Homemade Crackers

Crackers are one of the easiest snacks to have. They travel well and sturdily tote snacks from plate to mouth. Fish spreads, nut butters,  herb butters and old reliable cheese sitting pretty  on a plate any time of year. Most crackers are processed with such questionable ingredients as trans fats, used to stretch shelf life.  Almost all come wrapped in plastic sleeves and cardboard boxes.  Boughten crackers tend to be both too sweet and too oily. High fat and sugar contents should be reserved for cookies, which I heartily enjoy. Yet fat-free cracker alternatives like rice cakes and Ryvita can seem more like punishment than food.  And most cost at least a few dollars a box . Which is a  hefty price for what is little more than flour, water, oil, salt, and spices, and especially so when that $5 box can be gone in no time.

Potato, Dill, and Onion Crackers

If you don’t have any leftover mashed potatoes, these crackers are worth the effort of peeling, grating, and roasting one (see instructions below). The resulting cracker is a little more crunchy, with a hint of potato-chip flavor.
2     cups (8½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½     tsp. baking powder
½     tsp. salt
3     Tbsp. dried dill weed
1     Tbsp. onion powder
4     Tbsp. (½ stick, 2 ounces) butter
1     cup (10 ounces) mashed potatoes, or 1 medium russet potato (about 8 ounces) plus 3 Tbsp.
(1½ ounces) salad oil and 1 tsp. salt (see Note)
¼     cup (2 ounces) water
Coarse salt for sprinkling

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, dill, and onion powder. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork until the mixture looks like small crumbs. Add the mashed or roasted potatoes, mixing to combine everything evenly. Sprinkle the water over the mixture a tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork to distribute it evenly. Continue adding water until the dough just comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before rolling out.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
3. Roll out the dough as thin as possible (about ⅛ inch thick) on a lightly floured surface or on a sheet of parchment paper. Prick the dough all over with a fork, brush with water, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Cut the dough into strips with a ruler and a pizza cutter or fluted pastry wheel. You can make whatever shape and size you like: small squares, diamonds, or rectangles. Any scraps or odd shapes can be squeezed together, then rolled again.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased baking sheet, or slide the parchment with the cut crackers on it onto your baking pan. Bake the crackers for 18 to 22 minutes, until they begin to take on a light golden-brown color. Remove the pan from the oven and put it on a rack to cool the crackers. They will finish crisping as they cool.

Whole-Wheat Peanut-Butter Crackers

Whole-Wheat Peanut-Butter Crackers
From the book The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham
Yield     54 crackers
½     tsp. baking soda
½     cup peanut butter (either creamy or chunky)
1     tsp. salt
½     cup warm water
2     cups whole-wheat flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use ungreased cookie sheets.
2. Combine the baking soda, peanut butter, salt, and warm water in a bowl, and stir vigorously until well blended. Add 1½ cups of the flour and mix well. Add more flour if the dough is too tacky to manage; it should be rather stiff and coarse.
3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of about 0.0625 inch. Trim the dough to fit your cookie sheet and, using your hands and a spatula, transfer the dough to the cookie sheet. With a knife, score the dough into rectangles 2 inches by 1½ inches, not cutting all the way through.
4. Bake for 7 minutes. Turn the cracker sheet over and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the crackers feel firm and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool on racks. Break into individual crackers and serve.

Lora Brody’s Multi-Seed Crackerbread

This recipe comes from our  Lora Brody, who’s written numerous cookbooks.

Crackerbread is extremely quick and easy to make, and packs a punch of aromatic flavor from the seed blend that gets rolled right into the dough. A little sturdier than lavash, it’s great with your chunkiest dips.
1     cup (4 ounces) traditional whole-wheat flour
1     cup (4¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½     cup (1⅞ ounces) whole rye (pumpernickel) flour
½     cup (2⅜ ounces) whole yellow cornmeal
2     teaspooons salt
2     Tbsp. olive oil
1     cup (8 ounces) water
½     cup (2½ ounces) assorted seeds, such as sesame, poppy, fennel, caraway, and anise
2     Tbsp. assorted dried herbs, such as rosemary, basil, dill, tarragon, and thyme
1     tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1     Tbsp. coarse salt (optional; use it if you like a salty, crunchy cracker)


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