Thursday, August 22, 2013

Something From Nothing #15: Crispy Cocktail Crackers

You just might find this hard to believe, but I have the reputation of being, uh, shall we say, "thrifty". I'm not the least bit embarrassed by this.  I'm actually pretty proud of that fact, because this is why I can usually find a way to make something pretty good from not much of anything at all.

Fact is, you really don't need to spend much to make something delicious.  I hope that my Something From Nothing series proves that point and even helps you out when you find yourself in a culinary pinch. I've made main courses, breads, and desserts that hopefully don't cost you much money or an extra trip to the store.

Today's recipe is no exception.  This easy little cracker recipe is the answer if you ever need something to nibble on with drinks or just an extra little something to accompany a soup or salad.

True to this series, you can make these plain with just a couple of ingredients or throw in any spices, herbs, seeds or cheese that you might have on hand. If you are out to impress, this super simple little recipe is going to do the trick.  Just wait until you see the reaction when you tell everyone that you made these.

Rosemary and Seeded Crackers

Crispy Cocktail Crackers

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting rolling surface
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water
Kosher salt for topping (optional)
Herbs, spices or seeds (suggestions follow)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place flour and salt in a medium size bowl and stir well to combine.  Add oil and water and stir to make a soft dough.  Add a small amount of water at a time if dough seems dry and crumbly.  Divide into thirds.  Cover with plastic.

Dust rolling surface liberally with flour.  Take one piece of the dough and form it into a square.  Place it on floured surface and roll into a rectangle that is about 1/16" thick.  It should measure about 8" x 12".  With a knife or pizza cutter, cut into pieces measuring about 2" x 4".  I tried cutting mine into triangles and the tips seemed to burn before the wider parts were cooked, so I advise sticking with rectangles or squares for more even cooking.

Place dough on a non-stick cookie sheet, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt if desired and bake on the lowest rack in your oven for 5 - 10 minutes.  Cooking times will vary depending on how thick you roll your dough, so watch the first batch very carefully so you can better estimate your cooking times. Bake until crackers puff in places and they are a light brown.  Cool.

Repeat with remaining dough one third at a time.

Rolled thin and sprinkled with seeds, these crackers are now ready for the oven.

Serving suggestions:

For seeded crackers:  Mix 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons poppy seeds and 2 teaspoons fennel seeds together.  Just before baking, brush cracker dough lightly with water.  Sprinkle seeds evenly over the dough before baking.  Bake as directed.

Flavored crackers:  Mix flavors such as fresh rosemary, cracked black peppercorns, Parmesan cheese or dried herb blends (I like herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning) to taste into the dry ingredients before adding the liquid.  Roll out and cook as directed above.

Makes about 3 dozen medium size crackers

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