When I was growing up, you knew it was Christmas when Stilton appeared in the fridge. I, of course, was more into the nog than the hunk of blue that I swore stunk up the fridge. But even when I was silly enough to dislike the taste of Stilton, I still cherished the sight of it. Stilton bore good tidings of the comfort and joy variety. And Stilton, of course, meant gifts were imminent. It’s hard not to form a positive association with the cheese so often paired with your favorite holiday even if it does make your nose wrinkle. Another harbinger of festive good cheer was the oatcake. As familiar to a Nova Scotian kid at Christmas as the candy cane. And with these trusty memories dancing in my head, the idea for today’s Stilton Oat Crackers was born. And good gosh, am I ever so glad it was.Jump to Recipe
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I think most of us let our nostalgia take the wheel when it comes to this time of year. Many of us would be perfectly happy to replicate the year before ad nauseam. There is so much comfort in the familiar and yet, as adults, we do feel the urge to make our own traditions to suit the families we’ve built.
This Christmas is the first Christmas I will be staying at home. I won’t be visiting family on the east coast and I won’t be going abroad. I will be staying in my humble abode with my teeny family and it feels like, for the first time ever, I’m living out the holiday without a script.
Sure, we did the usual things, like get a tree and a couple of presents to put under
Another thing about making your first Christmas is you realize just how much your parents did every year. I don’t know about you but when I first turned my mind to Christmas, I was struck and overwhelmed by the numerous tiny details. Even if you set out to have a low key version of the holiday, you will still find yourself sweating the small stuff, like how to set a holiday table or how to increase the longevity of a Christmas tree. You really care about that stuff when you’re the one who schlepped and cursed the tree into the house.
I found myself worrying about my holiday table more than I care to admit. I come from a large family, so we were always very into “buffet-style” affairs. But now that I’m entertaining a handful of people at a time, the “fill your boots” approach is no longer smart and practical. No, now it’s just kinda lazy and, erm, trashy. So, when I had a few friends over the other day, I shelved my ego and asked the
Well, all I can say is the Internet really came through. I mean, look at this table! It looks like I was raised by a series of increasingly strict governesses. Do I know where to put the salad fork? Oh hell to the yes, I do! I’m tres sophisticated or haven’t you seen my sick table.
Okay, so my ladylikeness kind of falls apart when I open my mouth. But aside from my “relaxed” approach to entertaining, I do believe this is the table of a hostess with the
Now, what’s a beautiful holiday table without the right kind of dishware. Well, I can tell you my plain white dishes would not have been able to hold their own on this table. That’s why I opted for my Le Creuset Dinnerware Set in
If you find yourself thinking that the Stilton Oat Crackers and the related name tags are a bit much, you are absolutely right. But when else can you embrace your inner Martha Stewart and really let the garland fly? Christmas is your moment to go over the top. Christmas is the time to be overly fussy. To be extra enough to string a couple of crackers on colorful butcher’s twine. This is a time we should value because come January, we’ll be back to pretending to be rational, practical human beings.
So, in closing, take this opportunity to make a meal out of setting the table. To bake your heart out with these Stilton Oat Crackers. To write overly sappy Christmas cards and relish the creation of each new tradition and every present wrapped. It’s the
Stilton Oat Crackers
- 2 1/4 cups rolled oats uncooked
- 2 tsp salt
- 35 (1.2 oz) g Stilton crumbled
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp honey divided
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary needles removed
- Place the oats in a food processor and blitz for 15 seconds. Transfer the oats to a large bowl and whisk in the salt. Add the butter and the Stilton. Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter and cheese into the oats until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Set aside.
- Pour the buttermilk into a small saucepan. Add 1 tbsp of the honey and the Dijon mustard. Place the saucepan over medium-low heat and bring the milk to a very low simmer, stirring constantly. Remove the mixture from the heat once steam starts to form on the surface of the buttermilk.
- Pour the warm buttermilk mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Once a thick shaggy dough forms, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough become cohesive.
- Roll the dough out to a 1/4 of an inch thick. Using a 2-1/2 inch cookie cutter, cut out as many crackers as you can manage. Transfer the crackers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Form the dough back into a ball and roll it out once again. Cut out more crackers and repeat these steps until you get 12-14 crackers. Try to move quickly, the dough becomes less workable the longer it sits.
- Using a toothpick or a small round piping tip, create a small hole at the top of each cracker. Transfer the crackers to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes. While the crackers are chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bake the crackers for 15 minutes or until crisp and brown around the edges. Remove the crackers from the oven and immediately brush them with the remaining honey. Press the rosemary needles into the honeyed surface and sprinkle the crackers with a little kosher salt. Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- At this point, you can simply serve the crackers on a plate. But if you’d like to make them into place settings, reinforce the holes you made on each cracker with a toothpick. Set aside.
- Take a stack of large bay leaves and write the name of each of your quests on the leaves using a non-toxic gold marker.
- Thread some butcher’s twine through the hole of one cracker, then make a small hole, using a toothpick, near the stem of the bay leaf. Thread the butcher’s twine through that hole as well. Take another cracker and thread the butcher’s twine through it. The sequence should be a cracker, followed by a bay leaf, followed by a cracker.
- Tie a knot at the top of the crackers and trim the twine. Set the finished place cards on the salad plates or pasta coupes on your holiday table.