for a simple lunch with a salad.
Speaking of salads, they make a great crouton substitute on a Caesar salad or they round out most other salads nicely. You can make them double the size and they sit beautifully UNDER the salad or balance on top like a hat.
It's a beautiful addition to any meal. They melt in your mouth. They are best eaten the day they are made. They taste their most exquisite when they are slightly warm (you can even warm up ones that you made earlier in the day), and they keep pretty well for a day or two.
So, here's the simplest recipe I know that goes in an oven.
Shredded Parmesan cheese (Not grated cheese. You can grate your own or you can use the mass-produced kind that comes in a bag. Both make a fine cracker.)
Olive oil to spray the pan
Pepper or cayenne to season crackers (optional)
Heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Take out a cookie sheet and spray it with olive oil spray. Spray lightly so crackers are not greasy.
Scoop a heaping tablespoon full of the shredded cheese from the bag and place it on the cookie sheet. Place the next mound near it but leave about an inch or more all around so when the crackers spread a bit during baking, they won't run into each other.
Bake approximately 10 to 12 minutes or until the crackers are golden yellow and even a slight tinge of light brown on the top or edge.
Remove from oven and let cool for just a minute on the counter. The only tricky part is getting them off the cookie sheet. You want to let them "set up," but you don't want to leave them until they are completely cool and and they become difficult to remove from the sheet and you might break them in the process (pieces still taste good though). Use a thin spatula to slide under the crackers and remove them to a surface to keep cooling.
You can sprinkle on the pepper or cayenne before you bake to make zippier crackers. I'd make them plain the first batch so you can taste test before deciding if you want to add seasoning. Most times I make them plain because the flavor of the baked Parmesan is so intense it really doesn't need any more embellishment.
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