While not actually a cookie, this week’s answer to my quest is in the ballpark and close enough to qualify.
Lisabeth Thomson, executive chef at Presqu’ile Winery, located at 5391 Presquile Drive in Santa Maria, shared a recipe for lavash, a Middle Eastern bread that is so addictive it should be classified as illegal.
My introduction to these tasty treats was at a wine and cheese pairing class at Presqu’ile, an interesting event I’ll share at a later date.
The dough traditionally is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven or tandoor; however, this week’s recipe is suitable for a conventional oven and, to be honest, it’s not for the faint of heart.
When asked, I explain my criteria for recipes this way: They must be quick and easy or inexpensive, or so darn good you don’t care how long it takes or how much it costs to make. This week we’re getting one from the latter category.
Lisa agrees this is an involved and time-consuming recipe but the results are completely worth the effort. I think anyone who likes to bake should try their hand at lavash at least once.
But back to the recipe. The dough is quite simple to make, classified as “unleavened,” there’s no yeast or eggs, just a teaspoon and one-half of baking powder. This gives lavash a light cracker-like texture. It’s a perfect vehicle for dips, spreads and cheese.
The dough must be made and refrigerated overnight before rolling and baking.
“Yes,” Lisa admitted, “the recipe is a little involved. Rolling them out takes time. I use a professional sheeter and it does make it faster, but it is not a home kitchen item.”
Lisa has been at Presqu’ile for nearly 2½ years.
“The recipe,” she explained, “was being used when I got here so I can't take credit for it. I am not sure where it came from, but we sell them and can't keep them in stock. They are definitely a favorite here!”
At the winery, it’s served with their charcuterie and cheese plate.
“I love it with guacamole, pate and anything spreadable,” Lisa said. Her personal favorite lavash go-with is triple-cream brie topped with the winery’s apricot mostarda.
PRESQU’ILE ROSEMARY LAVASH CRACKERS
7 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, chopped very fine *
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup olive oil
2 cups water
Flaky sea salt, such as maldon, for sprinkling
Parchment paper for sheet pans
Line two cookie sheets with baking parchment and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, rosemary, salt and baking powder in a mixer with a dough hook and mix well. Slowly add olive oil, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Add water slowly until combined, gradually increase speed until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides. Add more water if needed. Wrap in plastic and let rest overnight in refrigerator.
The next day, cut dough with a pastry cutter or knife into egg-sized pieces. Flatten with hand and roll through pasta maker. Start with largest setting and with each pass make smaller until dough is very thin and as long as the sheet pans. Brush tops with more olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating pans every 5 minutes until golden brown. Cool and break into pieces.
* NOTE: Lisa says you can vary the flavor with other things other than rosemary.
“I have used black pepper, Parmesan and chives, any herb would work,” she suggests.
Also, once cooled, these keep well in a tightly sealed container.