Friday, March 18, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie - Salted Butter Breakups

Confession time.  When I got Dorie's book...I read the whole thing...cover to cover.  I loved the stories, the anecdotes, the recipes, the pictures...everything about it.  One downside of having read the entire book is that some of the recipes are stuck in my head and some of the recipes are a little jumbled up in my head.  Salted Butter Breakups is a perfect example.  I love all the different cracker recipes in the book and have been wanting to make some (especially for a friend who loves crackers).

Well, it was this friend's birthday two weeks ago and I was having her and her family to dinner to celebrate.  I thought, hey...I'll make the salted butter breakups to serve with a nice cheese as our appetizer.  I'll kill two birds with one stone (the Dorie assignment and making a nice cracker for my cracker loving friend.)  I never looked at the recipe when I made this plan...just assuming this was one of the cracker recipes in Dorie's book.

The day of the dinner party rolled around and I was busy cooking all day.  I made Dorie's Devil's Food White-Out Cake from her Baking book (which turned out great and tasted great and not a single damn picture of it was taken...just look at page 246 of her book...mine looked just like that.  Well almost, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)  I also made thick cut brined pork chops and home made sauerkraut.  All was super yummy.  And we started the evening with the Salted Butter Breakups and a wedge of St. Andre's cheese.

Some of you are probably laughing right about now.  Who serves cookies for the appetizer course?  Well, I guess I do.  When I don't pay attention and bake what I think is a cracker, but really turns out to be a cookie.  Half way into the recipe...which only has about three ingredients...I realized that perhaps this wasn't a cracker I was making...it had an awful lot of sugar for a cracker.  I finally looked closely at where the recipe was situated in the book and saw that it's in the Desserts section.

Oh well!  At that point, I was committed.  I love the Carr's Wheat crackers with brie...they're kind of sweet and go great with the creamy brie.  I decided the Salted Butter Breakups would be fine with the St. Andre's.  And you know what?  They were.  Or, at least I thought so.  Everyone else ended up eating the Wheat Thins I put out (which were the only real crackers I had).  I proceeded to eat the rest of the breakups all week long.  I loved the sweet, buttery crunchiness.  As you can see from the photo below, I rolled this cracker cookie a little unevenly, with the edges being thinner than the middle.  So, the edges browned a lot.  They were really crunchy...and almost had a burnt flavor (definitely a deeply browned butter flavor).  But the center of the cracker cookie was fabulous.  Another bonus was I got to use the fabulous sel gris we brought back from France (we bought a five pound bag for about $2).



One thing about this recipe.  When I saw the picture in the book, I laughed when Dorie said to take a fork and make the cross hatches (like you would on a peanut butter cookie).  I thought hers looked way to uniform to have been made with that method, plus there was a lot of real estate to press your fork into.  I also thought I could get the same result if I pressed a cookie rack into the dough before baking.   Um, not so much.  That didn't work well and my dough was a bit on the wet side (definitely needed 3 tablespoons of water, not 4), so it stuck to the cookie rack.  It was kind of a mess.  Once I got it unstuck, I tried the fork method.  Not too successfully.  I'm really looking forward to how everyone else made these and if they have any tips on making the hash marks.


When I made the cracker cookie, I was only able to get a shot of the whole thing.  I thought that was kind of sad at the time and thought I might have to make the recipe again so that I could get some photos of the broken up pieces, since that's really the magic of this recipe.  Low and behold, I checked out the bowl on my counter and found a few small pieces still left in a Ziploc (two weeks after making them).  So, I took them outside and took a couple of photos (sorry about the shadows...I was too lazy to go back inside and get my homemade light filter.).  And then I ate the pieces.  And you know what?   They were still yummy and not stale at all.  Yippee!

33 comments:

Cher said...

Steph - you made me smile. Hey - we all have those moments; if we can recover, we might as well wear them with pride and chalk them up to "war stories".
Well done!

Ms. Hobby said...

That is such a great story! My family wasn't thrilled that I served these as dessert, maybe I should've tried them as a cracker!
What a great find with your sel gris from France!

lola said...

Enjoyed your story and I think I would enjoy this cracker/cookie with cheese! I'm jealous of your great deal on sel gris.

Anne Marie said...

Two bucks for a pound of sel gris! That's a deal. I believe that your cake looked just like the photo. Your story is good with me!

Sis. Boom. said...

Um, this cookie makes an excellent appetizer if you are throwing a brunch I would think! lol. Right? Great story.

michelle said...

Oh, ha, those Carr's wheat crackers are my favorite crackers too!

I bet these were great with brie. :) Oh, I'm thinking brie or goat cheese and maybe some fruit preserves with these cookie-crackers would be amazing! :)

Denise said...

I'm excited about reading through some of your blog posts - a summer in France and you had the courage to give up law and start a business you love..I hope to be on that path soon, although I should have taken the plunge when I was just 40 ;-) I do think the key to this recipe is using quality butter and salt. Actually, that's the key to any recipe with a few, simple ingredients.

Lizzy said...

What a fun post, Steph! Love how you just rolled with this...and wouldn't it have been great if the cooling rack trick worked?

Kathy said...

Steph, Loved your post! I thought it was some sort of cracker, too! I really loved the buttery taste of this cookie! Glad you enjoyed it!

Candy Girl said...

Savory ingredients are all the rage in desserts so why not sweets for appetizers! I scraped a fork diagonally across the cookie and then in the opposite direction to get the hash marks.

You cookie/cracker looks great!

Creating Amazing Meals said...

How funny, Steph! That sounds like something I would do! I love St. Andre, too! I was thinking of making this for our next wine tasting party.

yummychunklet said...

Your cookie still looks good! And, how funny that you tried to use the cookie rack for the hash marks. I would've tried that had I thought of it. Because Dorie didn't say how to make the marks, at first I started to make them by pressing my fork in and then lifting it up, over and over. Then I realized I could just lightly drag my fork across the surface which worked so much better. Great post!

lifeisfull said...

What a fun post! In the end people will just remember they had a good and fun evening and not whether a cookie was served as an appetizer! :)

Kris' Kitchen said...

Enjoyed reading your post. I was thinking while baking that this cookie would be a great appetizer. And, yes, the hash marks have to be quite deep to make it through the baking process...I used a knife and went almost all the way through the dough and they are still not super visible.

DessertByCandy said...

An amusing honest mistake. Now I'm curious to try mine with cheese!

Tia said...

your pix are clean, simple and sunny! nice job.
Buttercreambarbie

Elaine said...

What a cute post! I wasn't sure when I read the name of this recipe whether it was a cracker or a cookie. I wonder if you had sprayed the cooking rack with Pam or something if it would have prevented the rack from sticking to the dough - I think that is such a clever idea to try the rack.

spike. said...

oh well, glad you were able to roll with the sweet "cracker". Your whole menu sounds amazing- I bet it was a great dinner.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

As always a GREAT story! I want to come to your house and have that for hors d'oeuvres with cheese - actually I think it might work well with a sharp goat cheese, no?

Betsy said...

I love that you've read this book from cover to cover.
You never knows what works, so your cooling rack was a great idea, even though it didn't pan out. I used the back of a fork and just dragged it. I redragged through the edge tine for the next set of lines just to make it straight.
Cookies with brie for an appetizer makes me smile. I might try that.

Candy (Dulce) said...

When I first read one of your comments about brie, I thought... wow, what an inspired idea!!!

Unfortunately, I don't have any more of the break-ups available, but I think they would be amazingly good wth cheese. A bit of a departure, but why not? My current obsession is a cracker at Trader Joes with Rosemary, nuts and raisins - a little sweet-ish almost melba-toast like thing (that sounds WAY awful, now that I see the description - but WAY good).

I love your innovation on the scoring - I just resorted to a huge knife... practically as long as the "cookie" was wide.

Good for you on your improvisation!! BTW, love your blog!

tricia s. said...

I laughed along with you as I read your story. I know we all appreciate your honesty, and your love of all things Dorie and France. I have to tell you that if I was your lucky guest I would have been nothing but impressed with this cheese accompanyment. I thought there was a fig spread (can you tell I still have Beggar's Linguine on the brain ?) in one of your shots and when you said you served it with cheese. Yum. I may re-do this one after all....

Lana said...

You had me laughing the whole time! What a wonderful story:)
I loved the crispy brown edges and ate them all by myself:) I scored the cookie with the fork, dutifully - it has to be because of my mother who used a fork all the time to make pretty wiggles on the cakes:) But I love your idea - were the dough a bit sturdier, you would have done it in seconds, while I labored like a slave!
BTW, you make your own sauerkraut? I do, too! have just a bit left for my daughter who is coming over tomorrow for spring break:)

Gloria said...

Hilarious story! I just read your post to my sister (who helped me make my salted butter break ups) and we were laughing the whole way along. You are a great story teller. I would have totally eaten the cracker/cookie with cheese. :)

Amanda said...

Cute! I love how honest you are in this story! Can't wait to make these!

Adriana said...

I loved your story! I was also intimidated by the process of scoring the cookies with a fork, so I got out the cookie cutters and decided to have some fun with those. After the fact... chef's knife anyone? I know now for next time. Glad to hear the cookies held up for a while!

Cakelaw said...

I think these would have been great as an appetizer with blue cheese because of the saltiness. Bet no-one noticed! Great job.

Kudos Kitchen said...

I think that you served these along with cheese was a stroke of genius! Salty/sweet/savory it all works! Actually, you're making me want to try it too...I mean like right now!!! I love the way you think :)

Jen @ My Morning Chocolate said...

I had trouble making the cross hatch pattern too. My fork stuck to the dough, so I gave up. Next time, I'll try dipping the fork in flour and then making the marks. Also, I would happily eat this cookie as part of an appetizer course. It does have a good bit of salt in it, after all!

kitchenarian said...

When I first read the recipe, I wasn't sure whether it was a cookie or a cracker either! Great story! I loved this recipe and would it eat it as an appetizer or a dessert. Great job.

Jill Colonna said...

Love your post and love your site, too; just discovered it. Real estate on the criss crosses? Lol ! :-)

Allison said...

I have the same problem! After reading too much of the book in advance I confuse stories and where and why recipes came to be. Ahhh for the love of Dorie!

Maggie M. said...

I had cracker rather than cookie in mind, too. I also had problems with the criss-crosses...I'd had such a problem getting the rolled out dough onto the baking sheet (what a mess!) that I almost gave up and omitted that step! LOL But it turned out ok.