Surely I can make crackers better and cheaper than the ones at the store, right?
Have you ever stood in front of a wall of crackers trying to figure out which ones will give you the most nutrition for the least amount of money and last more than a day in the presence of hungry children but that they will like enough to eat before they get stale? This is far too common for me.
Watching the price of a box rise from 50¢ per ounce to well over $1.25/oz makes me want to do without them altogether. Really? $4 for a box of no-brand graham crackers? What is going wrong in the supply chain here?
With the weather turning cooler and the house staying colder through the day, it’s the perfect time to bake something like crackers. They’re as easy as pie… crust. I decided to make three kinds today, and they are all delicious. The quick sticks are super dipped in hummus. The wheat squares are amazing with a little extra sharp cheddar cheese, and the flatbreads are just plain wonderful. Take your pick or try all three!
Quick Sticks (makes about 35 6″ sticks)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp vegetable shortening
1/2-3/4 cup cold water
Heat oven to 375F (190C). Stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Work in the shortening, then add just enough water till dough comes together.
Dust work surface with flour, kosher or sea salt, and lemon pepper. Roll out dough, one half at a time, till about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. cut into strips 6 inches (15cm) long, then roll each in your hands to make them into sticks. Place on cookie sheet covered in parchment or silicone mat. Bake 15-20 minutes until baked through but not brown. Store airtight.
Note: this recipe is pretty basic and can be added upon ad infinitum. Rosemary/olive, tomato/basil, parmesan/pepper, cheddar/cornmeal, cinnamon sugar, etc., etc.
Cumin Wheat Squares (makes about 60)
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ or ground flax seed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp ground cumin seed
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter, cut up
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk*
Heat oven to 350F (175C). Stir together dry ingredients up to butter. Work in butter till it’s coarse crumbs. Gradually add milk till dough holds together. Let dough rest 5 minutes.
Dust a work surface with flour, roll out dough, one half at a time, till very thin. Prick well with a fork. Cut into squares and place on baking sheet covered with parchment or baking mat. Bake about 16 minutes. Store airtight.
*To make a buttermilk substitute, fill measuring cup with milk almost to amount needed, then add (about 2 tsp per cup) lemon juice to finish amount. Stir and let sit a few minutes.
Flatbread (makes about 45)
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup shortening, melted
1/2 cup corn syrup (dark preferred)
Heat oven to 350F (175C). Mix all together, roll out and cut with a knife or cookie cutters. Place on baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Bake about 10 minutes. Store airtight.
(Modified from Astrid Scott’s Authentic Norwegian Cooking.)