Last Saturday, Scott and I did a cooking demo at Foster’s Homewares in Old City Philadelphia. We’ve been doing these for nearly two full years now, a live version of Fork You, our online cooking show. We made a small array of nibbly little appetizers, things that would be perfect to serve at a holiday party or to bring with you to some seasonal potluck. They were also all virtuously cheap.
On the menu was a caramelized onion and thyme jam (served on some baguette toasts), a warm cranberry-orange compote that I poured over a log of goat cheese and some homemade crackers that we used to eat the cranberries and cheese. The results were delicious and those that had braved the snow happily ate up all that we made.
As I was planning out those recipes, I kept thinking that bringing the homemade cracker recipe to this blog wasn’t an entirely bad idea. You see, as delicious as it is to give someone a jar of homemade jam or chutney for the holidays, sometimes you want to bring balance to the offering with a nice, easy vehicle for your handmade spread. If you’re really feeling generous, you can also include a nice round or wedge of cheese that will pair nicely with the jam (feel free to copy me and get yourself a log of nice, mild chevre. It goes with just about any sweet preserve).
The other thing about homemade crackers is that they impress people to no end. Give them jam and they’re happy, but tell them you made the crackers and their jaws just drop. I took a platter of these crackers to a party on Saturday night and when I told people that they were a product of my kitchen, they were floored. It was as if I had demonstrated an ability to fly that simply required some speedy arm flapping.
If you have enough spares, feel free to package the crackers in jars for gifting. A wide mouth quart jar of crackers (perhaps with the recipe tucked inside, so that they can replenish the stash when they’re all gone) paired with a jar of homemade spread would be such a treat.
If your holiday gift fund doesn’t stretch to cover another dozen jars, another nice way to package the crackers is to put them in a zip top bag that you then tuck into a small-ish brown paper bag. The plastic bag keeps the air out and the paper one maintains the rustic, homemade look. If you have kids, you can give them the project of decorating the paper bags (prior to putting the crackers in them), so that they’re all colorful and unique.
The recipe for the crackers is after the jump. Enjoy!
For the Crackers
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt add a bit more if you like a saltier cracker
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup water
For the Spice/Seed Blend
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed
- Pre-heat over to 450 degrees.
- Combine the flours and salt in a bowl. Add the olive oil and water and stir until you have a cohesive ball of dough (you’ll need to use your hands to really get it all together). Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
- While you wait, mix up a spice/seed blend (skip this if you want plain, salted crackers). Sometimes, I’ll swap out rosemary for the fennel and add some salt to this combo for a slightly different take.
- After the dough has rested a bit, divide it into two pieces, flour a board and rolling pin and roll the dough out until it’s as thin as you can get it. Put on a parchment-covered cookie sheet, brush with water and sprinkle with your spice/seed mixture or salt (kosher or a coarse sea salt is best here). Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into squares or diamonds and bake for 10-12 minutes).
- Let the crackers cool completely and then store them in an airtight container. If you don’t eat them all up, they’ll last at least a week on the counter. They are also delicious sprinkled with parmesan cheese.
What a great holiday gift idea (jar, crackers and recipe!) Thanks for sharing!
This is perfect for the “rustic food” mood I’ve been in lately! Thanks.
I love this! I’ve been on a cheese-making kick and this is the perfect accompaniment for a gift.
Kate, I’m so glad you like it!
Anne, you can make them even more rustic by skipping the cutting step prior to baking. Instead, poke them with the tines of a fork at varying intervals. When they come out of the oven, break them apart into manageable pieces.
Lisa, they are magic with regular, old store bought cheese. I can only imagine how transcendent they’d be with homemade!
It is strange but true that non cooking types are beyond impressed with crackers. Those non cooking types are funny.
I make these all the time but roll them into large rounds to keep the work down. You’ve just convinced me though the cutting is worth the effort. They look great! And no grubby little fingers grabbing the wheel to break off a piece..
Joy, it is so, so true.
Sustainable Eats, cutting the crackers before baking them takes all of 30 seconds and does leave you with really nice shaped crackers.
re: The caramelized onion jam…do you normally use yellow onions? (I’m guessing they’d be sweeter than white.)
This is awesome, please keep the holiday gifts ideas coming!
Oh my, the crackers look so freaking easy. I could totally do this. If you want a salty top on the cracker, like a saltine, do you sprinkle additional salt on top? I’m figuring the answer is yes but just want to be sure.
Wendy, yep you just brush your unbaked crackers with water and then sprinkle salt on top.
If you have a pasta roller, just roll the dough through that and save the time of working with the rolling pin!
Jenn, you’re right, a pasta roller would work well here. I don’t have one, and so make due with my rolling pin. Luckily, this dough rolls out fairly easily so it doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice to do it that way.
I just made a gluten-free version of your crackers, and they were fantastic! Thank you so much! I haven’t eaten a decent cracker since going gluten free.
I placed my dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper, and it made rolling the dough out so easy! A good trick for anyone who’s having difficulty keeping the dough from sticking to the pin.
What flours did you substitute? I’ve been using a brown rice, tapioca, potato starch combo and thought of using that along with oatmeal flour. Recommendations please!!
I just made the crackers and they’re awesome! We’re having my in-laws over for the first time, and I thought these would go perfectly with my cheese board.
I divided the dough and sprinkled one half with sea salt and ground flax and the other half with sea salt, pepper, poppy seeds, garlic powder and fennel. Both are excellent! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us!
Crackers rock. You rock!
Janet, sorry I missed answering your question earlier. I just used plain yellow onions for my onion jam. However, I’m sure that white or sweet onions would be just as good.
Andrea, I’m delighted to hear that they were so easy to convert to gluten-free!
Mel, I’m so glad they worked out so well for you!
Julia, aww, thanks!
I know this may be a silly thing to ask since crackers get eaten fairly quickly, but for gifting reasons: how long do you figure these will stay fresh after baking? I’ve made other recipes that kept a week, but just curious.
Also, if anyone making these has a pasta machine, I echo Jenn: it does work miracles for rolling super thin and even! I’ve used that method on other recipes- and will most certainly give it a go with yours!
Rcakewalk, They definitely keep at least a week. In large part, the length of time they’re good depends on how you store them. The more airtight the seal of your bag, jar or plastic container, the better your shelf life.
Those look yummy!
I didn’t need any further convincing once I saw that photo. I am going to make these RIGHT NOW!
P.S. Nice pyrex you have there 😉
These are ridiculously good!!! Love the sesame,poppy,garlic, fennel combo!
I have never thought about crackers. I am going to try this over the weekend!
The Carmelized Onion Thyme Jam sounds fantastic. How long will it keep? I’d love to bring this as a hostess gift, but not sure how quickly it will be eaten.
Maureen, I’ve made all manner of caramelized onion condiments in the past and while they rarely last that long (because they are delicious), I have found that they can keep in the fridge for 10-14 days.
oh yum! I love homemade crackers. and I agree that people go bat-shit for them. which is hilarious considering they are super quick and easy to make and uhm …. jam? not so much.
thanks for this, a great gift idea!
those crackers were wonderful!
I made these today and immediately blogged about them. I will NEVER go back to Triscuits again! These are so good! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
(I linked to your recipe…hope that is OK)
I just want to thank you for inspiring me to try so many new things in the kitchen! I made these crackers yesterday and they’re almost entirely finished. Delicious! I would’ve never thought to make crackers, granola, or creme fraiche had I not been following your blog. You rock!
Just made these…YUMMY! Especially with hummus
I know I’m late to post, but I wonder if these would be ok with all whole-wheat? I just acquired a grain mill and am trying to get off of store-bought flour. Thanks!
I am going to make these immediately! I have been searching for cracker recipes to make because I refuse to buy them in the stores anymore. They are expensive and have tons of ingredients that I don’t want in my food, or my body. I have a recipe for homemade gold fish crackers that I love but no recipe for a basic cracker. Thank You for sharing this recipe.
Want to take these on a trip next week I am putting in a freezer ziplock and then plastic freezer container so they don’t break then in freezer. I will take out just before I go. I freeze pretzels and chip so I hope this works too!
These look amazing! I have food allergies, and hate to spend double at the health food stores to substitute for the highly processed grocery store staples. I will definitely be trying these out soon! Thanks for sharing this simple recipe!
Thanks! My daughter has celiac disease and cannot have gluten. Does it need to be wheat or could I swap out a mix of brown rice and maybe oatmeal flours? Any recommendations? She misses out on so many yummy foods…