Occasionally, I am saddened by the fact that my children do not know the joy of Handi Snacks. If I weren’t completely off my rocker, I would go to the store and buy some, give them to my kids, and move on. But awhile ago, I decided that I wanted to start making crackers. Again, not a normal thing. But I was curious nonetheless.
It turns out that crackers are extremely easy and quick to make – until you start the rolling out the dough, cutting the dough, and waiting for the first batch to bake so you can put the next one in. All that feels a little too time consuming. But, the results where worth it. Crackers are ubiquitous and treated with disrespect, especially when kids are involved. Making them from scratch just might restore your family’s appreciation for this humble snack. And the lively cheese dip doesn’t hurt either!
For the Cheese Dip:
Adapted from the Pimento Cheese recipe in the Lee Brothers Southern Cookbook.
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 of one roasted red pepper from a jar, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Place the cheddar, red pepper, cream cheese, mayonnaise and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 60 seconds, pausing once to scrap down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, or until the mixture is smooth. Serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 cup
Prep-time: 10 minutes
For the crackers:
Inspired by a recipe for Homemade Saltines at Just Eat It.
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 to 2/3 cup cold water
Flaky sea salt or kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place the flours, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a 5 – 10 seconds. Add the chunks of butter to the flour mixture. Pulse for 5 – 10 seconds until the butter is broken down into large crumb-sized pieces. With the processor running, slowly pour in the water stopping when the dough is uniformly wet. It will not form into a ball, but some of the dough may gather into clumps.
Remove the dough from the food processor. With your hands, work it into a ball. Take a handful of dough from the ball and roll it out with a rolling pin on a well-floured work surface. Roll it out to 1/16 of an inch or as thin as you can get it. Try to keep your thickness uniform so the crackers will bake evenly.
Cut the rolled dough into rectangles and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Prick each cracker two or three times with a fork and sprinkle liberally with salt.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to turn a golden brown, rotating once during baking. Transfer to a cooling rack. Serve or store in an airtight container.
Yield: 100 crackers
Prep-time: 30 minutes
Bake-time: 8 minutes