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Blue Cheese Pecan Crackers with Cocoa Nibs

Here is another recipe for a delightful cracker that is great to serve with an apéritif.  Originally, I served some thinly sliced smoked salmon with a little crème fraîche on these, but I have sense discovered an absolutely delicious alternative.  It’s smoked trout from Brook Park Fish Farm.  Todd, who owns Brook Park is at the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market.

The trout is out of this world.  It is so dense and flavorful, as well as being a feast for your eyes.  You’d think you were enjoying salmon.  It’s an organic product that he takes great pride in sharing with anyone who is lucky enough snag a package.

Seek him out if and when you are able to get over to the market and enjoy it with a batch of these crackers.  As far as I know, the Saint Paul Farmer’s Market is the only place where it is available.

¾ cup (2 ounces) pecan halves
¾ cup (4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
¼ cup cocoa powder, optional

Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.  Place pecans on baking sheet and bake until fragrant, approximately 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

Combine flour and butter in bowl of a food processor and using the metal “S” blade pulse until mixture resembles course meal.

Add the cooled pecans and pulse until roughly chopped.  Add the cheese and nibs and process until dough comes together and is well combined.

Transfer dough to a piece of parchment paper and shape the dough into a 2-inch-wide log.  Wrap log in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

When ready to bake-off the crackers, pre-heat oven to 325ºF.  Remove dough from refrigerator and unwrap.  Pour the cocoa powder on the parchment paper in a line the length of the dough and roll the dough so that the cocoa powder covers the log of dough completely.

Slice the well-chilled log into 1/8-inch thick slices.  Transfer slices to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake immediately, rotating sheet halfway through cooking, until crackers are golden brown and firm in the center, 25-35 minutes.  Transfer to a rack to cool and serve.

Photography by David Schmit