Cheddar, Feta and Caramelized Shallot Crackers

Cheddar, Feta and Caramelized Shallot Crackers-3

 

My birthday celebration in Napa Valley last week started with a minor problem before we even drove off our driveway.  My husband packed up our bikes hoping that we’d be able to get in a ride or two while in wine country.  It was our first time lowering the rear seat backs in our station wagon (to accommodate the bikes) and my husband had forgotten that the car is pre-programmed to move the front passenger seat forward in order to avoid damage from the rear seat.  There’s no fixing it by changing settings; we had to stop by the car dealership to have the programming changed, driving a half hour with my seat back positioned forward.  Can you say uncomfortable?

As it turned out, we never clocked any miles on our bikes.  It was wet and cold most of last weekend so we ditched the exercise in place of strolling the streets of Napa, Yountville and St. Helena.  One of the shops we spent a bit more time in was Olivier (St. Helena).  The shop is a must-visit for unique kitchen products and for countless varieties of olive oil, aged balsamic vinegar, chutneys, dips and crackers–have a free taste of some or all if you please.  Eventually, I found myself at the cracker table nibbling on one piece after another.  On our first visit I ended up picking up a bag of their Blue Cheese and Toasted Shallot biscuits–the little bite I had hinted at bold flavor and I thought they would go well with the bottle of wine the hotel gave us.

That evening I discovered that the biscuits were a bit too bold for my taste; I could only manage half a biscuit when normally I could have eaten half the bag.  My husband took a bite and promptly rejected them.  They weren’t bad…just a little overwhelming on the palate.  I really liked the flavor combination of the biscuits so I decided to create my own version.

This is what I ended up with, conveniently using what I already had in my refrigerator.  Sharp cheddar cheese, French feta cheese, herbs and the shallots (which anchor these crackers to the original), all ended up in my version.  Where Olivier’s biscuits had a cookie-like, rich, butter texture these crackers are more mellow and crisp.  The cheese component is subtle here and the caramelized shallots shine.  In fact, be mindful not to overcook the shallots as the exposed bits get toasted while baking so you don’t want them to taste burned.

Full of flavor on their own, these crackers need no accompaniment besides your favorite wine or cocktail.  If you’re still struggling to put together a menu for the holidays, these would be the perfect bite to serve when your family and friends arrive.  For an impromptu dinner with friends last night I scooped up part of the batch in a bag and tied a holiday ribbon around it and voila!  I had a nice hostess gift to present to our friends when we showed up at their door.

 

Cheddar, Feta and Caramelized Shallot Crackers-2

 

4.8 from 6 reviews

 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated finely
  • 2 ounces feta cheese (I prefer the French sheeps milk feta), crumbled with your hands
  • 1-2 shallots (depending on size), sliced thinly
  • Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chives, chopped
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • Couple turns freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
Instructions
  1. To prepare the shallots, heat up about a teaspoon of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Sauté the sliced shallots until caramelized and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Drain any residual oil and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Cream the butter for about 1 minute in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the cheeses, chives, salt, pepper and shallots and combine. Then add the flour, keeping the mixer on low and stop once the flour has been combined with the other ingredients and the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a ball. Roll into a 9-inch log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes (or up to 4 days).
  4. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Slice the log into roughly ⅜-inch rounds and lay them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan halfway through baking. Cool and serve at room temperature.
Notes
Base recipe is based on Ina Garten’s Parmesan & Thyme Crackers in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics book.

 

Cheddar, Feta and Caramelized Shallot Crackers

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Comments

  1. I absolutely love Olivier (and could easily find a little too much to take home with me! :)). These crackers look wonderful, the flavors are some of my favorites!

  2. Oh these crackers! I absolutely LOVE a great homemade cracker and yours is just that – GREAT! I can only imagine with a nice glass of chilled white wine. Lovely photos!!!!

  3. My dearest Jean… you are simp.y amazing!! I showed your photos and shared your recipe and trip with my husband and he was somewhat speechless, which does not occur very often. I’m loving the feta in these crackers, and I have a feeling that I would definitely eat a decent part of your batch.
    My father in law is a big blue cheese fan, and also as a former resident of Marin his favorite is from Point Reyes. I found the cheese here at a local shop and he will be thrilled with his Christmas present of 3 blue cheese wedges! These crackers would be a nice addition to his basket.
    Happy holidays to you both and Pilot as well!!

  4. Ooooh…I’ve been waiting for these cheese crackers since I saw a sneak peek on Facebook! I recently saw a recipe for cheese sables in a French cookbook, and have been pining to make something similar! I thing I can eat a whole dozen of these for snacks! Ha!

  5. Gurrrrl, you put feta in crackers?! Heck yeah!! That’s my kinda crack-er! ;-D

  6. Beautiful crackers Jean! I like the simplicity of your recipe and all the flavors sound wonderful with a glass of wine-nice way to create a memory of your Napa Valley trip;-) Have a very Merry Christmas;-)

  7. This recipe sounds like the perfect alternative to the canned nuts I was planning on serving. I love the idea of feta baked into buttery cracker! I can empathize with having to ride in the car with your seat pushed forward (I had ride that way back and forth to college a few times, thanks to a rather tall friend). :D

  8. I wish I had this on our car ride to Tahoe last week! Good for you, to recreate your own version of the crackers! I’m glad the iffy start to your getaway ended much better!

  9. Sorry about how your birthday weekend started out, but sounds like a lovely trip. I lived in St. Helena for awhile, just lovely! As are these crackers…such great flavors!

  10. The combination of flavors definitely sounds milder than the one of Olivier. I think I would pick up yours too over the other one. Glad your birthday weekend turned out well. And hey, did you get to take some pics with your new camera? :-) Merry Christmas Jean!

  11. Oooh, these crackers sound so gourmet! Fabulous! Love the flavors! Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  12. These sound amazing, what a lovely combination of flavors, I think I’d like your version better too. Maybe you should start your own cracker company!

  13. I hope you enjoyed the celebration and your back recovers. Did you at least bike? Merry Christmas my friend. XOGREG

  14. They look like a brilliant idea with a glass of wine.
    I have never heard of a car being programmed like that – most inconvenient! Shame you couldn’t use the bikes after all that.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  15. This recipe sounds so good! Unfortunately I cant eat shallots/onions, do you have any recommendations for a substitute?

  16. Happy belated birthday Jean! Sounds like a fun trip despite the uncomfortable ride to the dealer :) Your crackers look delicious and would be a yummy snack anytime. Beautiful photos that always make me want to try to recreate what you made.

  17. I love slice and bake savory cookies like these. Especially around the holidays I go to lengths of baking these indulgent treats. I would love someone baking it for me more often thought!:) Happy New Year, jean!

  18. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    I hope you had a nice birthday trip. I bet it was magical and these crackers sound and look incredible, Jean. send you hugs.

  19. I need to make crackers again, it has been a really long time. The caramelized shallots sound wonderful in here.

  20. These sound so delicious! The addition of caramelized shallots is genius. Can’t wait to try these!

  21. Looks yummy! keep up the good work. brings a lot of inspiration for my own projects =)

  22. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’ve enjoyed looking at some of your posts — so many great stories and recipes. I’m especially excited to try out these crackers! I must be on a cracker kick…

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