Snacks & Treats
Easy Snack: Homemade Crackers
BY JULIE VAN ROSENDAAL, Dinner with Julie
Jul 7, 2017
When it comes to home baking, why should cookies get all the attention? Homemade crackers are to the boxed kind what homemade cookies are to bagged — they just taste better, and it’s nice to be able to customize them according to your taste, what you’re serving, or what you happen to have in the house. Homemade crackers are even easier to make than cookies, and it’s nice to have something that’s fast and easy to stir, roll and cut on hand when you’re short on snacks. And crackers keep well, so you can stash some on the countertop and also feel good about not adding boxes and bags to the recycling bin.
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Most crackers are plain, seasoned with salt and perhaps sesame or flax seeds; fancier versions are adorned with nuts and cheese, perhaps fresh or dried herbs and really anything goes. But if you start with some grainy flour, like whole wheat, oat or barley, the flavour of the grain really comes through, and makes a tasty base for topping with cheese, spreading with peanut butter, or crumbling into your soup. And little kids like to keep flavours simple, so you can start with plain and go from there.
Yes, you could cut shapes with a cookie cutter, but the dough will be slightly more difficult to cut into shapes than the kind that’s loaded with butter and sugar — and if you’re going for more intricate shapes, watch for the pointy bits.
Homemade Wheat Thins
Use this as a basic template and add finely chopped nuts, seeds and seasonings to customize your own. Experiment with nut oils too for a different flavour base.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat or barley flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup canola or olive oil
- 1 cup water
- coarse salt, for sprinkling (optional)
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the canola oil and water and mix until you have a soft dough. Divide the dough in half and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Sprinkle with salt (and a pinch of dry herbs, if you like) and roll gently to help it adhere to the surface.
Transfer the whole thing onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut into squares with a pizza wheel or knife; don’t bother to separate them. Prick each cracker a few times with a fork and toss the rough scraps around the edge. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Makes about 8 dozen crackers.
Cheddar Sesame Crackers
Whole wheat flour gives these a nutty flavour and adds fibre, but use all purpose if you like. Old cheddar has a much more intense flavour than the medium or mild varieties, so you don’t need as much of it.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup grated old cheddar cheese
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2-4 tbsp of water
- sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Combine the flour, cheese and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add the oil and pulse again. (Alternately, use a fork or whisk in a regular bowl). Add the water and pulse until it looks well blended and crumbly.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and gather it into a ball. Roll the dough out about 1/8-inch thick; sprinkle with sesame seeds and roll again to help them adhere. Cut into 1-inch squares with a pizza cutter or knife. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and prick each cracker with a fork. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden.
Makes about 5 dozen crackers.
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