April 24, 2013

Homemade crackers in no time flat

Save money with custom platforms for cheeses, dips, tapenades or pepper jellies.

By JANE TOUZALIN/The Washington Post

(Continued from page 3)

CRACKERS
click image to enlarge

Butter is the key ingredient in Everona Market Crackers, whose variations include corn spice and cocoa versions.

Deb Lindsey photos for The Washington Post

CRACKERS
click image to enlarge

Crisp Rosemary Flatbread Crackers make a tasty hostess gift.

Serve with cheese as snacks, as appetizers or with an after-dinner cheese plate. They're also good with a variety of other toppings, or even unadorned. The recipe can be doubled.

The crackers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 weeks.

Adapted from a recipe by Elliott, owner of Everona Dairy in Rapidan, Va.

2 cups flour, plus more as needed

3/4 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature

1/2 cup hot tap water, or as needed

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse several times to combine. With the machine running, add enough hot water to form a smooth, soft ball, stopping to check the texture before you add all of the water; you might not need all of it. (Alternatively, whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in the butter, then stir in the hot water.)

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead it quickly and lightly. Divide into fourths and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Use the floured rolling pin to roll the dough out as thinly as possible on the work surface (re-flour as needed). Ideally, the dough should be translucent enough so that you can see the work surface underneath it. You can pick up the dough and rotate it as needed in between rollings, but don't turn it over.

Sprinkle the dough with a little flour. Fold the dough carefully into 2 or 3 pieces, transfer it to a baking sheet and unfold it to cover the sheet. Use a pastry cutting wheel or sharp knife to quickly slice the dough into approximately 11/2-inch squares, cutting the whole sheet in one direction first, then the other.

Use the tines of a fork to prick each cracker several times. You can remove any trimmed-off pieces at the edges and re-roll them later, though they will be a little tougher in texture.

Bake for 6 to 10 minutes or until the crackers turn golden and are light brown around the edges. (You might need to bake the crackers on the inside of the sheet a little longer, because they will not brown as readily.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat to use all of the dough.

Cool completely before serving or storing.

VARIATIONS

Oat/Wheat Crackers: Follow the basic recipe, using 11/2 cups of flour and adding 1/4 cup of old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats and 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour.

Cocoa Crackers: Use 13/4 cups of flour and 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder.

Corn Spice Crackers: Substitute 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons yellow cornmeal for an equal amount of the flour, and add red pepper flakes or taco flavoring to taste.

Pepper Crackers: Add about 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper.

Herb Crackers: Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crumbled herbes de Provence.

Cinnamon Spice Crackers: Sprinkle the crackers with a blend of ground cinnamon and sugar on the baking sheet before they go in the oven.

Nutrition per cracker: 15 calories, 0 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 20 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

 

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