Charcoal Bread Sticks
You know I like to play with my food and of late I have been interested in this charcoal idea. I made charcoal burger buns a while ago that I thought looked spectacular, but it’s not an everyday thing.
I was in Toronto last week visiting our daughter and her husband who just had their first baby boy, our first grandchild. As you can imagine we are all head over heels in love with the little dude and it was hard to leave them and put such a great distance between us (Kelowna-Toronto). I will have to make a few trips to see them over the next while at least. In the meantime, the internet and all its video advantages are a life saver.
Being a foodie of course we made a few food excursions while in the big city. One special trip was to the Cheese Boutique, a market-like establishment in a European style, full of foodstuff, amazing selection of cheeses, gorgeous produce and delicious looking pastries. We bought a few cheeses that make me crave for more, abandoning my plant based eating style for the moment. When I travel, I do not discriminate and eat everything.
Another foodie excursion was to the recently opened Eataly Toronto in Manulife Centre smack in the middle of the high end shopping district. This 5,000 sq ft store is set up like an Italian village with markets, bakeries, restaurants, trattorias, food counters, pizza by the slice (pizza al taglio), coffee bars, pastry shops, gelato, cannoli counter and more, all under one roof. So fun. We have been to various Eataly locations in Italy (Milano, Firenze, Rome) that truly amazed us in their scale and quality and I am yet to visit Eataly in New york city and Chicago. It is an experience you must not miss. The Toronto location is a beautiful, exciting place, with one caveat: it is designed along a circular passage that can be narrow at times and creates a bit of congestion as the place is always packed. Never mind that though, we went several times and loved it. The food was really good as well. I had the pasta cacio e pepe, one of my favourite pasta dishes that I had over and over in Italy with various degrees of success. It was good at Eataly although I wish they had used a more fine spaghetti, I thought it was a little thick.
So what does all this have to do with charcoal breadsticks? Here is the connection. I did some shopping for produce and specialty items the day before we left. They had a beautiful selection of endives and radicchio (treviso, chioggia, Treviso precoce, Tardivo) and fresh lettuce of different varieties (including the spotted Castelfranco). So I bought a bunch of fresh stuff but also bought beautiful bread sticks made with black rice flour (Grissini con farina di riso nero venere). I was attracted to the brown-grey colour of the grissini and had to have them.
Of course I come home and want to make my own. Not having black rice flour (I will though, soon enough:) I thought I’d make them with charcoal powder that I do have and love the dark colour it produces. So this is the long version of the story behind these breadsticks.
I know charcoal is controversial and not everyone likes the idea. I do though, and if you don’t like charcoal then just leave it our of the recipe and you’ll end up with nice cheesy grissini. So here is the recipe.
Charcoal bread sticks (Grissini al Carbone)Course: AppetizersCuisine: Modern, MediterreneanDifficulty: Easy
Easy cheesy charcoal breadsticks to serve with a glass of wine, with dips or as a snack while guests wait for the dinner. You can leave the charcoal out for regular breadsticks.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons charcoal powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons grated parmesan or gruyere
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup water, about
- Place flour, baking powder, charcoal powder and salt in a food perocessor and process to mix.
- Add the cheese and process to blend.
- Add the oil and process until the mixture crumble together.
- Add the water, drizzling it in, until the dough forms a ball and clears the sides of the bowl.
- Remove from the food processor and knead on a lightly floured counter until smooth, a couple of minutes.
- Wrap in plastic and let the dough rest and relax for about 15 minutes.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 1/4″ thick.
- Cut with a pizza roller or a knife into 1/4 inch strips.
- Roll each strip with your hands or on with your palm on the counter into cylinders
- Bake in a preheated 375 oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on racks.