Pecan Blue Cheese Crackers

My husband and I love comedy shows. This restaurant near us used to have comedy shows every Thursday, and we went to one and made the mistake of sitting up front. Oh, boy.

I don’t know if you’ve ever sat up close at a comedy show, but if you don’t want your entire life on display, don’t do it. You will be made fun of. And if the comedian is good, it will be hilarious.

This particular comedian made the mistake of asking how many children we had. I had to stop and think, then gave him an answer that was the comedian’s equivalent of the best Christmas gift ever: “It depends.” You could see it all over the guy’s face. He didn’t even know where to start.

The math goes something like this. I have two children from my first marriage, one of whom died as an infant. My husband also has two kids from his first marriage. We share our kids with each other. His kids were 10 and 13 when we married, and my husband and I had full custody. I raised them. They’re mine, too. My daughter was 17. Her father passed shortly afterwards, and my husband took care of her. He even walked her down the aisle when the time came. She’s his, too.

But does that mean we share the one he never met?

Then it gets interesting. His first wife had two daughters, neither of whom had any relationship at all with their father. He raised them for twelve years, and they both considered him to be their dad. When he divorced, they decided to keep him. And when we married, they adopted me as a stepmom. Neither of them are legally or biologically tied to either of us. But can we still consider them our kids? I hope so.

When my niece was seventeen, we took her in because of problems she had with her stepmom. We finished raising her and got her through high school. Do we count her? In our hearts we do.

And then there’s my son-in-law. He’s awesome, and I adore him. He and I share a lot of the same interests, and we have the exact same education--a bachelors in communications and a law degree. We talk about minute points of law that make my daughter’s eyes glaze over. He's like a son to me. Do we count him?

Well, yes.

And don’t even get me started on my dogs.

That means we have eight kids. Sort of. And we love them all as though they each belonged to both of us. My youngest, my husband’s bio-daughter, recently asked me to figure out how to make these crackers for her. My husband’s mother used to make these before her health declined. She had lung cancer several years ago, which she survived but came out of it with a condition so rare that only 250 people per year in the U.S. get it. And, if I have my facts right, because it’s attached to lung cancer, the survival rate for it is non-existent. My bio-daughter (the doctor) told me when she studied the condition in med school that my mother-in-law is truly a walking miracle. Unfortunately, since the condition is so rare and so often fatal, the medical community doesn’t quite know what to do with her.

So, would I be willing to make Nana’s special crackers for my youngest because Nana can't do it anymore? Is that even a question? I searched around until I found a recipe that sounded right, then tried it out earlier today. I gotta say, I think I nailed it. These are dead simple to make and have the added benefit of being gluten free. I don’t like blue cheese, and I still love these.

Here’s to you, Nana.

Pecan Blue Cheese Crackers

Pecan Blue Cheese Crackers

1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 lb blue cheese crumbles, softened

1 cup all-­purpose flour

In a preheated 350 degree oven toast 1/2 cup pecans, about 7 minutes, and cool. Set remaining pecans aside. Chop toasted pecans into a meal-like consistency. In a bowl with a fork cream butter and blue cheese until smooth. Separate egg. Add egg yolk, stirring until combined well. Set whites aside. Add flour and chopped pecans and stir until mixture just forms a dough. Halve dough and on separate sheets of waxed paper form each half into a 12 by 1 1/4 ­inch log. Freeze logs, wrapped in waxed paper, just until firm, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease 2 large baking sheets. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4 ­inch thick slices and arrange slices about 1/2­inch apart on baking sheets. Top each cracker with a remaining pecan half, pressing lightly into dough. Brush tops of crackers, including pecans, with lightly beaten egg white. Bake crackers switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown, about 12 minutes total. With a spatula transfer crackers to paper towels to blot and transfer to a rack to cool.

 

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