We made these just after Easter as a fun snack for the volunteers at Meet Me at Maynards. They’re nice because they’re simply a slice-and-bake cheese cracker, that, with a bit more effort, looks like an Easter egg chick. And, even better, these crackers are tasty.
The idea for making these came in stages: first, we made up the idea of making crackers that looked like slices of hard-boiled eggs, using cracker dough from yellow cheese for the yolk, and white cheese cracker dough for the egg white. A few days later, we had the idea of rolling the dough in sesame seeds for the egg shell. Finally, a day or so prior to making these, we came up with the idea of adding eyes and a beak. We will say that putting the eyes in place was the most difficult part.
Oh, the recipe for the cracker dough is a slightly modified version of Cacio e Pepe Crackers, which also has more detailed instructions for making the cracker dough.
Cheese seems to lose a lot of flavor when it’s baked, so pick out a strong-tasting cheese for both the yolk part and the whites. The food coloring is optional; we had some around, so we added a drop or two just to be sure the yellow yolks stood out.
Procedure in detail:
Make doughs. Make both the white cracker dough and the yellow cracker dough as follows. Make the white dough first. Why? because the white dough won’t show as much in the yellow as the other way around. When you’re finished with the white dough, divide it in two, wrap in plastic, and place in the refrigerator.
Combine ingredients. Place the grated cheese, flour, salt, and red pepper in the bowl of a food processor and give it a few pulses to mix. Our cheese wasn’t pre-grated, so we attached the grating blade to the processor, grated the cheese, then added the other ingredients to make it super-simple.
Add butter. Distribute the butter over the top of the flour-cheese mixture. If this is the yellow cracker dough, now’s the time to add a few drops of food coloring. Pulse until the butter is cut in and the mixture looks like a coarse meal.
Add water. While pulsing the food processor, add ice water, a bit at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball and rides on the blade.
Shape yellow dough. Divide the yellow cracker dough in two to make it easier to handle and roll each piece into a log about 3/4 and inch in diameter and about 8 inches long. Set aside.
Shape white dough. Divide the white dough in two and shape and roll into a rectangle about 8 inches by 6 inches. The long side should be the same length as the yellow logs. Using a rolling pin, press into the center of the rectangle to make a depression. This will be the portion of the egg where the whites are thinner.
Shape egg. Place the yellow log in the depression and fold the dough up and around the yellow dough. Use a bit of pressure to seal the dough and shape the log so it’s egg-shaped in cross-section. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Roll in sesame seeds. Sprinkle sesame seeds in a rimmed baking sheet (so they don’t get everywhere) and roll and press the the seeds into the surface. After they’re fully coated, wrap tightly in plastic.
Refrigerate. Place the dough in the refrigerator for a few hours, preferably overnight, to make it easier to slice.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or baking parchment.
Make beaks. Peal and slice a carrot into thin rounds. Depending on the diameter of the carrot, cut each round into four or six pieces that look like little triangles.
Slice and decorate. Slice the dough logs about 1/8 inch thick. Try to make all the crackers the same thickness so they’ll bake at the same rate. Place the slices on the prepared pans and place two black sesame seeds on the yolk for eyes, followed by a piece of carrot for a beak. It’s tricky to place the sesame seeds, but we had good luck pressing two seeds into our fingertips and transferring them to the crackers. After you’ve filled the baking sheet, press the carrots and sesame seeds lightly into the now-softened dough.
Bake. Bake the crackers for 20 to 23 minutes, rotating front to back and top to bottom halfway through. The crackers will be slightly firm to the touch and lightly browned near the edges. Bake them too long and they’ll be bitter, so watch closely near the end.
Cool. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheets for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
We think these little crackers are cute. Plus, they’re made with the best recipe we have for cheese crackers, so they’re quite tasty. But, we will say, they’re slightly fussy to deal with, especially placing the black sesame seeds. They seemed to have minds of their own when they were placed on the crackers, and, on some, the hulls split, necessitating the removal of stray bits of black hull. For taste, these are worthy of five stars, but, since they’re tricky to decorate, we’ll give them a four.