Saturday, March 12, 2011

Homemade Wheat Crackers

I don't regularly buy crackers at the store.  I usually find them overpriced and looking at their labels often reveals less than ideal ingredients.  But every now and then I get a craving that nothing but a crisp cracker can fulfill.

So I googled, specifically looking to find a substitution for those savory but slightly sweet, square wheat crackers.  You know the ones.  Well, it turns out that they're pretty much just whole wheat pie dough.  I settled on this recipe as a starting point.

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour  (I would definitely recommend using whole wheat for this recipe.  It gives the crackers a wonderful nuttiness.)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  1. Combine all dry ingredients.
  2. Cut your butter into 1/2" pieces and add to the flour mixture.
  3. Either use a pastry blender or a food processor to blend the butter into flour.  Generally when you make pie dough, you want the butter to be cut into 'pea-sized' pieces.  Go a little finer for these crackers, as large flecks of butter in the dough will just burn.  This makes this recipe ideal to make in a food processor, (even a mini one), even though usually I prefer to make pie dough by hand.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients and incorporate them into the dry.  Mix just until the dough can be pressed together.
  5. Let the dough rest and, unless you're working in a frigid kitchen in a New England winter (ahem), put it in the fridge for twenty minutes.
  6. Cut the dough into four pieces.
  7. Place one piece onto parchment paper sprinkled with flour.
  8. Roll the dough out as thin as possible, incorporating flour as needed to prevent it from sticking.  Be sure to flip and turn the dough frequently in the beginning (it will be more difficult later).
  9. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into the desired size of crackers and sprinkle with sea salt.
  10. Slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and put into a 400 degree oven.  Watch the crackers closely.  Mine took right about 6 minutes.  Too little time and they will be slightly chewy.  Too long and they will burn.  There will inevitably some that are darker than other: any with a bit more butter, those closer to the edge.  They're still tasty.
  11. Repeat for the remaining pieces of dough.
  12. When crackers cool, gently separate them and pack them away for storage.
In a nice jar, these crackers can make a lovely hostess gift.
A few notes on this recipe:  I found the crackers to be quite buttery.  While this might be nice for a dinner party or more special occasion, I thought they were a bit too rich for day to day snacking.  Next time I will try reducing the butter (maybe 3 tablespoons?) or replacing perhaps half the butter with olive oil.  This recipe would also be ideal for incorporating some fresh herbs, like rosemary or thyme, for lovely flavor.


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