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.
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 November 23, 2011