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Recipe  •  4 July 2024

 

Cheddar Taralli

Taralli are one of the most popular crackers across Italy.

It’s a common sight to see a bowl of them during aperitivo, enjoyed with a spritz or Negroni, as a salty complement to your drink while you rev up your appetite for dinner. When I was thinking of similarly salty and snackable foods in the U.S., I became obsessed with the idea of introducing a taralli inspired by Cheez-Its, loaded with sharp cheddar. I’ll admit, I let out a little squeal as I typed the idea up and I hope you get as much giddy excitement as I did. Because, at the end of the day, aren’t we all just waiting for our next great snack?

Makes: about 60 taralli

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g (3½ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 350g (12 oz) sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 8g (2 tsp) fine sea salt, plus more for salting the cooking water
  • 3g (1 tsp) paprika
  • 100g (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150g (⅔ cup) dry italian white wine, like sangiovese or Pinot Grigio, plus more as needed
  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish


METHOD

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, cheddar, salt and paprika. Mix on low until combined.

  2. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, return the mixer to low speed. Very slowly pour a small amount of hot oil into the flour mixture. It might sizzle a little as it is absorbed. Continue pouring a little at time until the oil is incorporated.

  3. Stream in the wine, letting it fully mix into the dough, about 2 minutes. Stop to check the dough. If it’s a little dry, mix in more wine, about 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is hydrated and firm. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and pliable, about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and set racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.

  5. Unwrap the dough. Break off small walnut-sized pieces (about 15 grams each). On an unfloured surface, roll each piece into a rope about 4 inches (10 cm) long and 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick. Loop each rope into a ring shape and pinch the ends together. Repeat until all the dough has been rolled and formed into rings.

  6. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Give the taralli an extra pinch to make sure the ends hold together. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pot, lower a few taralli at a time into the boiling water—the rings will drop to the bottom at first, then float to the top. Use a spider strainer or large slotted spoon to give them a gentle nudge so they don’t stick to the bottom. As soon as they float to the surface, about 2 minutes, lift them out of the water and transfer them to the paper towels to drain. Sprinkle the still-wet taralli with a little flaky salt. Then transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet, setting the taralli spaced about 1/2 inch (1 cm) apart.

  7. Once the baking sheet is full, transfer to the oven and bake until light golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer the taralli to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. Continue boiling and baking the remaining taralli in batches. Cool completely before serving.

  9. The taralli can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Feature Title

Dolci!
Recipes that capture the flavors of la dolce vita, from Bologna to Brooklyn—Italian and Italian American-ish cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries, from the James Beard Award–nominated brains behind one of America’s best bakeries
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