Saturday, May 11, 2013

Going Nuts for Tillamook Vintage Cheddar - Cheddar & Walnut Wafers

So, Tillamook Cheese Factory, in Tillamook Oregon, has released a new product.  Vintage White Sharp Cheddar.

Not to be confused with the Vintage White "Extra" Sharp or the Vintage White "Medium" that has been available for several years now.  The Vintage White Sharp is aged for 9 months, as opposed to the Extra Sharp, which is aged for 2 years or the Vintage White Medium that is aged for only 100 days (~3 months).

Why am I so excited about this new product?  Well, I know that annatto seed is perfectly harmless, but it has always bugged me that cheddar cheese is dyed orange on the left coast.

Vermont doesn't dye their cheddar, New York doesn't dye theirs either.  So WHY on earth do the cheese companies on the Left coast dye the cheddar orange?  It just reminds me of processed American cheese (yuck!).  We are capable of discerning between Cheddar, dry Mozzarella and Monterey Jack, even if they are all the same basic color in their natural state.  The excuse that I hear the most often is that milk color varies slightly (depending on cow breed and time of year) and the annatto dye ensures that the cheese will always be the same color.  Poppy cock!  I say.  That is a silly excuse.  There is a natural variation in cheese color with Brie, Gruyere, Pecorino Romano, Saint Andre, Gouda, Emmentaller, Gorgonzola and so on. I think it's time that the cheese manufacturers built a bridge and got over it.

Luckily, Tillamook Cheese factory has done just that and finally decided to leave out the annatto dye and call it "Vintage" White.  Maybe, someday, we left coasters will get SO use to our cheddar being white that, 50 years from now, the orange dyed stuff will be considered "Vintage" instead.  One can only hope.  What makes me the most happy though, is that it's the same price as their "regular" orange Sharp Cheddar.  I finally get my blessedly WHITE cheddar cheese without having to darken the door of a specialty cheese shop and spend a small fortune. 

Woo Hoo! Ain't it purty?

To celebrate the mouthwatering deliciousness that is Tillamook Vintage White Sharp Cheddar, I have decided to go nuts, walnuts that is, and bake up some delicious cheddary wafers of utter decadence.   They are similar to a savory shortbread, but with a delicate crispy crunch that is truly satisfying.

Cheddar and Walnut Wafers

186g (6.5oz) (1 1/2 cups) AP Flour
60g (2.1oz) (1/2 cup) Walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Grey Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
113g (4oz) (1/2 cup) Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
142g (5oz) (1 1/4 cups) Tillamook Vintage White Sharp Cheddar, shredded
1 large Egg Yolk
2 TB Heavy Cream

In the bowl of a food processor, combine Flour, Walnuts, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne and chunks of Butter.

Pulse until pea sized lumps still remain.

Add the shredded Sharp Cheddar and pulse again.

Until well combined and the mixture is like fine crumbs.

In a small bowl, whisk the Heavy Cream and Egg Yolk together.

Pour through the feeding tube of the food processor.....

Pulse until a soft dough begins to form.

Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten into a disc then wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while rolling the dough to 1/4 inch (~6mm) on a lightly floured surface.

Use a 1 1/2 well floured round cutter to cut out shapes.

Place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet (please note that no parchment is needed)

Prick the circles with a fork in a cross pattern (to prevent a large bubble forming in the center)

Bake for 14-16 minutes, turning at 7 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Move to a rack immediately and allow to cool completely. (If you can)

Consume with delight!  and Wine! (a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz/Syrah)


1 comment:

Patricia Taylor said...

These look beautiful and sound so good. I will have to look for the cheese mentioned here.