These stilton and walnut crackers from Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa) can be made ahead and frozen, making for easy, elegant party food. Simply mix the savory shortbread dough with cheese, nuts, and black pepper and then freeze, slice, and bake.
We can think of nothing lovelier than these Stilton and walnut crackers from Ina Garten (aka the Barefoot Contessa) when it comes to a precursor to dinner or something to nosh on with fruit and cured meats as a lazy man’s winter supper. Well, okay, a little lovelier would be these crackers accompanied by a generous pour of a not-too-wimpy red wine or a modest dose of port.–Ina Garten
Stilton and Walnut Crackers
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 8 ounces (12 ounces or so with the rind) Stilton cheese crumbled, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- 1/4 cup walnuts finely chopped
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cheese together until smooth, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the flour, salt, and pepper and continue beating for about 1 minute, until the dough is in large crumbles. Add 1 tablespoon cold water and mix until the dough comes together. If necessary, add a little more water, a few drops at a time. Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and roll it into a 12-inch-long log.
- Spread the walnuts on a cutting board. Lightly brush the surface of the log with the egg wash, turning to coat all sides. Roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, to distribute them evenly all over the surface of the dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a small sharp knife to cut the log into 3/8-inch-thick slices and arrange the crackers on the parchment. Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned, rotating the sheet once during baking. Let the crackers cool on the baking sheet. Serve at room temperature.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
We wanted a couple of small plates to serve with cocktails and wine before Thanksgiving dinner. This Stilton “cookie” did the job perfectly. The combination of a strong Stilton and walnuts resulted in a salty, savory bite that stood up to the drinks. I would definitely make this again for a party. They were very easy to make and would be low-stress for hostesses. Great recipe!
I used a convection oven at 350°F and we added another 3 minutes of baking time to get an even golden brown color. If I were making these crackers again, I might try quickly rolling out the dough to the desired thickness and using a biscuit cutter to make uniform shapes. Also, I would work the walnuts into the dough rather than keep them separate on the outside of the dough log.
These Stilton and walnut crackers are the perfect little nibble before a big meal! We loved the tangy taste of the blue cheese and the walnuts crusting the outside, which makes for a prettier finished product and easier slicing. The crackers were buttery and delicious. This recipe will stay close by for the holidays and I’ll keep rolls frozen for drop-in guests!
Ina does it again, not surprisingly. These Stilton and walnut crackers are easy to put together, store well in the freezer, and look beautiful once baked. Everyone loves them and oohs and ahhs over how pretty they are. Make them, for sure!
I must confess that I’ve never been a follower of Ina Garten, as her whole gig seems a bit precious to me. That said, whenever I try one of her recipes, I find it to be both delicious and rather well crafted and well written. I’m happy to report that this simple yet delicious recipe lives up to that standard and delivers a very tasty treat with hardly any work at all.
These crackers are an excellent take on the classic flavor combination of Stilton and walnuts, and would be a welcome addition to any cocktail party or holiday spread. The Stilton certainly rules the roost here, with the walnuts playing second fiddle yet offering a lovely textural contrast to the shortbread-like feel of the cracker. The dough comes together beautifully and is a breeze to work with, rolling with ease to form a thick, foot-long log. Mine sat in the fridge for about 2 hours before I cut it into medallions for baking. At 3/8 inch thickness, it feels more like a cookie than a cracker to me. I’m curious to try it again with a thinner cut to see if it results in more of a crunchy wafer.
This is not a cracker for the faint of heart. If you aren’t a big fan of blue cheese, this cracker may be too much for you because it is a Stilton buzz-bomb of a thing. My only word of caution about this recipe: Mine turned out a touch on the salty side (and I am a salt lover) which may be attributable to the particular brand of cheese I used, but I will likely cut the salt by about 1/4 teaspoon the next time I make these. All in all, two big thumbs up for an easy, yet impressive (hey, how many people make their own crackers?) addition to your holiday offerings.
Originally published December 28, 2018
These delectable crackers are a HUGE hit every time I make them. They are wonderful with wine and cocktails, but also on the side of a green salad with tart apple slices. A couple of pointers I noted on my copy of the recipe are: 1) use only 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 2) space the crackers about an inch apart on the sheet pan as they spread a bit in the oven. You can certainly use milder blue cheese if Stilton is too strong for you and your guests, and I have used chopped pecans instead of walnuts for a sweeter tenderer crunch. I’ve also learned that the dough freezes very well, and that it doesn’t affect the baking time. Thoughtfully packaged, unbaked crackers have been appreciated as gifts to keep in the recipients’ freezers; any number of crackers are ready to be baked later for any last-minute gathering. Chill and slice the dough, put pieces of parchment between the slices to prevent sticking, and tightly wrap the logs (individually) in plastic wrap. Write “Frozen slices 1-inch apart on baking sheet. 22 min @ 350°F” on freezer tape and affix it to the logs.
Chiyo, thanks for your comment and wonderful suggestions. I have a hunch there might be a slew of cracker dough gifts this season, thanks to you!
This recipe is a winner. They are delicious. They are easy to make and, for me, a wonderful part is that I can make a double or triple batch and freeze the logs, then slice and bake. This means that when I am having friends for cocktails or or dinner, this is one fewer item I need to prepare that day. I have served them three times and each time, I have been asked for the recipe. The combination of walnuts, stilton, and salt makes the perfect prelude to dinner.
Perfect, Nadine. Just perfect!
Love everything about this, Nadine, so lovely to hear that these are working exactly as intended! Many thanks for taking the time to let us know and here’s wishing you and yours a happy, happy new year…!
Aren’t these yummy? I skipped the egg wash and rolled the dough right in the walnuts. With a firm push the majority of the nuts stayed in place.This certainly is a keeper! Pear cider anyone?
Pear cider, Penny? (Long slow whistle.)
Absolutely delicious. Thank you. I accidentally omitted the egg and they still worked out perfectly.
Alicia, you’re more than welcome. I’m delighted they turn out well–even eggless!