Stilton and Walnut Crackers by Ina GartenQuentin Bacon

Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?

by Celia Sin-Tien Cheng
November 11, 2010

This month’s winners are Lauren and Anthony!

Below is the original Baking Friday post.


Scroll down to enter a comment, and click “submit” after the preview appears on screen. Send us your answer by midnight tonight for the chance to win a copy of Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?. Winners will be contacted via email. This Baking Friday is open to participants living in all 50 states.

Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? book cover
Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?
by Ina Garten
(Clarkson Potter, 2010)

Ina Garten, a.k.a. The Barefoot Contessa, is my hero. I use her cookbooks religiously because her recipes are simple, downright delicious and perfect for entertaining.

Her latest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, is an instant classic! The moment I picked up the book, I wanted to make every single recipe: smoked salmon deviled eggs, tarragon potato salad, red velvet cupcakes… (Are you drooling yet? The list goes on and on.) And true to the title of the book, the recipes are unbelievably easy!

Enter this week’s Baking Friday to win a copy of Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? If you love to cook, this is a chance you cannot miss!

Here is a peek into the cookbook — Ina Garten’s recipe for “Stilton & Walnut Crackers.”

Stilton & Walnut Crackers
(photo at top)

Makes 24 crackers

I came across this very British cracker in London—a savory shortbread made with Stilton and walnuts. I make extra rolls of dough and freeze them unbaked so I can just defrost, slice, and bake the crackers before guests arrive. Everyone loves these and there are never any leftovers!

¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces Stilton, crumbled, at room temperature (12 ounces with the rind)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
¼ cup walnuts, finely chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and Stilton together for 1 minute, until smooth. 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 of cold water and mix until the dough comes together.

Dump the dough onto a floured board and roll it into a 12-inch-long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, to distribute them evenly on the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Cut the log into 3⁄8-inch-thick slices with a small sharp knife and arrange the crackers on the sheet pan. Bake for 22 minutes, until very lightly browned, rotating the pan once during baking. Cool on the pan and serve at room temperature.


Comments (18)


Nov 12, 05:53 AM

for an actual book, i’d say the Joy of Cooking – it’s practically a textbook. But really, these days, i go to the web. My first stop is always, then google. Ina’s books are fun tho, I do like looking thru them for when we’re doing big holiday dinners


Nov 12, 06:32 AM

My current favorite is Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food. Aptly named, the recipes usually have just a few ingredients, and like all of her cookbooks, the directions are very clear and specific, leading to wonderful-tasting dishes.


Nov 12, 06:37 AM

I love the Moosewood cookbooks and an Asian fusion one called Chopstix. I love a recipe in the latter for Thai curry soup with soba noodles and tofu. :-) Maybe I’ll make it this weekend!

anthony martino

Nov 12, 06:58 AM

I still go back to the wonderful Lee Bailey cookbooks for both city and country living.They have great,easy and delicious things to make and eat.


Nov 12, 07:04 AM

There is really no competition. Any Marcella Hazan cookbook.


Nov 12, 07:44 AM

Jacques Pépin’s cookbooks


Nov 12, 07:49 AM

Like all of these stalwart favorites, but still refer to my old Silver Palate Good Times cookbook that is so worn out, it’s held together by rubber bands. Just made a Moroccan style lamb stew a few weeks ago with pignolis, Greek olives and orange juice and everyone loved it. I like how the recipes are arranged according to holidays and events. Still holds up after all these years.


Nov 12, 08:03 AM

I use Jaime Oliver’s The Naked Chef Takes Off a lot. Also, I can’t say enough about Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts.


Nov 12, 08:36 AM

Giada De Laurentiis’ “Every Day Italian.”


Nov 12, 11:13 AM

Mark Bittman – How to Cook Everything. He makes everything so easy. Any Cooks Illustrated book is a close second.


Nov 12, 11:35 AM

“The Confetti Cakes Cookbook” & “Confetti Cakes for Kids”


Nov 12, 02:07 PM

I love Ina Garten! Barefoot Contessa Parties is my favorite.


Nov 12, 06:37 PM

In the cookbook world, Jamie Oliver and Ina Garten make a nice couple.


Nov 12, 07:50 PM

Phaidon’s India Cookbook—basmatic rice sack notwithstanding—is my current bedtime reading.


Nov 15, 05:46 AM

Thanks, everyone for writing it! Currently, besides Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?, I am really enjoying The Geometry of Pasta.


Nov 15, 08:20 AM

My long-time favorite is the Pillsbury Book of Baking – it has been my “go-to” for dessert recipes – newer ones and those that are tried and true!

Sandy W.

Nov 15, 08:22 AM

Confections of a Closet Master Baker – full of charm, wit, and baking goodness! It has made me a better baker


Nov 23, 01:27 PM

Hands down: “The Joy of Cooking.”

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