Why would I make my own crackers when there are sooo many varieties from which to choose?
Pick just one type of cracker and you’ll find variation: whole wheat; reduced salt; snack-pac; mini’s…take your pick!
The first time I ever heard of someone making crackers was Gina! This was back in our university days – one year, we got together over the Christmas holidays at Gina’s parents’ house, and Gina had baked up crackers that day. To be honest, Gina, I remember being confounded as to why someone would go to the bother of baking crackers when it was so easy and cheap to buy them!
True: in the last few years, companies have “healthified” their snacky carbs – you’re unlikely to find trans fats in crackers any more. But a lot of crackers taste like a version of salty cardboard, no?
Today that changed. I am now enlightened. I am a convert, and a believer.
I found a recipe in the More With Less Cookbook that seemed neither too complex nor too radical in terms of taste. [Sidenote: this cookbook is a standard find in many a Mennonite household - my note in the front cover tells me I received mine from The Brother at Christmas 1994! MWL is also the "older sibling" to the Simply In Season cookbook that Gina gifted me last week!]
From the sounds of the recipe, it looked like the final result would be a homemade version of this brand:
Now on with the show!
Here’s the recipe as it appears in the book (with photos and commentary!):
Wheat Thins (More With Less Cookbook; recipe credited to Donna Koehn)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine in mixing bowl:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 T wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder **
- 2 T brown sugar
- 2 T dry milk solids [I used soy milk solids as I got confused at Bulk Barn between instant, non-instant, skim, whole...]
** So I’m assembling the dry ingredients and I notice I am out of baking powder…grrr. Decide that a neighbour must have some. Knock on literally 5 different doors on three different floors – no one is home. Have to scoot over to Valumart for the baking powder. Could have saved time by doing that in the first place! Return with enough for several years:
Cut in with pastry blender:
- 6 T margarine
Combine separately and stir in:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 T molasses
Knead a little until smooth.
Grease two cookie sheets (10 x 15″)…
…and sprinkle each with cornmeal. Divide dough in half.
Roll out half of dough directly onto cookie sheet with floured rolling pin, rolling dime thin.
Sprinkle lightly with paprika, garlic, onion or seasoned salt. Run rolling pin over once more. Prick with fork.
Cut in squares or triangles. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
The recipe states that prep time is 10 minutes. Um, maybe for Ina Garten???! I’d say I spent about 40 minutes, from when I started mixing my ingredients to when I popped the baking sheets in the oven. But then, I’ve never made crackers before, and I know I’m a slow baker to begin with!
Final comments?? These crackers are delicious. Now they are NOT super crunchy, due, I believe, to the thickness I made them, and I could have baked them longer.
But both B and I love the texture and taste: they’re not light like bread, but chewier than a store-bought cracker. B’s favourite is the garlic salt variation while I’m going to give top marks to the regular salted ones.
I would make these again; they’d be great to take to a potluck or a party, esp with a homemade hummus or dip. And now that I’ve been through the process once, I’d make them prettier next go-’round! cutout shapes? heck, I’ll settle for a simple “square” on the tray!
We’re going to enjoy the crackers tonight with the first recipe I have made from Eat Drink and Be Vegan! – Tomato Dill Lentil Soup. Smells like a winner!
Have you ever made a homemade baked good that you can typically buy cheaply and conveniently?
And that’s a wrap on New Experience #1 for this year’s 1970 Kiki Project!