When my old friend, Milton, came by to visit me Saturday, we played “This Little Piggy Went to Market.” We used his feet, not mine, since his were bare and easier to reach. Milton is about to turn one.
As I talked to his mother, Kelsey, the conversation turned to food and blogging. She told me about making her own crackers. Really! I was greatly impressed. I’ve never made a cracker. I never knew anybody, but Nabisco did that sort of thing. Obviously, it take large machinery, patience, and mucho ingredients, right?
No so! I was wrong. Later Kelsey sent me the recipe from Everona Dairy in Virginia. The owner of Everona developed the crackers to accompany the dairy’s award winning cheese. It has 6 ingredients. You most likely have them all on hand: flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, unsalted butter, tap water. These simple ingredients make 100 small crackers.
I Had to Try This
When the recipe arrived, I headed for the kitchen and began scattering flour hither and yon (you know I’m a messy cook from previous references to this character flaw). I was soon doing such unusual things as trying to get dough rolled out thin enough to read through—I never quite got there. I stabbed dough squares with a fork to make those little holes you see in store-bought crackers and sprinkled cinnamon-sugar on some, and pepper or herbs de Provence on others. I even pulled a chair up to the oven window so I could watch what was going on during the 10-minute cooking time.
Now I’ve got a 100 crackers and I just discovered some flour in my hair—not the best look for a woman of my age. Don’t get me wrong the crackers are good, but I’m thinking with just a little more effort I could’ve make a yeasty loaf of bread. I read that without preservatives they only last several days. Now if Milton visited more often, I’d have a much greater incentive to make these crackers.
I now have about 80 left. Hmm. . . I could use them with some soup. That would be very nice. But after that into the meatloaf they go.
Everona Market Crackers
- 2 cups flour, plus more as needed
- 3/4 tsp. sugar
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 4 Tbs (half stick) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature
- 1/2 hot tap water, or as needed
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin.Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse several times to combine. With the machine running, add enough hot water to form a smooth, soft ball, stopping to check the texture before you add all of the water; you might not need all of it. (Alternatively, whisk the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in the butter, then stir in the hot water.)
Turn the dough out onto the work surface and knead it quickly and lightly. Divide into fourths and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
Working with one portion at a time, use floured rolling pin to roll dough out as thinly as possible on work surface (re-flour as needed). Ideally, the dough should be translucent enough so that you can see the work surface underneath it. You can pick up the dough and rotate it as needed in between rollings, but don’t turn it over.
Sprinkle dough with a little flour. Fold dough carefully 2 or 3 times, transfer it to a baking sheet and unfold it to cover the sheet. Use a pastry cutting wheel or sharp knife to quickly slice dough into approximately 1 1/2-inch squares, cutting the whole sheet in one direction first, then the other. Use tines of a fork to prick each cracker several times. You can remove any trimmed-off pieces at edges and re-roll them later, though they will be a little tougher in texture.
Bake 6 to 10 minutes or until crackers turn golden and light brown around the edges. (You might need to bake the crackers on the inside of the sheet a little longer, because they will not brown as readily.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat to use all of the dough.
Cool completely before serving or storing.
Oat/Wheat Crackers: Follow the basic recipe, using 1 1/2 cups of flour and adding 1/4 cup of old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats and 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour.
Cocoa Crackers: Use 1 3/4 cups of flour and 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder.
Corn Spice Crackers: Substitute 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons yellow cornmeal for an equal amount of the flour, and add red pepper flakes or taco flavoring to taste.
Pepper Crackers: Add about 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper.
Herb Crackers: Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crumbled herbes de Provence.
Cinnamon Spice Crackers: Sprinkle the crackers with a blend of ground cinnamon and sugar on the baking sheet before they go in the oven.