If you can open a bag of chips, you can make these Parmesan Cheese Crisps. They’re just as crunchy, and way more impressive. All you need is one ingredient ~ Parmesan cheese!
This is how simple it is: you make little piles of grated Parmesan cheese on a baking sheet, and bake it for 10 minutes. It melts down, bubbles away, and then crisps up right before your eyes. Your eyes will be glued to the oven window.
Depending on the type of Parmesan you use, how old it is, how it’s grated, and how thick you make your little piles, you will get slightly different results, but – good news – there is no wrong way to do these. Whether they’re lacy, scraggly, or smooth and even, they will taste fantastic. The cheese melts and then toasts to a super crispy texture with a flavor that reminds me of, ok I’ll say it, bacon. You can use them as snacks with a glass of wine, or as creative garnishes on all sorts of things.
The only absolute is that you must have a nonstick surface to bake these on. I used my trusty Silpat mat, but I also tried parchment paper, and that works just fine. You can make them in free form little heaps, or use a cookie or biscuit cutter as a mold — just spoon the cheese into it, and gently lift it off. You’ll have perfectly round circles of cheese. The baked crisps are very delicate, so they need to be lifted off the baking sheet with care; use a small thin edged spatula or spreader. But once they are cooled, they are sturdy enough to stack on a plate and enjoy.
Rosemary has such a clean, astringent flavor it stands up perfectly to the Parmesan, and makes a striking cracker. It was my favorite of the lot. Just be sure to chop it very finely.
- Parmesan cheese, grated (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
- fresh rosemary leaves, very finely minced
- sesame seeds
- fresh cracked black pepper
- walnuts, very finely minced
- hot pepper flakes
- Set oven to 400F
- Make 2" round piles of grated Parmesan cheese on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Use about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cheese for each pile. You can use a 2" cookie or biscuit cutter as a mold, or make the circles of cheese by eye. Try to get it as even as possible around the edges so the crisp will be sturdy. Space the circles about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them. They may need slightly more or less time. They are done when they have stopped bubbling and are just beginning to turn golden around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for a couple of minutes. Gently lift the crisps off the pan with a slim spatula or spreading knife. Be extra careful, the crisps are delicate. Set them on paper towels to finish cooling.
I found that, in terms of texture, shredded works a little better than a finely grated cheese.
Tips for success:
1. Make sure your oven is at or close to 400F. Too hot and these will burn.
2. Experiment with one or two crisps before you bake a whole tray full. You may need to adjust your oven temperature, or the amount of cheese you are using to get the perfect crisp.
3. Don’t be tempted to make these bigger than 2″, they are too delicate and will crumble when you try to handle them.
4. If you want to experiment with different flavors, be sure you use dry ingredients. Anything wet will interfere with the cheese crisping. Rosemary works well because it’s a sturdy woody herb, but fresh parsley, basil, or even lemon zest will shrivel up in the heat of the oven.
5. Let the crisps cool for a couple of minutes on the tray, and be sure to use a very fine edged spatula or knife to lift them off. Run it gently around the crisp before attempting to remove it.