Thursday, March 7, 2013

Home Made Olive Oil Crackers {Seeded Semolina and Honey Raisin}

About a month back, I posted a little recipe for fruit snacks made in my kitchen and not in a factory.  They were a hit with my boys and since then have become one of my top posts ever.  I'm thrilled to pieces over it-  both the recipe and the response to it.  I suppose it means that more of us hard working moms are trying to find a way to give our kids better food that tastes good too.  I'm trying to do better in my home, though not always successfully and I am far from perfect.  But in a world where trustworthy dairy officials are trying to convince the FDA that milk should have added sweeteners that aren't listed on any label, any attempt at making "real food" is worth it in my book.  So here comes home made favorite #2- crackers.
This is not my first foray into cracker making.  I've tried graham crackers (not my best effort) and Smitten Kitchen's goldfish crackers (much, much better).  But like cookie making, they require a stint in the fridge and a lot of rolling and cutting.  Fine when you have plenty of time, but I don't always have plenty of time.  Case in point, a day in the not so distant past when I had a tub of hummus calling my name at lunch time.  A quick search of the pantry revealed that my carb-loving kiddos had eaten all of my pretzels and pita chips, so I was left dipper-less.  But with a recipe like this one in my back pocket, I was able to whip up a warm bowl of crackers in about an hour and without a whole lot of effort.  Thin, crispy, kinda healthy and just right for swiping through my hummus.  Not too shabby.
Home Made Olive Oil Crackers
Makes about 4 dozen crackers.  Master recipe from 101 Cookbooks.
For the printable recipe, click here.

I've made both plain crackers and flavored crackers using this recipe.  The boys love the plain crackers sprinkled with just a touch of sea salt.  I think each type has its place and is equally tasty.  The plain are great for eating right out of hand.  The seeded are great dippers (especially in hummus) and the honey raisin are wonderful smeared with a dab of fresh goat cheese.  There are endless variations you could make on these- add some grated cheese or a beloved spice mix.  I've used semolina flour in my crackers as per the master recipe and I love the extra crunch and flavor it gives.  If you don't have any, go ahead and substitute it with white whole wheat or all purpose flour.  The texture will be slightly different, but they will still be awesome.

Master recipe:
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat or all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil

For the seeded crackers (add with the dry ingredients):
3 tbs seeds of your choice (I used sesame, chia and flax seeds)

For the honey raisin (add with the liquid ingredients):
2 tbs honey
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped

You can either mix these by hand or with a mixer.  Simply stir together the flours and sea salt.  Add the water and olive oil and mix until the ingredients come together to form a sturdy, slightly tacky but not sticky dough.  Knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured surface, roll it into a ball and then cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Cut the dough into 8 pieces.  Cover the pieces you aren't working with.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough as thinly as you can (you can also use a pasta roller to roll out the dough, rolling until you reach setting #4).  Cut the dough into squares or the shape of your choice using a knife, pizza cutter or cookie cutter.  Place the crackers on the cookie sheet and brush with a bit of water.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake until nicely golden (6-8 minutes).  Let cool before eating for a good crackery texture.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.  These don't have any preservatives, so they don't last long without losing their "snap".

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