~ Crunchy 'n Tangy Gorgonzola and Walnut Wafers ~
I learned something new yesterday. Blue cheese is what provides the tangy flavor in Cheetos and all those other beloved puffed-cheese-type snacks. I had no idea until I was ordering a container of cheddar cheese powder for my pantry (FYI: cheddar cheese powder is a great addition to cheese sauces, macaroni and cheese, and, it's fantastic sprinkled on popcorn). Just prior to "proceeding to checkout", Amazon suggested that I purchase some blue cheese powder too, because other customers frequently purchase cheddar and blue cheese powder together. Amazon is accommodating like that. This lead me to ask why the two would be purchased together, like a set of bookends -- it just seemed odd. A brief internet search revealed the answer: lots of recipes for homemade Cheetos. Yes, I bought the blue cheese powder.
A bit about blue cheese: "Blue cheese" in general is used to describe dozens of cheeses made from cow's, goat's or sheep's milk that have had a culture of mold (penicillium) added to them, which in turn grows blue, blue-gray or blue-green veins throughout the cracks and crevices. The end result is blue-veined creamy-crumbly cheese with a distinctively sharp smell and a tangy, salty taste. More often than not, it's an acquired taste that "grows on you".
Most blue cheeses are named for their place of origin: Danablu is from Denmark, Roquefort is from France, Gorgonzola from Italy, Stilton from England, and "our own" Maytag is made right here in the USA (Iowa). Blue cheese varies in taste and texture from region to region and manufacturer to manufacturer, so, to determine which one suits your palate, purchase a few small pieces of several kinds and host a personal red wine and blue cheese tasting party!
10 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled, or your favorite blue cheese, (Note: Weight is important in this recipe, not approximate cups, so if you have a kitchen scale, now is the time to use it.)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup evenly-diced walnuts, not coarsely chopped (pecans, pine nuts and pistachios work well too)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
~Steps 1 & 2. Place Gorgonzola crumbles and softened butter in work bowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade. Using a series of 10-15 rapid on-off pulses, roughly blend the mixture. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the work bowl, then, with motor running process until smooth, about 15 seconds.
Add the flour and nuts to the work bowl (as pictured above). Using a series of 10-15 rapid on-off pulses, roughly blend. Using the spatula, scrape down the sides of the work bowl, then, with motor running, process again, until smooth (except for small pieces of nuts), about 15 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes .
Note: At this point, do not chill dough any longer than 30 minutes or it will get too firm.
~ Step 3. While dough is chilling, line 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and using a 1" ice-cream scoop as a measure, place rounded scoopfuls, well-apart on prepared pans. Place pans in refrigerator for 5-6 minutes, to allow balls to firm up "somewhat".
~ Step 4. Remove pans from refrigerator. Using your fingertips, gently press down on each ball of dough, then pat and press it, until it forms a thin 2"-round disc. Return pans of dough to refrigerator to chill until discs are very firm, 1-2 hours (or overnight works well too).
~ Step 5. One at a time, remove pans from refrigerator and bake on center rack of 375 degree oven for 10-11 minutes, stopping after 9 minutes to rotate the pan back to front (to insure even browning on all sides). Wafers will be golden across their tops with pretty, deeper golden edges. Do not overbake!
Golden on the top with pretty deep golden edges...
(Overnight is best. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.)
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; food processor; rubber spatula; 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; 1" ice-cream scoop; metal spatula; cooling rack
Cook's Note: It's a well-documented fact that everybody loves cheddar, and, ~ Mel's Spicy Horseradish Cheddar Cheese Sticks ~ are a really popular cheese snack amongst the wine and cheese lovers I keep company with. You can find my recipe for these addictive treats by clicking on the Relate Article link below!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)