Whole Wheat Crackers

Its a great feeling making your own crackers. You know exactly what is in them, and you can customize them to your tastes and nutrition requirements. I like to use whole wheat flour in just about anything I use flour in. Sometimes I question what “whole wheat” means when it is advertised on packages, and I dislike not recognizing ingredients on the packages of my food. So I started making my own crackers. Simple, yet more delicious than any cracker I can remember. I believe it was because I made them and I knew they were good for me, and I could season them as I pleased.

I haven’t made these crackers in quite a while. They are a rather simple creation, but unless you have a large oven and lots of counter space it can take a bit of time. It’d compare it to making Christmas cookies. Rolling them out, cutting the shapes, decorating a bit if desired, and rotating trays in the oven every 12 or so minutes. Its simple, but you need to have the time and patience.

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Although they may take some time, if you have a free Saturday, or evening with your friends or family and feel like getting flour all over the place, I recommend giving it a try. Its not hard. If you’ve got it in you, make a lot and store them in an airtight container for later. They’re great for dipping and spreading all kinds of delicious things like hummus, cheeses, tapenades. These make me feel good about snacking.

Whole Wheat Crackers

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or what you prefer)
1/2 t salt
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup water
Optional toppings: sea salt, sesame seeds, black pepper, lime zest, rosemary, hot paprika, zaatar, grated cheese

Directions:
Sift together the salt and flour. Whisk in the olive oil until absorbed. Add water and mix until all together. Turn out onto a clean, floured surface and kneed for a minute. Roll into a ball and cover with a clean dish towl and let the dough rest for a half an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Roll out the dough until thin as a Christmas cookie, or thiner if you prefer an extra crispy cracker.

Sprinkle with desired toppings and press them into the dough gently. Cut into desired shapes. Using a fork, dot dough with a few holes (to prevent bubbles from forming, if you mind that), and it also makes it look pretty. Transfer carefully to a baking sheet, and bake about 10-12 minutes until golden.

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Red Onion Rosemary Flatbread

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I don’t know if I would call this a cracker, a flat bread, or just an attempt to save some leftover bread dough that didn’t fit into our tiny toaster oven. After I made a loaf of my bran bread, I had a softball-sized wad of dough just sitting in the fridge. I was going to bake a mini-loaf, but then thinking about the chickpea salad we were having for dinner, realized a cracker might for spreading the garlic and the juices at the bottom of the bowl. So I rolled the chilled dough out as flat as I could get it, and rubbed it with olive oil on both sides. Chopped some fresh rosemary from my herb garden (the first harvest yet!), slivered some red onion, and sprinkled on some queso seco (finely grated parmasean or romano would work perfectly), and sea salt. Baked it for 20 minutes until crisp, and cut into finger-length pedacitos.

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I won’t post the recipe, because it’s really all to your liking. You may use a bread dough you are comfortable with, you may use pre-made pizza dough, you may even just mix together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon instant yeast (or 1/2 teaspoon baking soda or nothing at all), 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup water, and 2 tablespoons olive oil; mix, let rest for about an hour, and roll out into a thin thin sheet. You can use whatever toppings you like. Many fresh herbs would be lovely on this, such as sage or thyme, but I just wanted to use my new rosemary plant. Be creative, or use what you have around the house.

It’s delicious with hummus, babaganoush, roasted garlic spread, zucchini tatziki, an assortment of cheeses, ect. Yum!!

Bread-base suggestions: my healty bran bread, homemade or packaged pizza dough, a simple dough of flour water and olive oil (see above), or even puff pastry.

Topping suggestions: olive oil, large grain sea salt, cumin and zest of a lime, za’atar, paprika, cayenne, sesame seeds, pine nuts (pressed in), poppy seeds, sliced olives, thyme, rosemary, sage, a variety of cheeses (shredded), thinly sliced red onion.

Bake: 400ºF for 15-20 minutes until crispy, or according to other recipe instructions.