Have I gone completely crackers? Yes, and so can you!

Published 7:02am Thursday, May 9, 2013

Tired of spending too much on sub-par packaged crackers? Tired of ingesting ingredients like soy lecithin, monoglycerides, and msg? Tired of throwing away all that packaging? With a little shortening, flour, and seasonings from your spice drawer, you can have a jar of your own crackers ready for healthy, unique, and tasty snacks!

Friends will be in awe of your homemade crackers and you will be amazed at how easy they are to make. The best thing about homemade crackers is that you control all the ingredients (no unwanted preservatives or high sodium content ) and you can make them uniquely your own by adding any combination of herbs, spices, or grated cheeses. An added bonus, the recipes here give you a chance to try both savory and sweet options.

Cracker factors:

Also called hardtack, pilot’s bread, and sea biscuits, crackers are historically a New England invention made of flour, salt, and water, a staple on sailing vessels because of their shelf life. When a Massachusetts baker burned a batch of biscuits in his brick oven, the crackling noise coming from the singed biscuits inspired the name – crackers.

I have made crackers for years and each time I share them, someone always says, “Wow, I didn’t know you could MAKE crackers?” This always makes me smile, because ALL foods, at one time, were made in someone’s kitchen! Here’s hoping we can return to more “homemade” foods of all kinds. Enjoy starting your own “brand” of crackers and crisps — be experimental with flavors, shapes, and uses – and let’s get crack(er)ing!

 

Parmesan/Rosemary Water CrackersParmesan_Rosemary crax

Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spray three large baking sheets with cooking spray.

In food processor, process the following ingredients until well mixed:

2 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt 2 T. dried rosemary, chopped

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a one cup measure, combine:

2/3 cup warm water 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Pour liquid mixture into processor while it is running. Process until dough forms a ball, additional 2-3 T. of water may be needed. The dough will be sticky.

Mix: 1 egg white with 2 T. water and beat. Set aside until later.

5-6 T. toasted sesame seeds for sprinkling.

Divide dough into three pieces. On a lightly floured surface or pastry cloth, pat dough down and roll out as thinly as possible. Lay the sheet of dough on a greased baking sheet and press to fill the sheet. Cut into desired sizes with a pizza cutter or knife. Pierce all over with a fork or docking tool. Brush generously with egg white mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake until crackers are dry and golden, about 10-12 minutes. Watch them carefully toward the end of the baking time. Recut if necessary. Cool on racks.

 

Fried Wonton Chips/CrackersWonton crisps

1 package wonton wrappers

Vegetable oil for frying

Thermometer

Baking sheets lined with paper towel, for draining

Salt (or sugar/cinnamon) for dusting

Cut wonton squares diagonally or into strips. Heat the oil to 350° in deep skillet or pan. Maintain that temperature throughout the frying process. Carefully place wontons in the oil, they will quickly float, turn them and remove when lightly browned. Move quickly, they take less than a minute to fry. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and put on paper towels to drain. If adding salt or seasonings, do so while they are still hot. Repeat. This makes a large batch of crisps but they keep well in a large jar. You can also make these a sweet treat by dusting them with cinnamon and sugar instead of salt!

 

 

Graham Crackers 3-4 dozen, depending on sizeGraham crax

2 cups all purpose flour 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 tsp. table salt 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1 cup cold butter, cubed

1/4 cup honey Turbinado sugar (or raw sugar) and sea salt, for sprinkling

In a food processor, add the dry ingredients, pulsing to combine. Add butter and honey, processing until mixture comes together. It will be crumbly at first, but will moisten up and clump together. Turn dough onto work surface and form into ball. Divide in half, form each half into a flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. The dough should be cold, but pliable. Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Unwrap one disk and place on lightly floured surface. Roll out to 1/8” thickness and pierce with fork or docking tool. Cut crackers into squares or desired shape and place on prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with turbinado sugar and salt. Chill filled baking sheets for 15 minutes before baking. Bake for 13-14 minutes until golden brown, watch carefully the final minutes! Let crackers rest on baking sheet for one minute before transferring to cooling rack. Repeat process with remaining dough. Cool completely before storing.

 

Story by Sandra Thimgan Photos by Daniel Thimgan

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