braised chicken with forty cloves of garlic roasted broccoli and farro salad with feta sparkling champagne margaritas cranberry hazelnut seed crisps


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how you look at it

Recipe: parmesan bacon crackers

There was frost on the ground when I was waiting for the sun to rise. I wasn’t alone. A few other nutjobs were scattered about, standing in the dark and cold, all pointed toward the mountains. We were waiting for magic. Jeremy was in the car either reading a scientific paper or getting some shut eye. Shivering in the blue glow of twilight, I moved my feet in a silly little dance to keep warm. But, I do like sunrise shoots better than sunset shoots. Mornings tend to be quiet, thoughtful. By sunset, I’m usually tired, hungry, hot, dusty, and smelly. Sunset requires a little more discipline to remain inspired.


i love mornings



On this last shoot, Jeremy accompanied me for the 1000-mile drive around southwestern Colorado. This is my fifth year shooting the fall colors in Colorado and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. I know the location of remote favorite stands of aspen better than how to get to most of my friends’ houses in town. The aspens feel like old friends. There is something to be said for the tranquility you find among mature aspens – majestic white trunks, shimmering yellow and red canopy, gold leaves gently floating down around you. Autumn delights and soothes. And winter is just around the corner.

token “we were here” photo

my subaru ad

the moon high overhead



Normally, I don’t think about winter during the fall shoot unless there is an early season snowstorm. There hasn’t been a real snow storm yet. In fact, it’s been outrageously hot. However, we swung by Telluride to scope out the colors and some of the trails. As we stared down from the top of a grassy green field dotted with late season thistles and salsify, I looked up at the sign: a black diamond run. I got antsy for ski season. Despite the sun beating down on me, I envisioned the gorgeous mogul field which must grace that slope in winter. I turned to say as much to Jeremy whose glazed over look indicated he was dreaming of tele turns in hip-deep powder. Oh Telluride…

On our way back, we spied the Telluride airstrip. Jason wasn’t kidding when he told me it’s a cliff.


it’s a cliff



As far as my schedule goes, the fall shoot is done. Stick a fork in it! I have my sights set further west for the next couple of months and then hopefully by then it will be cold enough to start cooking again – I mean really cooking. But if you want a quick baking project that doesn’t turn the entire house into a furnace, might I suggest trying homemade crackers? They are so unbelievably quick and easy, and of course they taste better than any store-bought cracker. How is it that we don’t all make our own? There ought to be a revolution.

all you need to know is that there is bacon

…well okay – and butter and cheese



The greatest hurdle to finally making my own crackers was deciding on a flavor. I knew I wanted it to be savory, so that helped to narrow down my choices a little bit. Ultimately the winner was a baconized version of a New York Times Parmesan cream cracker. Well, I made both versions – one with and one without the bacon in the off chance the bacon cracker didn’t turn out to my liking. Off chance, ha!

add cream, because butter alone doesn’t make it decadent enough

this pinch test is quite handy



Even without a food processor, it only takes a few minutes to cut the butter up into the dry ingredients and wet it down with some cream. As for rolling the dough, I have become a big fan of rolling dough out between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap. Not only is it less messy, but it makes transferring the rolled out dough a snap.

lovely crumbled bacon

ball up the dough

rolling out the parmesan dough



Once the dough is rolled out, the fun part is scoring it. So that’s what those fancy pastry cutter wheels are for! Isn’t it established fact that foods cut into cute little shapes actually taste better? I don’t own one of those dealie jobs, but a sharp knife works beautifully if you like straight lines.

i like straight lines just fine

sprinkle a little parmesan on top for good measure



You will want to watch the baking time because the edges brown quickly. Be careful with these crackers because if you don’t pay attention, you just might polish them off in one sitting. I didn’t even think to eat them with anything, just straight up. Fabulous.

variety is the spice of life



Parmesan Bacon Crackers
[print recipe]
adapted from The New York Times

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
4 slices bacon, cooked and finely crumbled
4 tbsps unsalted butter
1/4 cup cream (plus a little more in case the dough isn’t moist enough)
coarse salt (I sprinkled with Parmesan cheese)

Oven: 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place flour, salt, cheese, bacon, and butter in food processor. Pulse until everything is just combined. Pour the cream into the food processor and pulse to combine. Add more cream a teaspoon at a time until the dough holds together but isn’t wet and sticky. Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper (or wax paper or plastic wrap) until it is 1/2-inch thick or thinner if you prefer. Peel one sheet of paper or wrap from one side and place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Peel the remaining sheet of paper or wrap. Score the dough with something sharp (knife, pizza cutter, etc.). Sprinkle with salt or whatever tickles your fancy. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Serves 4-8.

41 nibbles at “how you look at it”

  1. Melissa says:

    I love the photo of the moon. That’s spectacular.

    Hope you have more of a ski season than you did last year!

  2. Chaitali says:

    Bacon + Cheese + Butter = True love

    I love crackers, but I hate making them at home because they invariably lose their crispiness within a couple of days (even though I store them in an air tight container).

    Any tips on how to make them last longer?

  3. rebecca says:

    Oh yum. These look seriously delicious.

    I drove around that area of Colorado (Telluride area) in the spring, and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Thanks for sharing these pictures.

  4. Trolleira says:

    Great, have to try!
    Chaitali, store them in a tin, not in an air tight container, lined with parchment paper.

  5. Joy says:

    That looks so good.

  6. Amy Lightholder says:

    Chaitali, I collect the dessicant packages that come with vitamins, seaweed snacks, etc. and I put them in the container with my crackers and that helps a lot. You can also put your baked stuff in fridge (which slows the staling process down a little) or briefly toast it (which freshens the taste) before eating.

    But basically, fresh, homemade baked goods are just that. They taste much better than store-bought but they don’t last, and that’s what makes them special. It’s like the difference between the soft, fragrant tomatoes grown in ones backyard and the hard, flavorless ones from the big-chain supermarket. Same item, but a different quality, and used in different contexts.

  7. Jason says:

    You had me at bacon. Pig: The only animal you can feed apples and get bacon.

  8. Gali says:

    I love those kinds of airtrips! I’ll blame my sister for that, she loves airplanes and flying (she has yet to extend her license to mountain landing so she can’t land on that airstrip) and that means that whenever we go skiing, she’ll talk about mountain airstrips for ages!

  9. Kath says:

    Wow! Those crackers look amazing! I think I had saved the New York Times recipe, but I had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder, and for the great idea of adding bacon!

  10. Sindy says:

    What do you think about freezing these after the rolling and cutting stage? I would like to make them for my daughters wedding and that is the only way I can imagine that I would be able to make enough just a day or two before the wedding.

  11. heather says:

    Mornings are nice, and so is that white cream container — where did you get it?

    *Heather*

  12. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    These look so good!I love your photos and am happy I found your blog.

  13. marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    I wish I had some of these yummy bacon crackers to snack on while I read this post. I was so excited to read the tweets that you guys had stopped in Telluride. My soul is there. Love the place. Want to join the local Elk’s club there just so I can be buried in cemetery. I know that sounds weird – but that place connects me to myself and this Earth. (yes, being a resident & Elk’s club member gets one a spot in the Lone Tree Cemetery.)
    We have a time share in T-Ride that I cling to with every last freakin’ penny. Hubs keeps saying we might need to sell it. Hope not.

    Your photos and experiences are a joy to read as always.

    xxoo

  14. Abby says:

    This is definitely the best thing I’ve seen all day. It’s like a hyped-up Southern cheese straw!

  15. Jess says:

    Cool! I recently had friends over for wine and cheese and I felt like making crackers. I ended up with a recipe for cheddar cheese crackers that followed almost the exact same format as yours (http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/06/cheese-straws/ your substitute cheddar cheese for parm (although a mix of the two would probably taste really good) Other good additions in lieu bacon are dried mustard, red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. Maybe really finely minced jalapeno too? (I guess I really like cheese plus spicyness)

    Anyway other fun things you can do with the dough is cut them into strips to make cheese sticks or cut them with a cookie cutter to make pretty shapes.

  16. Debbie says:

    Beautiful pictures. I just love the one with the moon. So nice. I’m a moon person (sounds nutty), but I could just gaze at the stars and moon all night long. Never made homemade crackers before but I am sure they are delicious!

  17. Diana says:

    wow wow wow… beautiful pics jen! the moon and token pic.. are just awesome!

  18. Sharlene says:

    Mmm these sound scrumptious! I love the Subaru add too. Too cute!

  19. My Kitchen in the Rockies says:

    Great fall pictures. Love Telluride!

  20. Marisa says:

    The bacon ones look spectacular! I’d need to keep them buried riiiiiiigght at the back of my pantry otherwise I’d polish them all in a matter of mere minutes.

  21. Sally - My Custard Pie says:

    I shivered when I looked at the photos of the trees, my heart literally ached to be able to walk in a forest. I live in a desert! Ah well have to make the best of a beach at the end of the street, blue skies and warmth….I keep reminding myself! Better make some crackers for restorative calm – these look great. Really enjoyed this post.

  22. Diane says:

    Fabulous photos! Your token photo is most endearing. I so enjoy your blog!

  23. Rosa says:

    Fabulous crackers! You live in an awesome place.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  24. Wei-Wei says:

    Definitely, DEFINITELY making these! I’ve made crackers before (sesame) but these look way more awesome. Thanks :D

  25. Jill says:

    Is that airstrip for REAL? Yikes. Crackers make my mouth water…….

  26. Kay Guest says:

    Love all the photos in Colorado and also the ones of your cracker makings. Could you tell me where you got your little milk/cream jug? Oh, I love the look of it and it would take up less space than others I have seen. Thanks for this recipe. It sounds really good. Kay

  27. Patricia Scarpin says:

    The word “bacon” gets me salivating already, like one of Pavlov’s dogs. :D
    These crackers are a wonderful idea, Jen! Yum!

  28. farmerpam says:

    Love the Telluride pics. Used to live there in my younger days, thanks for sharing. :)

  29. betalutti says:

    Your blog is fantastic, congrats! Would you publish 5 pics for the 5 years you went to
    Colorado during the fall? It would be great to take a peek of your work. Best Regards

  30. Dana says:

    It looks like you got some great autumnal pictures! I think the driving was probably worth it.

    And the crackers look great; off chance for not liking bacon? ha ha ha

  31. Annie says:

    I love your fall photos, and these crackers look wonderful. (And – gasp! – I’m not even a serious bacon lover.)

  32. Bug says:

    Ok, so I made these. I decided to take some liberties with it, because I am REALLY low on cash so I have to work with things I already have. I couldn’t get bacon or parmesan, but I had a wheel of aged white cheddar, so I used that instead.

    The crackers taste DELICIOUS! I love the taste and the texture. One thing to mention is they are more like Pie crust crackers. And well, the recipe is basically pie crust, so it makes sense. Therefore, no matter how thin you roll them or how long you bake them, they aren’t the kind of cracker that work out well for thick dips or scooping. Keep that in mind when making them for a party.

    Also, when made with cheddar they taste like goldfish but so much better. :-P So, for those that want a gourmet goldfish- use aged white cheddar!

  33. Lucie says:

    Beautiful Fall shots! Your crackers look deliciously flaky–this is definitely a snack I couldn’t resist!

  34. Hettar7 says:

    You’re not fooling anyone, you know. I’m totally sure these really only serve 2 peopkle, one if that person is selfish. They sound that delicious.

  35. Ananda Rajashekar says:

    Spellbound, what a gorgeous pictures! and delicious crackers!

  36. The Pioneer Cookerella says:

    Crackers? Why have I never thought of making my own crackers?? Those look amazing, and adding bacon to just about anything is a great idea. Thank you for the post!

  37. Kath says:

    Drooling over here!!!

    :-)

  38. jenyu says:

    Melissa – thanks! I hope we do too!! :)

    Chaitali – well, I imagine layering them between parchment and storing in a sealed container helps. Ours lasted a good while, but our humidity is ridiculously low here. They won’t last as long as store-bought crackers – no preservatives.

    Amy – nice tip, thanks!

    Jason – #facepalm

    Sindy – well, I think it would work, but if it’s for a wedding, I’d try to freeze a small batch ahead of time and then bake to see how they compare. Good luck!

    Heather – I’m pretty sure I got it at Crate and Barrel for a few bucks :) Cute, isn’t it?

    Marla – you’ll have to let me know when you’re in T-ride next. That’s a sweet place, snow or no :)

    Kay – Crate and Barrel :) Just a few bucks, but I thought it was so cute :) It’s quite tiny though.

    Betalutti – if I had the time, sure – but I don’t :( Maybe when my gallery is overhauled at the end of the year?

    Bug – yay! I’m glad the recipe is so versatile.

    Hettar7 – well, to be honest, these days I can barely eat what I make b/c I’m so busy and it’s just too rich. I taste it to make sure it isn’t terrible, then I give it away (or make Jeremy eat it) :)

  39. Guest Post: Branny Boils Over’s Cheese Crackers says:

    [...] aren’t the healthiest addition to a holiday party but they are sure are tasty. The original recipe  called for bacon to be added to the mix, but I omitted that ingredient. The cheese [...]

  40. nadine says:

    looks delicious!!!

  41. BSB81 says:

    I have made this many times – always with the addition of fresh chopped rosemary – it comes out amazing – the bowl is always empty and I usually make double the recipe!

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