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How to Make Crackers

Making crackers is very similar to making pie crust. It’s pretty simple and allows you to use local ingredients and avoid the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil. Yuck!

We adapted a recipe from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It, a great resource for DIY cooking projects. We made some adjustments (as usual) for local ingredients. If you don’t have a food processor, you could use a pastry blender or a couple of knives to work in the butter.

Cornmeal Crackers
Makes a lot! About 2 cookie sheets full, but the count will depend on the size and shape.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces cornmeal (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 ounces butter (5 tablespoons)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Toppings, such as herbs, seeds, or salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add dry ingredients to work bowl of food processor and pulse a few times to aerate.
  2. Add the butter in chunks, pulsing between each addition, until the mixture is combined, but still lumpy.
  3. Whisk the egg, honey, and water together in a separate bowl
  4. Start the food processor and slowly add the wet ingredients through the tube. Just like pie crust, you want the dough to start to form a ball, but not get too wet.
  5. Dump the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it tightly, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You could do this part the day before, if you wanted to.
  6. When you’re ready to bake the crackers, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Divide the dough into two pieces and re-wrap and refrigerate one half.
  8. Dust a clean countertop with flour (we used cornmeal to add a little extra crunch) and shape the dough into a rectangle. This extra step will help keep the sides neat for square or rectangular crackers. If you’re using cookie cutters, you can skip this step.
  9. Sprinkle the dough with more flour and roll it out into a 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick rectangle. I find it helpful to start in the middle and move forward and backward, rather than starting on an end and rolling in one direction. Pick up and turn or flip the dough occasionally, so that it doesn’t adhere to the counter. Add more flour if it starts to feel sticky.
  10. Prick the dough all over with a fork
  11. If you want to use toppings, brush the top with a little water (don’t go overboard or it will be hard to transfer them to the cookie sheet). Sprinkle on the toppings and gently roll them into the dough. We used an herb mix for one batch and black salt for another.
  12. Now the fun part! Use a pizza roller, knife, or cookie cutters to cut the dough into shapes. We made long, thin strips to dip in soup and oyster cracker shapes for floating on top.
  13. Use a spatula to transfer the crackers to a greased cookie sheet and bake for 8 to 20 minutes. The total baking time depends on your oven and the size, shape, and thickness of the crackers, so watch carefully. We checked after the first 8 minutes and then in 4 minute increments. It’s better for them to be pale gold than dark brown. If some look more done than others, you might want to take them out while the rest finish up. While this batch is baking, repeat the steps for the second half of dough.
  14. Cool the crackers completely and store in an airtight container for about a week. You can also freeze them, letting them sit for 2 hours at room temperature before eating.

I think you could vary this recipe almost any way you want. I think I’ll attack Cheez-Its next and then maybe make an olive oil herb version.

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