Thursday, January 1, 2009
Crazy for Crackers
Confession: I've been making homemade crackers since my kids were little. It was not because I was a devoted Martha acolyte, it was simply because I didn't want to wrangle three kids aged four and under in snowsuits to go to the grocery store. (The memory still haunts me.)
At that time, I used a recipe from the FOOD THAT REALLY SCHMECKS series by Edna Staebler. It was really easy, and they tasted better than anything in the store, so I made them for years. But then I got lazy and started buying these lavash crackers, which are delicious but expensive considering how fast my now-grown kids hoover them up. Recently, I saw this recipe for spelt crackers in the NYT mag, so I'm back to making them again. Unlike Edna's, these are 100% no-fat and healthy. You control how much salt goes on them and what add-ons you want on top. Don't be afraid. All you need is a rolling pin and the guts to face your friends when they mock you for doing what you're about to do.
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 tsp table salt
1 1/2 cups wholegrain spelt flour (sold in the organic section, usually)
Put the water and salt in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Fluff the flour before measuring because it's really dense, then stir it into the water. Dump it on a floured counter and knead it a bit, just enough to stick together. Either place the dough on an inverted 12" x 17" cookie sheet which you've spread with a bit of flour and roll it directly on the back on the back of the pan, or roll it on the floured counter, then fold and lift it back on the sheet. It will end up being the size of the pan, edge to edge. Brush off any excess flour. Spray it with water or pat water onto it with your hands (which allows the seeds to stick) then prick all over with a fork. Score with a pizza wheel so the crackers come out in pieces.
Now you get to be creative. Sprinkle the dough with - flaked sea salt, sesame seeds (I use a jar of the roasted black/white seeds found in the sushi department,) caraway seeds, garlic powder, fennel seeds, black cumin seeds, Cajun spice - basically whatever makes your toes curl.
Bake at 350F until dough is crisp and golden, 15 - 25 minutes, but check after 10 minutes to make sure they don't overcook.
Be prepared to make these over and over until your arms fall off.
Happy New Year everyone!
If you want to see a video of these being made, go HERE