(Oops, I accidentally posted this while still in draft form. Here’s something more coherent.)
I had an epic day in the kitchen this week, mostly involving my big sack of New Mexican whole wheat flour. As the snow swirled down outside, I puttered away, making bread and yogurt, then two cherry-peach tarts (with frozen fruit from last summer), then egg noodles and goat milk ricotta for ravioli. I figured while I had the big sack of flour out and getting all over the place, and the oven roaring, I should make some crackers, which after our long deprivation, we seem to inhale by the dozen. It was a day of creativity and sustenance, the steady rhythms of measuring and mixing fueled by inspiration and an adventurousness that used to find its powder day outlet in the mountains rather than in the kitchen with flour flying everywhere.
Maybe crackers seem like an obvious thing to make from scratch, but to me they were a final frontier. So necessary, and yet so…impossible. Or did I think them boring? But they’re lovely and oh so simple (how could they not be given that so many other things that have no business acting like crackers often do?). Best of all they contain only the ingredients I actually want to put in, rather than all the white flour and cane sugar and what all the store-bought ones contain. It should also come as no surprise that they are cheap. This recipe is a simple foundation, a blank canvas for your culinary genius. No part of it is set in stone, and everything is up for adaptation.
Whole Wheat Crackers
2 cups whole wheat flour, or flour of choice. (I like to add in at least a 1/2 cup of cornmeal or rye. Adjust accordingly.)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup melted butter or oil
1 spoonful (you decide which spoon!) honey or molasses
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
About 1 1/2 cup of water, but not all at once.
Note: The right moisture content is key to happy rolling–add water in small amounts until the dough is smooth and elastic. My flour seems like a sponge, it takes in so much moisture (we’re all a little dry here in the high desert) so what works for me might be way too much for you. Do not attempt to roll out crumbly dough. It might make you cry in frustration and curse my name. If the dough becomes too sticky, sprinkle with flour.
Roll dough out thinly, and cut out with cookie cutters or into strips or squares.
They can bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until golden. They might come out a little soft, but will turn crispy when cool.
~ lightly press poppy or sesame seeds into top of rolled dough–we call these birdseed crackers
~replace water with apple juice and add a few dashes of cinnamon
~brush with olive oil and sprinkle on dried herbs and parmesan
~brush with egg and top with raisins and sliced almonds
~replace 1/4 cup butter/oil with 1/4 cup nut butter
~add a dash of your favorite curry spices, and granulated garlic or onions