Friday, November 26, 2010

The Makings of a Thanksgiving Appetizer

I hope everyone had a very enjoyable Thanksgiving.  My contribution to this years Thanksgiving meal with friends turned out to be rolls and appetizer.  As I thought about what type of appetizer to make, I thought it shouldn't be too filling.  One of the things I've been having fun with in the past year or so is making homemade crackers.   They are so easy!  And.... they give me a reason to use those silly specialty cookie cutters I bought in a moment of weakness.

So first, I went to the old standby book King Arthur Flour's Whole Grain Baking and chose the tried and true Wheat Thin recipe on p. 164.  This is a book everyone should have if you like to use whole grains.  It covers everything from crackers to flatbreads, yeast breads, cookies, cakes, and more!  As you can see, I used small leaf and acorn cookie cutters.

Wheat Thins

1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

To make the dough: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl.  Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer or a food processor.  Combine the water and vanilla, and add to the flour mixture mixing until smooth. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly grease the baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

To Roll and Cut the Dough: Divide the dough into 4 pieces; keep the other pieces covered while you work with one at a time.  Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle, which should be at least 12 inches square when trimmed.  Keep your pin and the surface of your dough evenly floured.  Flip the dough frequently to keep it from sticking, but too much flour will make it difficult to roll.  Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing, at least 1/16 inch thick.  Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the piece into squares approximately 1 1/2 inches wide.  Transfer the squares to a prepared baking sheet; you can crowd them together, as they don't expand while baking.  Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt, if desired.  Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.  Save the scraps under plastic wrap and reroll them all at once just one time.

To Bake the Crackers: Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven.  These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely -- even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast!  Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a plate; they cool quickly.  These crackers will stay crisp for several days, but are best stored in airtight containers.

I find a sure winner for a light appetizer addition to be a spiced nut.  I made the following Spiced Party Pecans.  I obtained this recipe from the Cooking Light Community - Great Food Discussion Thread, but it was listed as being from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

Spiced Party Nuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups shelled whole almonds or pecan halves
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Mix cumin through cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over low heat.  Add the spice mixture and stir well.  simmer to mellow the flavors 3-4 minutes.
  4. Mix the nuts with the spices and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and using a spatula, toss the nuts with any spices and oil on the bottom of the sheet.  Sprinkle with salt as desired and allow to cool.  Store in airtight jars.
The full appetizer included a Smoked Salmon Dip that was enjoyable with the wheat thins, but since I never follow a recipe for my Smoked Salmon Dip, I didn't take a separate picture!  :)

Joe and I are very thankful for wonderful friends, with whom, we can share meals, laughter, stories, and wine.

No comments:

Post a Comment