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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Manchego Crackers with Marcona Almonds- Tapas Night Part 1 of 3

Lately I have been craving all sorts of Spanish food, and to satiate these desires, I decided to have a Tapas Date Night for Mikey and myself!
This is just the first recipe of the three in total I will be posting in the coming days, but it just might be the best! I originally saw the recipe here, but it had no recipe attached so I had to search a bit.
These little crackers turned out awesome- super crunchy, tons of vibrant flavor, and a perfect vessel for dulce de membrillo, also known as quince paste! 
Membrillo is commonly served with Manchego cheese in Spain, and thus I knew it would be a match made in heaven! Each of the components (Manchego cheese, Marcona almonds, and quince) all fit flawlessly together is this super easy appetizer. The bite of the Manchego paired with the sweetness of the quince, and then the crunch of the Marcona almonds is a true delight for the taste buds! I also served a Spanish olive medley, extra Marcona almonds, and a Goat Patacabra (cheese) on the side.
I think these crunchy, little crackers would also be wonderful topped with some very lightly dressed arugula or something. The great thing about the recipe is that it's really versatile- it's a base that you can add any number of flavorings to, maybe a bit of honey or a tiny pinch of saffron- the possibilities are endless.

Spanish Olive Medley:
The gloriousness that is Marcona almonds:

Manchego Crackers with Marcona Almonds
recipe very slightly adapted from The New Spanish Table, but it can also be found online here
makes 30-40 crackers

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (about 1/4 lb) grated Manchego cheese (I used one that was aged for 12 months)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more for the egg wash
  • 2-5 tbsp water, as needed
  • 1 large egg
  • about 40 Marcona almonds
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and cheese until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add in the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until the dough just comes together. If the dough isn't coming together, drizzle in the water until it's workable.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, knead a few time to bring it together,  and form it into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (you can make them round or square- it's your call). Wrap the log in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 4 days.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  4. Slice the dough into 1/4 inch rounds and place them on the prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart.
  5. Mix the egg and a pinch of salt together and then brush the egg wash onto the tops of the crackers. Press an almond onto the top of each.
  6. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire baking rack to cool.
And I'll leave you with a little preview of the next recipe to be posted- those crazy looking things on the left side:


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