Crackers

Crackers are the best. You can serve them with fancy spreads and crudites. You can take them on a picnic. You can pack them with cheese for a quick lunch. I love to set them on the table alongside salad and pickles and other light fare, with good salted butter to spread upon them.

My grandma made crackers that were grainy and flaky and wholesome and ever-so-slightly sweet. She cut them into little rectangles to be crunched by the handful. My previous roommate made long, fancy crackers, crunchy with seeds and sprinkled with a mixture of sugar and coarse salt. My own cracker sensibilities have been informed by both of these approaches, as well as by the leisurely lunches at Songhaven farm that usually included a box of Back to Nature Crispy Wheat Crackers (oh lord they are soooo good), accompanied by fresh goat cheese and butter.

A couple weeks back, I had a special dinner guest. I wanted to make her something simultaneously summery and nourishing and satisfying and comforting. So I made a huge salad of romaine and arugula and sugar snap peas and radishes from the farmer’s market, a fritatta with caramelized shallots and kale, and some homemade crackers.

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Crackers are very easy and forgiving. You can change up the grains, add different seasonings, and adjust the oil/water ratio to change the texture (more oil = denser and flakier, less oil = crisper and more ethereal).

pre-bake, za'atar sprinkle
pre-bake, za’atar sprinkle

In my opinion, rustic, asymmetrical crackers are actually way prettier and more impressive-looking.

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Basic Crackers

This recipe makes about 30 big crackers. You can make them smaller, if you want.

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 t kosher salt

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cups seeds (sesame, flax, nigella, sunflower, or a combination)

2 T olive oil

3/4 cup warm water

Seeds or seasonings (such as za’atar, rosemary, cumin, or sumac) for topping (if desired)

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil and water and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together. Turn it out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 3o minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Cut off a piece of dough and roll very thin (1/8th or 1/16th inch). Sprinkle with water and top with seasonings or seeds, if using; lightly roll a rolling pin over the top to make toppings stick. Prick all over with a fork. Cut lengthwise into 2 inch strips and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until crackers are lightly golden. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container up to one week.

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