Crackers by Crackers

Yep. My lily white ass whipped up a batch of homemade crackers. (Garlic Paprika Peppercorn, to be precise.) Seems awfully bourgeois, right? It is. But it was worth it. See? A whole bowlful of crispy deliciousness.

And taking glamour shots of crackers also strikes me as odd, but that didn't stop me. Check out this sexy cracker, lounging [dirty] spoonside:

Anyway, the crackers were dead easy to make. A beauty of a dough recipe compared to my recent endeavors--pizza dough, pasta dough, sweet rolls. Thankfully, Carbfest 2008 is coming to a close, but it's bittersweet. This wild ride of refined grains has been fun, but it has to end. And what better way to say goodbye to dietary diabetic risk factors than with snappy crackers??

I think the combo of coarse-cracked pepper, minced garlic and smoky paprika was pretty spot-on. And it also gave the crackers a nice rosy color. That said, you can use any seasoning combination that gets you going. I am thinking rosemary crackers would be nice, but I don't have any rosemary and I use the stuff far too infrequently to buy a jar. Parmesan and thyme also sounds pretty tasty. I conceived of a curry powder infused cracker, but thought that might be a little too crazy.

The recipe I used comes from Jennie at Straight From the Farm, who in turn adapted it from A New Old-Fashioned Gal. Here it is, with my notes in bold.
  • 2 ½ c. flour
  • 3 t. dried herbs/seasonings (I used a scant tablespoon of cracked pepper, a tablespoon of paprika, and two cloves of garlic very finely minced)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil (Make sure you add enough oil, I'd maybe recommend even a bit more, because it will help the crackers crisp up. I ended up smearing a coat of oil over some of the dough to help things along.)
  • ¾ cups cold water (I needed a bit more water than that)
  • coarse salt for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Mix dry ingredients. Add the oil and half of the water (and if using something wet like fresh garlic, add here) and mix. Add water as necessary to form a rough dry dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until it comes together into a cohesive ball.

Divide dough into even quarters. On a silicone mat or piece of parchment paper, roll dough as thin as possible until it’s nearly the size of a baking sheet. (My dough was so elastic that it was damn near impossible to do this on top of parchment, so I rolled it on the countertop, then transferred. I also couldn't get the dough to roll out anymore after a certain point, which might explain why I got fewer crackers.)

Cut the dough into squares or other desired shape and use a fork to prick each square two or three times. (Forgot to prick.) Sprinkle with course sea salt. (After sprinkling, did a once over with the rolling pin to anchor the salt grains--a stroke of brilliance, I thought.)

Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown, turning the sheet once half way through. (Here I got really impatient and took two batches out too early. Had to return them to the oven later.) While the first batch is baking, roll out another quarter of dough. Let baked crackers cool before breaking apart. Store in a ziplock bag.

(makes about 5 cups of crackers) (I only got 3, maybe? What did I do wrong??? Oh well.)

They came out well despite a few minor difficulties that I can almost certainly blame myself for. And I got the idea to spread them with something tasty! An improvised feta and sun-dried tomato number.

I guess the spread looks kind of ugly. In fact, it is quite the opposite! It all started while the second cracker batch was baking, when I plopped a tablespoon of sour cream in a cup. Then I crumbled a...finger-sized chunk of feta in there, and sprinkled dried oregano on top. Chopped up two sun-dried tomatoes real fine and mixed it in.

My dastardly boyfriend came home from campus and finished off the rest of it (along with a good number of crackers, possibly skewing my estimates of the recipe yield), so I had to find another solution. Straight up cheese. Look at that tall drink of cracker there, would you?

The cheese above is Norvegia, an omnipresent endemic Gouda variety produced by the national dairy monopoly. We bought a huge block of this stuff weeks ago, and I'm so sick of it. It was okay with the crackers, but I think something else would suit them better. Any suggestions?

I have garbanzos soaking to make some "rustic" hummus tomorrow. Meaning I will mash the beans with a fork due to my lack of kitchen gadgets. Chunky hummus is not my favorite, but I think it will be a good cracker smear.



Thanks for stopping by - your blog name is adorable, btw!

Thanks for the cracker recipe. I've never tried to make crackers, but if you say it's easy, I'll believe you and give it a shot :) They look really good.

kelley said...

i've always meant to make crackers - seems like something that would be much cheaper to do yourself.

and, crackers rule.

maggie said...

oh yum! I've never made crackers, for some reasons I've always pictured it being nearly immpossible!