I love to make condiments and snacks when I do my cooking projects. A meal is so ephemeral - it's here and then it's gone, that I prefer to make simple dishes for my meals and save my big projects for something longer lasting. So, cereals, dessert treats, snacks , preserves, and condiments are projects I love to sink my teeth into.
I found a simple recipe for crackers and decided to try it out. They looked more hearty than the sunflower seed crackers I prepared before. With those, the taste was just not worth the effort of working with the phyllo dough.
These crackers were fairly easy. At least, the dough was very simple to make and the topping. The only part that was difficult for me was the rolling out and cutting, as I didn't really have an adequate work space to pull it off. I ended up making a mess of my dining room table rolling out the dough to the appropriate size and flatness. I never could quite get it to go in a real rectangle, so the edge crackers were a slightly interesting shape. But hey, the recipe said to be rustic, and these were definitely rustic.
The cooking of the crackers ended up being an eyeballing process, because my oven is terrible and some of them came out ... let's say that some came out better than others, at first, but in the end I managed to get them to the right amount of done.
Then, J. and I indulged in a tradition we have from time to time, where in lieu of dinner we just kind of make a living room picnic and have a little party in front of the television. We broke out our bottle of Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne, some fine cheeses of the Laughing Cow and Trader Joe's variety, and some fruit, and went to town. Unfortunately, this meant the crackers didn't last much longer than a meal, so my goal of savoring my baking accomplishment wasn't quite met, but the crackers were enjoyed to the fullest and that will have to do.
- 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
- 2 tsp. poppy seeds
- 2 tsp. fennel or caraway seeds
- 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. table salt
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2. MAKE THE TOPPING: In a small bowl, stir the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and fennel or caraway seeds. Fill another small bowl with water and set it aside, along with a pastry brush and kosher salt.
3. MAKE THE DOUGH: In a large bowl, whisk the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and table salt. Add olive oil and 1/2 cup water to flour; stir with a rubber spatula until it collects into a soft crumbly ball of dough. Use the spatula or your hands to press the dough against the sides of the bowl to gather all the stray flour.
4. Set the dough on a lightly floured work surface and portion it into thirds. Pat each portion into a square. Set two squares aside and cover with a clean towel. Roll the remaining dough into a rectangle about 1/16" thick and 7 or 8" wide by 14 or 15" long. Whenever you feel resistance, lift up the edge of the dough and sprinkle more flour underneath before rolling.
5. With a pastry brush, brush the dough lightly with water and sprinkle about 1/3 of the seed mix evenly over the surface. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of kosher salt. With a dough scraper, pizza cutter, or sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise and then cut across to make rectangles roughly 2x4". Don't bother trimming the edges - rustic edges add character! Transfer to an unlined baking sheet. Bake until nicely browned, about 10 min. Let cool on a wire rack.
6. While each batch is baking, clean your work surface as needed and repeat rolling and cutting with remaining portions of dough. Store cooled crackers in a zip-top plastic bag. They will keep for up to a week.
NOTE: Dough can be frozen for up to a month and thawed at room temperature.