Cookbook Favorites: Ken Haedrich’s Blue Cheese and Walnut Silver Dollars




From the cookbook, Soup Makes the Meal:  150 Soul-Satisfying Recipes for Soups, Salads, and Breads by Ken Haedrich (2001).

One of my favorite cookbook authors and recipe creators, he has a knack for creating truly delicious recipes.  Many of them are meatless, but don’t let that scare you.  They are all delicious.  All recipes are created and tested in his family’s kitchen.

Here is one I’ve been wanting to try for a long time.  It is great served with a potato or vegetable-based soup, or as an appetizer cracker with a bit of jam.

It is also a great way to use up those last little bits of blue cheese that are lounging in your cheese drawer and transform them into something delicious!

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled

  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 or 5 pieces

  • scant* 1/2 cup milk

1.  Put the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper in a food processor and pulse to mix.  Add the walnuts, blue cheese, and butter, and pulse again, several times, until everything is broken into small pieces.

2.  Remove the lid and add the milk to the food processor.  Pulse-in short bursts-until the dough pulls together in large clumps.  Don’t let it make one big ball.

3.  Turn the dough out onto the counter** and knead once or twice.  On a piece of plastic wrap, shape the dough into a log about 7 1/2 inches long and about  1 1/4 inches in diameter.  Wrap a snugly in the plastic and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

4.  When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Very lightly grease a large baking sheet.

5.  Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and slice into rounds 1/4 to 13 inch thick.  Lay them on a prepared baking sheet***, leaving a little space between;  they won’t really spread.  Bake for 15 minutes; they’ll rise and get good and crusty and dark brown on the bottom.  Either serve at once or transfer to a wire rack to cool.

My thoughts on this recipe:

*What does it mean when he calls for scant cup of milk?  Don’t fill it to the rim, but to just below the rim.  6 1/2 or 7 tablespoons may be just right, and 8 tablespoons too many.  It’s a lot easy to measure a scant 1/2 cup than to measure 7 tablespoons.

**When turning the dough out onto the counter, go ahead and line the counter with whatever plastic wrap you are going to use to form the log.  This way you don’t lose any of the dough when transferring the dough from the counter to the wrap.

***How to prepare the baking sheet?  Butter cookies, especially those with cheese in them which may stick, are just the sort of baked items for which it’s best to pull out the Silpat or some parchment paper.

Now that I’ve made them, we thought an 1/8 to a 1/4 teaspoon cayenne would be great.  I also saw other recipes where the walnuts where not added to the dough (where they got pulverized in the food processor), but instead coarsely chopped and added to the outside roll of the log of dough, maintaining their appearance and flavor.

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