Category Archives: Crackers

Grownup Cheese Crackers

cheese-crackers

While my kids still talk about bunny crackers they are just as easily silenced with these homemade cheese crackers. Light and crispy crackers can be tricky to make since they need to be rolled as thinly as possible and the butter tends to make them sticky.

Rather than trying to roll out and cut dough into shapes I find it’s much simpler to roll butter cracker dough into a log then refrigerate and slice into rounds. Alternately you can put pressure on four sides of the log and get squares, or three sides of the log and get triangles. The minimal amount of dough handling in this recipe also allows you to substitute milk for some of the butter which makes these more frugal.

Buttery Cheese Crackers

Ingredients:
1 cup grated sharp, dry cheddar of other flavor cheese (I used Beecher’s)
2/3 cup wheat pastry or spelt flour
1/3 cup masa harina or cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch paprika
4 tablespoons butter, cut into 1 tablespoon chunks
3 – 4 tablespoons of milk

Technique:
Preheat oven to 375 F. In a food processor combine cheese, flour, cornmeal, spices and salt. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles course meal. Add the milk, pulsing just until the dough begins to come together but is still scrappy.

cracker-dough

Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper or wax paper and form it into a log. Refrigerate until firm and then slice as thinly as possible. If the dough crumbles when you try to slice it try making thicker slices and then flatten them slightly with the bottom of a glass once they are sliced.

cracker-roll

Place the sliced crackers on parchment or silpat-lined cookie sheets and bake 10-14 minutes until beginning to brown and crisp. Once the crackers cool if you find they didn’t crisp enough simply bake them again for a few minutes. This gives you one extra chance to eat them still warm from the oven. :)

If you are up for the challenge you can roll this dough out on a floured surface and cut into diamonds or use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes but using this log technique allows the kids to help (by rolling the log and slicing or flattening with the glass.) One other benefit of rolling the cracker dough into logs is that you can store them ready to slice and bake in the refrigerator or freezer. These make a brilliant, fuss-free offering for unexpected guests.

Crispy Rosemary Flatbread Crackers

camembert-crackers1

These flat breads make marvelous crackers that are less work than smaller rolled and cut crackers.  They are the perfect thing for satisfying a need for crunch and can substitute for tostada shells and even be used to make northwest nachos.

  • 3 1/2 cups any combination of ground Bluebird Grain red winter wheat, Lentz Spelt or Emmer grains
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup filtered water*
  • 3 tablespoons of good quality olive oil
  • Mix the flours, salt and rosemary in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the hook attachment. Add the water and oil and knead the dough for about 2 minutes until the dough comes together. Turn off the machine and let the dough rest for 5 – 10 minutes to give the whole grain flour a chance to absorb the liquid and the gluten to develop. Turn the machine back on and knead for another 5 minutes (less time if using emmer or spelt), then check the consistency of the dough. It should be fairly stiff and smooth – not at all tacky or sticky. If it is add more flour in 1 tablespoon increments until you achieve a smooth and non-tacky dough. Cover the dough bowl with a plate and let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour or overnight.

    When ready to make the crackers heat the oven with a pizza stone in it to 475 F. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, keeping the extra pieces covered until you are ready to work with them. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured Silpat as thinly as possible – trying to achieve a 10 or 12 ” circle with each piece. Shake some course sea salt or seeds on the cracker bread surface and push them in by rolling over the dough one last time.

    Place the cracker bread onto a lightly floured pizza peel or lip less cookie sheet then deftly slide the cracker onto the pizza stone with a forward thrust of your arm. If you aren’t using a pizza stone you can bake these on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

    Bake the crackerbread for 4-6 minutes, until it has bubbled and begun to brown on the surface. Test the first cracker as a learning one before making the rest. Because you are working with naturally dark whole grain flour there is a tight window between done enough to crisp and burnt.

    Continue until all the cracker breads are done. When cool break them into cracker sized pieces. These will last for several days in an airtight container. If they get stale simply re-crisp them in the oven.

     

    * to convert this to a soaked cracker recipe replace 2 Tablespoons of the water with whey.

    Homemade Crackers

    se-palm-oil-crackers

    Since we stopped buying food that we didn’t know the source of we’ve had no quick snacks in the cupboard. My two small kids have been pretty good about things but whenever we do venture into the grocers they invariably see bags of chips or boxes of crackers and breakfast cereal. Then the whining begins…

    I finally broke down last week and tried my hand at making crackers – and they were awesome! And it was easy! And fun! I made a huge batch and put a bunch in the freezer to take out whenever we need them. The one thing I bought that made these special was palm kernel oil.

    Granted, palm kernel oil is not a local ingredient but few oils are both organic, sustainably grown (which is not necessarily the same thing as organic) and local. I can get olive oil from Napa that I feel pretty good about but it does add a green olive flavor to things and it doesn’t make delicate things flaky like lard or palm kernel oil. The palm kernel oil was from my Azure Standard order. It’s naturally high in beta cartene which gives it a very orange color that worked perfectly in the crackers. The color was amazingly vibrant, much like turmeric but it wiped easily off my off white kitchen counter without staining (one bonus about not yet having done the kitchen remodel is that I am more then willing to take chances with my counter tops.)

    These crackers are soaked overnight to improve their nutritional content and make them easier to digest. They taste remarkably like Wheat Thins ™. The recipe is based on the coconut cracker recipe from Eat Fat Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon.

    You could also add some Mt. Pleasant gouda or farmstead cheddar, onion or garlic powder, and/or a pinch of paprika or chili powder to these crackers.

    Thin Wheat Crackers

  • 2 1/2 cups Lentz spelt or Blue Bird Grain wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, yogurt or milk (can be rice or almond, or just use water) with 1 tablespoon of whey or vinegar added
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup palm kernel oil
  •  

    Mix flour with buttermilk, yogurt or milk and cover the bowl with a dinner plate for 12-24 hours on the counter. Add the soaked flour and all other ingredients and pulse in a food processer until well combined.

    Roll out between two pieces of parchment paper or wax paper to Wheat Thin ™ thickness, sprinkling with kosher salt, sea salt, sesame seeds or dried rosemary and rolling that into the dough so it sticks. This step is a fun way to involve kids in the kitchen. They can roll out their own little pats of cracker dough and then cut with a butter knife or ravioli cutter.

    Bake on an oiled cookie sheet at 350 degrees farenheit until just beginning to harden. Remove the pan from the oven, cut the crackers to whatever size you want and then spread them around on the cookie sheet so all the edges brown evenly. (This is much easier to do then cutting and transferring the fragile dough before baking.)

    Return the cookie sheet to the oven until they are all crisping and the edges are beginning to lightly brown. I can’t honestly remember how long this took, maybe 10 minutes total?

    These crackers contain no preservatives and so have a very short “counter” life. They freeze great and thaw quickly without compromising the texture of the cracker. If you really wanted you could put them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes to get that fresh baked texture again but we didn’t notice a marked change in texture even straight from the freezer.

    Now you don’t have to support Nabisco in order to have something crunchy and salty in the house.

    **Update** We had friends over this weekend and put the crackers out.  They disappeared in short order to comments of “These are addictive!”  So tasty to refined adult tastes as well as picky toddlers.  I’ll be making these again soon.