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 2)

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.

Repeat to use all of the remaining dough.

Nutrition per cracker (based on 24): 80 calories, 1 g protein, 9 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 135 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar

FLAXSEED AND CRACKED PEPPER CRACKERS

Makes about 60 2-inch crackers

These earthy crackers can hold their own against a zingy tapenade or dip or a sharp cheese. Roll them as thin as you can; the thicker they are, the less crisp they'll be. The dough needs to be wrapped and refrigerated for 10 minutes before it is rolled out.

Adapted from "Joy the Baker Cookbook," by Joy Wilson (Hyperion, 2012).

1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

1/4 cup golden flaxseed

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup regular or low-fat buttermilk, or more as needed

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly flour a work surface.

Whisk together the flaxseed, flaxseed meal, the whole-wheat flour and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, the baking soda, salt and black pepper (to taste) in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to quickly work it into the dry ingredients.

Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add the 1/2 cup of buttermilk and use a fork to bring all of the ingredients together, making sure that every bit of flour is moistened; add buttermilk as needed. The dough should look just slightly dry.

Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead it about 10 times to bring the dough together. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

When ready to bake, cut the dough in half. Return one-half to the refrigerator (wrapped) while you work with the other half.

Place the dough on the work surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll it out to a little over one-sixteenth inch thick. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out crackers. Alternately, use a pizza cutter to cut 11/2-inch squares, or use the small cutter of your choice. Use the tines of a fork to prick each cracker several times.

Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart; bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until slightly browned around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat to use all of the dough. You may reroll the dough scraps and cut out more crackers; their texture will be a little tougher.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Nutrition per cracker: 20 calories, 1 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrates, 0 g dietary fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 g protein.

EVERONA MARKET CRACKERS

Makes about 100 small crackers

Everona Dairy owner Pat Elliott developed these crackers specifically as an accompaniment to her award-winning cheese. She says their subtle buttery taste and crisp texture enhance the cheese without overpowering it.

The dairy sells several types of these crackers; see variations below. The cocoa crackers have the barest hint of chocolate flavor and are particularly suited for blue cheeses. The cinnamon-sugar variety, Elliott notes, aren't ideal with cheese, but she likes them for their sweet taste.

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