Tuesday, November 20, 2012

cheese wafers and fudge

For years between Thanksgiving and Christmas I used to make cheese wafers and two kinds of fudge(one with pecans since many older people are forbidden nuts) for customers at Needle Nicely.  In 2004 after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne and viewing the devastation and blue tarps, it was difficult to get in the holiday spirit.  I'm sure people in New Jersey and New York will understand that feeling.  And then in 2005 we had Hurricane Wilma with her roof lifting talent.  I definitely didn't feel like celebrating, though I should have since Needle Nicely turned out to be a survivor.  But I was physically and emotionally exhausted from the "week from Hell" when we saved the inventory and moved into a new location.  I'm not as resilient as I once was.

So imagine my surprise yesterday when just before lunch the phone rang and a woman asked if I could help with the cheese wafer recipe I had written on a business card years ago.  I don't know where she was calling from or even how she knew I would understand what she was asking.  "How long does the log have to be refrigerated?"  Until it's cold and sliceable.  Then I thought to tell her not to use the same cookie sheet immediately because the heat would melt the wafers.  They must be cold when entering the oven (they spread too much otherwise).  Also, slice as thin as you can.  Of course, too thin and they'll brown too much; too thick and they'll never brown.  And most importantly, if your cayenne is freshly opened, use less.  If it is older, add a smidge more.  My husband first tasted these when I was using a new container of cayenne.  He never tasted them again because he insisted that they blew the top off his head (he isn't a spicy person).

Several hours later, I received another phone call--"They're sticking to the cookie sheet.  What did you do?"
I replied that I always used parchment paper.  Anyway, here is the recipe which Louise Oberle of Charlotte and Blowing Rock gave me years ago.  That's the origin of the recipe as I know it.

10oz NY grated sharp cheddar (I actually dice the cheese by hand and a chef's knife) Cracker Barrel
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup flour (not sifted, just straight)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper ( you can increase this if your cayenne is old)
1/4 tsp salt (lots of people want to leave this out since cheese is salty--don't)

mix with hands and roll
wrap in waxed paper
slice as thin as possible
375 degree oven  9-10 minutes

It may be time for me to do this again!

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