Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Sometimes by the time Sunday rolls around I’ve got that eaten-too-much feeling. You know it? Maybe it was the French bakery visit Saturday morning…or the chocolate cake photo shoot (!) … or the red wine and creamy pasta Saturday night…
At any rate, by the time Sunday evening comes around I want something light-ish, easy, and maybe even something I could send with Robbie to work for lunch the next couple of days.
Here’s a great recipe for artisan-type crackers that would cost you a gazillion dollars were you to buy them at the shop. I originally got the recipe from the great, great, great blog 101 Cookbooks. Since first seeing the recipe, I've played around with different flour types and toppings... The original recipe uses semolina, which is really yummy but a little more expensive. So, your choice really.
We had this batch with a few dips (hummus, baba ganoush, pumpkin) for dinner and then slathered with peanut butter for a snack the next day! These look (and taste) great with cheese platters and antipasto too.
Easy Fancy Olive Oil Crackers
1 1/2 c unbleached white flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 c warm water
1/3 c olive oil
*You can use all white or all wheat flour or kamut or spelt… just adjust moisture of dough in step 2.
**Try to use organic ingredients when you can
- Mix flour and salt in a large bowl, then add water and olive oil. Mix with a fork until the dough starts sticking together, then use your hands. Once you can get the dough into a ball-like shape, take it out of the bowl and knead it on a lightly floured bench top (or cutting board).
- You are only going to have to knead until the dough is smooth (see the photo). It won’t take long, I promise. I’m not a big fan of kneading, so trust me when I say this is really minimal here. If it’s too sticky (as in, it adheres to your hands) then add a little bit more flour. If it’s too dry (as in, it crumbles) then add a little bit more water.
3. If you can, let your dough rest for around 30-60 min (cover it with a clean tea towel). But I’m impatient, so I’ve done this without letting it rest at all and the crackers have been fine.
4. Preheat oven to 200 C, 450 F.
5. Divide dough into 12-ish balls, then one by one roll them out as thinly as you can. If you have a pasta maker, use it on the thickest setting (mine is “7”) for really great, shall I say "meaty" crackers in no time at all. (The original recipe goes for much thinner ones but I like mine to have a certain heft to them.) Don’t worry about making them look perfect … I remember having thick, curvy crackers with dips as an appetizer at a fancy restaurant and the rustic look was great.
6. Lay your rolled out crackers on a warmed pizza stone or baking paper-lined tray, prick them a couple times with a fork (so they don’t puff) and put them in the oven for about 10 min till they’re lovely and golden.
7. Feel free to add seeds or salt or herbs or whatever to these before you put them in the oven. Experiment! I recommend smushing the toppings into the dough a bit, as I've had issues with toppings sliding off after baking.
8. These will keep for a week or so in a sealed container.
How much did they cost?
I bought organic white ($2.95/kg) and whole wheat ($3.95/kg) flour from the bulk section of my local natural foods store—the flour used in this recipe cost less than $1.50. The organic olive oil was a bulk refill from the same shop, and the amount used here cost around $1.00. So, if you want to save money on fancy crackers (which run around $8 for a pack of 6!), try making them yourself. Believe me, you will seriously impress your family and friends!