The other day I discovered that parmesan crisps (store bought at Whole Foods) are excellent as a cracker replacement for tuna salad. I had also seen some yummy pictures of cheese crackers made from the “ultra thin” slices of cheese. BOTH kinds are easy and delicious. Here’s the recipes and the tips!
Cheese in the Oven – Five Minutes – What could be Easier (or Cheesier?)
I got some parmesan cheese crisps from the store (Whole Foods) over Christmas and meant to use them on a cheese and sausage plate I was going to take to the family “do.” They were great for tuna salad. Crispy like a cracker, held their shape well under the weight of a topping. I definitely will buy those again, but how would they stack up against home-made — which is definitely cheaper? On this rainy Saturday, I tried to find out!
- Shredded parmesan — doesn’t have to be fancy — I use Walmart’s store brand!
- Rosemary (optional) dried (1 tsp more or less) or fresh rosemary, snipped into small pieces. Italian seasoning would be another good idea.
- Salt & pepper
First thing: Preheat the oven . Some people use a much cooler oven and bake for a longer time. My first go-round I went with the hotter oven: 425 degrees F. The second batch I used a cooler oven: 300 degrees F.
One of the secrets of baking is a good kitchen scale. I got this one on Amazon for 13 bucks and it’s rated highly by the America’s Test Kitchens folks. If I’m making cookies or crackers — I want each cookie or cracker to be the same WEIGHT. This way all the cookies and crackers will cook at the same RATE. This is pretty important since these crackers bake for SUCH a short period of time. We want them to same amount of crisp (not crisp AND burned).
I put a cup on the scale and measured out .35 ounces of parmesan. I then carefully dumped the parmesan on a SILICONE MAT on a baking sheet. You can use parchment paper if you don’t have a mat, but you can get two mats for only 9 bucks or so on Amazon– and they are so useful in keto baking! Very easy to clean and food doesn’t stick to it. Try making these crisps on foil and it just doesn’t work — the crackers will stick to the foil and it’ll be a mess. Parchment paper is “just okay” — as it tends to curl up. But it will work.
After gently tipping the cup out on the mat, I carefully rearrange the cheese so that it’s a round, flat mound, chasing down the stray slivers of cheese like I’m doing some weird game of Jenga. I can get around 10 mounds on a “half sheet” baking sheet (that’s the normal baking sheet size). It is important to keep them at least a half inch apart.
Next, I salt and pepper the cheese mounds.
Finally, I took some fresh rosemary and snipped it into tiny leaf particles, sprinkling them on each mound of cheese.
Into the oven for FIVE MINUTES if using the hotter oven (425 degrees F).
If you’re using the COOLER oven, then it’s more like 7 or 8 minutes at 300 degrees F.
Watch them like a hawk, set a timer because the minutes fly by quickly. When their edges begin to brown slightly, out they come!
Important tip: Get a cooling rack. A cooling rack is going needed to get the baked goods OFF the hot baking pan to a place they can cool quickly. The quicker they cool, they quicker dinner is ready. 😀 I use a spatula and a pot holder to gently slip the entire silicone mat off the baking pan and onto the cooling rack, mat and all. Or you can pick up the parchment paper with oven mitts and slip it on to a platter. Either way, get the mat or the paper off the hot pan and onto a cooler surface.
This makes about 16 crisps from a 1 1/2 cup pouch of shredded parmesan.
These crackers really need a good long cooling period. Twenty minutes minimum. They were still fairly “bendy” — not what I’d call crisp, like the store-bought ones. The taste, however, was on par if not better than the store-bought “gourmet” chips, at half the price.
First I made ten, then another six using the cooler oven. There really wasn’t much difference in their texture. Overall, these are pretty good–but the recipe definitely needs a bit more tweaking. The taste– wonderful. But I want a crisper texture. For that, I’ll probably need another element — possibly a nut flour — I’m not sure.
Colby Jack Thins
Sargent’s and other manufacturers sell “ultra thin” slices of cheese. You can take these cheese slices, slice them in quarters, and bake just like the Parmesan crackers. I used a hot oven for these and the crackers thinned out to become “lace-like” crackers. They were also pretty bendy, but got a little crisper as they cooled. These were very good and very simple. I put them in a 425 degree F oven for five minutes.
I am pretty sure that this is entirely too hot an oven for these crackers. Next time, I will use the cooler oven — 300F for seven minutes. However, I kind of liked the lacy quality — but the cracker isn’t as sturdy.
These crackers were tasty with guacamole or tuna fish.
I’ll update this tomorrow to see if they get crisper overnight. Do NOT expect these crackers to be ready for snacking anytime soon out of the oven. They take time to cool and harden!
Each chip is about 0.2 carbs and 1 gram of fat.
More soon. ~ Lola