Monday, April 8, 2013

Make It Yourself Monday: Homemade Crackers

Homemade crackers are probably one of the easiest, yet most satisfying, recipes in the book. Specially, in the book "How to Cook Everything" by the brilliant Mark Bittman. This recipe is adapted from his.

For a double batch (which you will want, trust me) you will need:
  • 2 cups flour
  • Scant tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp butter (you can use less if you want a healthier cracker, but the flavor won't be as rich)
  • 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup milk, OR 1/2 cup water, OR 1/2 cup milk--or you can probably substitute soy, but make sure it's unsweetened or you'll affect the taste. 
If for some reason you want to make a single batch, you can just half this--and the halving can be pretty loose. As you've probably gathered, this is a really hard recipe to mess up. 

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Don't forget! I always forget. 

Cut the butter into the flour until they are mixed to a powdery substance that holds together slightly when pinched. You can do this using a knife and fork, a food processor, or, my favorite, using a pastry cutter, which looks like this:

That particular one, by KitchenAid, is around $12 at Target, but you could probably find one for less at somewhere like HomeGoods. They are very handy!

Then, slowly add the milk and/or water, mixing as you go, until you can make a lump with the dough but it isn't goopy or sticky (you may need more or less). When the dough is at the right texture, lightly flour your counter or a baking board and roll the dough out until it's 1/4 inch thick or less. If you are in a rush, you can just bake it on a lightly floured cookie tray in one big sheet, and then break it up. Personally, though, I like to use biscuit cutters to make pretty little rounds (you could probably use shaped cookie cutters, too). For a more interesting cracker, you can sprinkle spices or herbs on top. Some of my favorites: black sesame seeds, rosemary, old bay seasoning, curry powder, paprika...anything in the spice cabinet, really. 

Here they are all pale and waiting to go in the oven...from left to right, paprika, black sesame, thyme, rosemary, and curry powder.

And here they are all fresh and golden and puffed up! I recommend serving with a soft mild goat cheese, and impressing your guests when they ask where you bought them.  Enjoy!