I absolutely adore Ina Garten. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that here before, so I needed to throw it out there. I used to watch The Food Network religiously, but not much of the programming appeals to me anymore, with the exception of Ina. I DVR every episode of Barefoot Contessa and am still working on buying every cookbook she has put out. I just love the simple, classy vibe she has going on. I daydream about being her neighbor in the Hamptons, being invited to her fabulous dinner parties, lunches on the beach, and snipping fresh flowers in her gorgeous garden. Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t want to be Ina’s neighbor, I want to be Ina Garten. And these crackers are just so Ina. Simple, classic and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, perfect to serve with cocktails or on a cheese plate with grapes for an appetizer.
This recipe presented me with my first opportunity to use the fresh thyme that is thriving on my back deck. This is my first year growing fresh herbs and I am in love with it. Walking out into the fresh air to pinch off some fresh herbs as I need them makes me feel so… earthy. Close to my food. I seriously love it. My grandfather passed away when I was only five years old, but oh how I remember his garden. It took up the entire backyard and had most everything you could imagine. I tried to find a picture of me “helping” him shovel when I was 3 or 4 years old, but I was unable to find the picture. I hope one day I have the space to duplicate such an effort with the same passion he had for growing his food. Until then, though, I will settle for herbs and vegetables I can grow in pots.
These crackers are what I love about Ina Garten recipes – simple, quality ingredients, relatively easy prep, and an impressive taste and presentation. You can even make the roll ahead and freeze it for up to 6 months. Defrost it overnight in the refrigerator and then slice and bake when you’re ready to serve the crackers.
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper and combine. With the mixer still on low, add the flour and combine until the mixture is in large crumbles, about 1 minute. If the dough is too dry, add 1 teaspoon water.
2. Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 9-inch log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.
3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the log into 3/8-inch-thick rounds with a small, sharp knife and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 22 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking, until very lightly browned. Cool and serve at room temperature.