Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rosemary Pine Nut Crackers and Biscotti

America's Test Chicken consists of two separate chickens, each with her own take on this cooking thing. Check out Chicken One's related blog, A Travel for Taste where she shares travel stories and recipes collected whenever she ventures abroad. And give Chicken Two's new, also-related blog, Poop from the Coop a read. There you can find stories about her personal adventure re-experiencing the kitchen after many years away. Please join our Facebook group to share your own recipes, kitchen practices and know-how. We are also on Pinterest and Instagram.
The complete recipes appear at the end of this post.

From Chicken One:
Rosemary-Pine Nut Crackers

Chicken Two and I took a class at the Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium in Brandon, FL, just east of Tampa. I'd highly recommend them for kitchen supplies and classes. They are certainly well-equipped and the instructors know what they are doing.

The class was for making crackers and we got a lot out of it. By far my favorite cracker of the three we made was the rosemary-pine nut flavor.

These wonderful gems go great with a nice, soft cheese and a glass of chilled white wine. Plus they couldn't be easier: it's like making cookies. 

Mix up the ingredients just like cookie dough: cream the butter and sugar together, add the dry ingredients, and so on. Detailed instructions are in the recipe below.

Form the dough into two thick rectangles, wrap in plastic and let rest in the fridge for an hour or two.

Roll the dough out like cookie dough and use a cookie cutter to cut them out. In class we used a round, scalloped cutter, but at home I used my autumn-themed leaf-shaped cutters.
You can see all the luscious butter sizzling in the oven as they bake:
See? They look just like cookies.
These crackers melt in your mouth. The creamy richness of the pine nuts stand up to the boldness of the rosemary, something not a lot of ingredients would be able to do. 

Note: you owe it to yourself to use fresh rosemary. Chop it very finely for max flavor. Plus you don't want to get rosemary leaves in your teeth when you eat them.

I keep some of this dough in the freezer. It's easy enough to thaw it out and bake them up if you have a gift to bring someone or have unexpected guests.

Get yourself a round of French Camembert plus a crisp white wine and sit down with these crackers. Just don't expect there to be any left when you get up.

From Chicken Two:
Rosemary-Pine Nut Biscotti

I love the savory taste of rosemary and pine nut, so I set off to find a recipe that looked interesting. I found this one in, where I've found some great recipes in the past.
Mixing the ingredients to form a soft dough. Hint: baking is a lot like a science, so be sure to measure the ingredients precisely or you may not have the outcome you were hoping for.
I formed the loaf on wax paper to make it easier to transfer it to the baking sheet. You just roll it on!
It's easy to slice if you let it cool properly.
Not only beautiful, but tasty too!

Rosemary Pine Nut Crackers Recipe

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3.75 ounces (100 g) pine nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • water
  1. Mix flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Use an electric mixer to whip the butter until light and smooth.
  3. Add half the flour mixture to the butter and mix just until combined.
  4. Add the rosemary, pine nuts, egg, egg yolks and pepper. Mix until just combined.
  5. Add rest of flour mixture until just combined. Dough should not be dry. If it crumbles, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it is moist and doesn’t crumble when pinched.
  6. Divide dough in half. Flatten it into thick rectangles. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C).
  8. Unwrap one rectangle of dough on floured surface. Roll to ¼-inch (0.6 cm) thick.
  9. Cut out crackers with cookie cutter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool and store in airtight container.

Rosemary-Pine Nut Biscotti

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup semolina flour or fine cornmeal
2/3 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine all-purpose flour, semolina flour(or cornmeal), pine nuts, rosemary and baking powder in a large bowl, mixing until the rosemary is evenly distributed throughout.
3. Whisk eggs, sugar, oil and salt in a medium bowl just until combined and uniform (but not until the sugar dissolves).
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surgce and shape into a 12 by 2 1/2 inch log.
5. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Let cool on the baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes and reduce oven to 325 degrees.
7. Slice the log crosswise into 1/2 inch thick slices and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes then turn over and continue baking for 10 more minutes.
8. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.