October 17, 2012

Seeded Crackers



Snack food is expensive especially with hungry teenagers and their friends always looking for something to eat.  Crackers and cheese are a favorite but tasty crackers with wholesome ingredients come in very small boxes with a large price tag.  I decided to make crackers and after looking at recipes I wondered why store crackers are so expensive - the ingredient list is small - flour, water, oil (sounds like french bread but crackers do not require the skill of a baguette). The wholesale prices companies pay for the ingredients, plus the cost of getting a product to a mass market - I figure there must be around a 500% mark up on crackers. At 4-5 dollars for a box of small  crackers at Whole Foods, I could spend $20 and pass the boxes to four teenagers and they would still say "what else is there to eat."

These crackers are so tasty. The pair nicely with hard or soft cheeses, spread with tuna or chicken salad or just plain.  You can get creative and make up your own seed topping - maybe nigella, anise, fennel, rosemary, thyme - there are many combinations. You could chop up fresh herbs like the thyme or rosemary and mix it in with dough as well. This recipe can be mixed up by hand as well.

Seeded Crackers
Makes 3 dozen

1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Enough water and pastry brush to wet rolled out dough before seeds are applied.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour - scant
1 teaspoon table salt
3 tablespoons olive oil or oil of your preference
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 450F.
Mix seeds in a small bowl and set aside. Do not add the salt at this point as you sprinkle by hand.
In a food processor:
Add the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and table salt and pulse to combine.
Add the oil and 1/2 cup water and pulse until combined and crumbly but comes together when pressed against the side of the bowl.
On a lightly floured work surface gather dough into a uniform mass then separate dough into thirds.
Store dough under a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming.
Roll the first third of dough into a 1/16th inch thick 8 x 14 inch rectangle.
Keep your work surface well floured to prevent the dough from sticking. Your dough should move freely on the rolling surface.
Cut dough with a knife or pizza cutter in half then into rectangles 2 x 4 inches or to your preference.
Brush dough with water and sprinkle with 1/3 of seed mixture and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt.
Press the seeds and salt into the crackers with light pressure so they stay on the crackers.
Transfer crackers to a baking sheet.
Tip:  I roll my dough out on parchment paper minding that it doesn't stick and cut carefully so as not to go through the paper.  I then can move the whole sheet onto my baking pan (rimless cookie sheet), then I just move the crackers slightly to give them a bit of room.
Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until browned.
Cool on wire rack (slide the parchment straight onto the rack).
Store crackers in airtight container or zipper plastic bag.




Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking December 2007

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