Of all the dishes and items that I’ve been wanting to make at home rather than purchase from a store (pasta and croissants, for example), crackers just never seemed to cross my mind. Not that I reach for those bright red boxes of Cheez-Its very often anyway, but once I saw these homemade crackers on Dinner of Herbs, I decided that I would give it a go. Plus, they would be the perfect addition to the picnic I was packing for a girls’ night out at the Hollywood Bowl. As it turned out, they were easy to make while seeming deceptively impressive to friends and guests.
Instead of wheat crackers, however, I ended up using this Smitten Kitchen recipe for the basic dough ratios and took off from there. Parmesan and thyme sounded like a great classic combination for those starting out, and they certainly blow those neon orange assembly-line squares out of the water! But soon, I’ll try my luck at some more daring flavor combinations – perhaps parmesan, parsley, and truffle salt, like a deconstructed order of truffle frites. Oh, I can feel the wheels turning…
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated parmesan
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1-2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 cup cream (I watered down heavy whipping cream and it worked fine; you can use half & half as well)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, parmesan, butter, salt, and thyme. Continue pulsing until the butter has been broken down and the mixture resembles finely crushed breadcrumbs.
Step 2: Cover your work area with a large sheet of parchment paper. Turn out the contents of the food processor and make a well in the center. Add the cream.
Step 3: Knead gently to distribute the cream. There should be just enough moisture that it comes together like a dough. If it is still crumbly, add more cream or water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Step 4: Roll the dough into a thin sheet, no thicker than 1/4 inch. If the dough starts to stick to the rolling pin, lightly dust with flour.
Step 5: Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, cut the rolled-out dough into square pieces, approximately 1 to 1.5-inches. Don’t worry about the rough edges – you can either ball up the scraps, re-roll, and re-cut, or just bake them as is. Imperfect crackers are still delicious crackers.
Step 6: Arrange the crackers about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. They will rise and puff up a bit while baking.
Step 7: Using the tines of a fork, gently dock each cracker a few times to prevent them from puffing up into pillows.
Step 8: Sprinkle with a bit of salt (I used Himalayan pink salt). Bake in the 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes. I rotated the pans halfway through (swapping the trays that were on the top and bottom racks and turning them 180 degrees before returning to the oven) to promote even baking.
Step 9: Let the baked crackers cool on a wire rack. You can serve them warm, but if you plan to store them for later, wait until they are completely cooled and transfer them to an airtight container.
Step 10: Bon appetit! These homemade crackers are more dense and crumbly than the store-bought kind, and they are packed full of flavor. Great on their own for snacking or as accompaniments to a charcuterie board at your next wine & cheese party. Try it – you’ll never go back to buying those cardboard boxes again. Yields about 40 crackers.
This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. I, for one, am glad to have tried making homemade crackers, and you can bet that I’ve since left that aisle of the grocery store and will never look back. In fact, I’ve already made this recipe twice in the past few weeks!
This month is hosted by Marija at Palachinka.