Cracker, please

Rosemary and olive oil crackers

I made my own crackers the other day. I was was going to a picnic, and I decided that if I made my own stuff I wouldn’t have to go to the shops. It’s kind of reverse laziness because going to the shops and buying crackers would have taken far less time. Still, it was pretty easy and the crackers were just as good as any I’ve ever bought. They’re hardly a main feature anyway; they’re really (if we’re honest) just a vessel for carrying dips and cheese. If cardboard were crunchier you could probably just cut it into squares and sprinkle salt on it and no one would notice. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a good cracker, I’m just realistic about what their function is… and perhaps I tend to overload them.

These crackers did actually taste nice though, and if you have the time and want to boast to your friends that you made crackers from scratch (don’t tell them it’s easy), they’re worth making. Or if you’re on a tight budget and/or don’t like leaving the house more times in one day than absolutely necessary or interacting with the wider community, these are for you.

As a side note, crackers always make me think of this:

Rosemary and olive oil crackers
Adapted from the book Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon
Makes about 70 crackers

1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt, plus extra to sprinkle on the tops of the crackers
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tbs rosemary leaves, chopped finely
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water

Put all ingredients, except water, in a food processor and blend until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Slowly add water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts to form a ball, like this:

Cracker dough in food processor

Pull the dough out of the food processor and shape it into a ball with your hands. You might want to cover them in a bit of flour first.

Cracker dough

Cut the dough in half and shape into two square-ish pieces, kind of like this:

Cracker dough squares

Wrap each of the pieces in plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the dough out of the fridge, and, one piece at a time, roll out on a floured surface until thin. I made mine pretty thin, about a couple of millimetres, but you can make them thicker if you want – you’ll just need to bake them for longer. Try to keep the dough relatively square. If you don’t have a rolling pin, I find a wine bottle works just fine, and luckily, there’s always one on hand…

Rolling pin

When you’ve rolled it out, cut it into squares (or whatever shape you want). I used a pizza cutter and the baking paper box to make somewhat uniform crackers. Prick each cracker with a fork a couple of times.

Measuring cracker dough

Carefully transfer the crackers onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. They can be pretty close together when you bake them.

Crackers on baking tray

Sprinkle each cracker with a little bit of salt and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. This can take up to 20 minutes if you have thick crackers. Remove from the oven and let cool on a baking rack. Once they’re completely cool you can store them in an airtight container. Apparently they last up to a week, but mine were eaten in three days.

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