Photo: Kelly Rossiter
Apparently the word tejas means roof tiles in Spanish, and it is sort of what these addictive little crackers look like. I took a batch of these down to the campaign office where my son is working, along with the kale and ricotta mini quiche I wrote about the other day. Everybody knew what a mini quiche was and they got snapped up right away, but no one knew quite what to make of these crackers. Ah, but once tasted, word went around the office that they were something to be sampled before they were gone. I have to admit, I ate rather too many of them as I was baking them. I justified it by telling myself that I had to taste one or two from each pan I baked, just to make sure they were good enough to give away. I cut mine smaller than the recipe calls for because I was making them for a lot of people. They were just big enough to slip onto the tongue and melt there with a wonderful mixture of salty and sweet. Have a little party this week for the autumn equinox and serve these with a fall cocktail.
This recipe is from the website The Galley Gourmet.
Tejas with Sunflower Seeds
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until barely lukewarm
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 extra large egg whites at room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt
24 sheets (about 8 ounces) of frozen phyllo pastry, thawed and kept covered with a barely damp paper towel
3/4-1 cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
Kosher salt and ground cayenne pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375º F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg whites, and salt using a wire whisk, whisking until thick and smooth. Brush one phyllo sheet with a thin layer of the butter mixture. Top with a second sheet of phyllo and brush with the butter mixture. Top with a third sheet of phyllo and brush with more of the butter mixture. Using a sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut the layered phyllo into 8 (4 1/2 x 3-inch) rectangles.
2. Transfer the rectangles to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each one with 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of sunflower seeds, some kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer crackers to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets, butter mixture, and sunflower seeds to make a total of 64 crackers. Tejas can be made up to 1 day in advance and carefully stored in an airtight container.