Tracee Gunter of Mrs Ed's Reasearch & Recipes is hosting Go Ahead Honey this month. Her theme? Dips and Dippers. The staple of cocktail parties, festive get-togethers and movie nights the world over.
Of course, the dip may vary between something cool and creamy, hot and piquant or deeply savoury and the dipper can be as humble as a carrot stick or as fancy as some nigella flecked flatbread, soused in garlic butter.
I'm short of time as usual, so I'm going to share with you a simple cheese cracker that takes only 15 minutes from starting blocks, to biting into a crisp, cheesy, and delicately moreish cracker. If a Christmas entertaining emergency arises - this is your cracker paramedic, on the scene before you can break a sweat.
I wouldn't really use these for dipping as they are likely to crumble, but they're a great accompaniment to an espresso shot of soup, or made tiny as the base of a delicious canape - maybe a deconstructed melanzane parmigiana? You could smear some herbed Greek yogurt on for a crisp and creamy mouthful, or dollop on a little slow cooked tomato ragout for a little pizza mouthful.
I made a quick batch of these and was photographing them before supper when Finn's hand shot into view. It's virtually a blur - as the hand arrived, I screamed, 'NO!' and the hand withdrew instantly as though it had been burnt. Fellow bloggers and children of the same - you know what I'm talking about. Don't touch the food until after the shoot ok? Grrr...
It does however serve as a testament to the kerb appeal of these crackers - they are hard to resist. Most people who like cheese just love them - so give them a go!
Lacy Cheese Crackers (Gluten, Grain and Nut free)
Allow 2oz (50g) cheddar cheese per person.
Line a few trays with non stick baking parchment and set the oven to 180ºC.
Grate the cheese on a fine grater - but not a zester.
Make flattish piles of grated cheese on the baking sheets - about 2" (5cm) across, with 1" (2.5cm) gap between.
Pop in the oven for 10-12 minutes - until starting to turn golden around the edges and lacy, bubbling in the centre.
Cool on the tray for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack. Don't drain the oil that comes out - it's good for you! Full of vitamin A and D from the butterfat and a great catalyst for the calcium in the cheese.
If they're not completely crispy then pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes - but don't overcook or they will taste burnt. They won't keep long, so just make enough for one sitting.