The first trip abroad that Ken and I took together was to Ireland. We started in Dublin and meandered across the country to Galway and eventually down to Dingle in hopes of hiking—in March. It wasn’t the best-laid plan to begin with and the weather didn’t cooperate; Dingle in March, as anyone who takes the time to read the guidebook would know, is cold, foggy, and drippy. So instead of trekking the battered cliffs, we ended up taking long lunches, eating potato and leek soup with slabs of brown bread, sipping pints of Guinness in cozy pubs, and reading books in the slightly tattered and faded manor house where we were staying. For dinner we’d stay in our room enjoying the misty views. The owner of the inn kept peacocks, and we sat captivated as they wandered around, their gem-colored tails fanning out like fireworks every now and again. Still full from our late lunch in town, we’d make gin and tonics in small water glasses, stirring our drinks with long, thin Irish pretzels we’d found in the local market, a new take on the swizzle stick. I mention the pretzels because we are both very fond of good salty snacks—not salty junk food, mind you, but good-quality breadsticks, crackers, or pretzels. Something crunchy to accompany a drink or get you through that pang of hunger between lunch and dinner. These cheesy crackers are not remotely like those makeshift swizzle sticks, but they’re certainly suitable accompaniments for a good gin and tonic.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or half-and-half, plus more as needed

Method

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, Parmesan, and butter and pulse until the dry ingredients and the butter are combined and look like coarse meal. Add the cream and let the machine run until the mixture comes together but isn’t sticky. You may have to add more liquid a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a ¼-inch-thick rectangle that will fit on your baking sheet. If the dough sticks, add a bit more flour. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and gently transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Use a pizza cutter to lightly score the dough into squares or rectangles and sprinkle with a bit more sea salt if desired.

Bake the crackers until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving (they will crisp up as they sit).

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