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Teacher, Photographer, Otaku, Amateur Seamstress, Wifey to B-chan, & Mommy to Monkey Z and Elven M.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Animal Crackers with My Soup

Yes, that was a reference to Shirley Temple...

I have started making crackers following this recipe courtesy of Emma Christiansen @ The Kitchn.

How to Make Crackers at Home
Makes about 100 crackers

What You Need
Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour, or a mix of all-purpose and whole grain flours
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water
Optional topping: 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon sea salt

Equipment
Mixing bowl
Measuring cups and spoons
Sturdy spoon or spatula
Rolling pin
Pastry brush
Pizza cutter or sharp knife
Baking sheet
Dinner fork

Instructions
Heat the oven to 450°F: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 450°F. Sprinkle a baking sheet lightly with flour and set aside.
Mix together the dry ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
Add the oil and water: Add the oil and water to the flour mixture. Stir until a soft, sticky dough is formed. If a lot of loose flour remains in the bottom of the bowl and the surface of the dough, add more water a tablespoon at a time until all the flour is incorporated.
Divide and shape the dough into a square: Divide the dough into two halves and set one half aside. Sprinkle your work surface lightly with flour and set the other half on top. Pat it into a thick square with your hands.
Roll out the dough: Working from the center of the dough out, roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 1/8-inch thick or thinner. If the dough starts to shrink back as you roll it, let it rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes and then continue rolling.
Sprinkle dough with topping (optional): Brush the surface of the dough very lightly with water. Combine the seeds in a small bowl and sprinkle half of them (roughly 1 1/2 tablespoons) evenly over the surface of the dough. See Additional Notes below for additional ideas for toppings and flavorings.
Cut the dough into cracker-sized rectangles: Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into individual crackers roughly 1-inch by 2-inches. Alternatively, cut the crackers into squares, diamonds, or use cookie cutters.
Transfer crackers to baking sheet and prick with fork: Transfer the crackers to the baking sheet using a metal dough scraper or spatula. It's fine to crowd the crackers very close to each other. Prick each cracker with the tines of a fork to prevent them from puffing during baking.
Bake for 12-15 minutes: Bake the crackers in the oven for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are browned. Thinner crackers will bake more quickly than thicker ones; you can remove the crackers as they brown to your liking and continue baking the rest. While the first batch of crackers is baking, roll out and cut the remaining dough.
Cool and store the crackers: Transfer the baked crackers to a wire rack to cool completely. The crackers will crisp further as they cool. Store the crackers in an airtight container on the counter for 3-5 days. If you're crackers are a little old and less-than-crispy, lay them on a baking sheet and put them in a 350°F oven for a few minutes to re-crisp.

Making crackers is surprisingly easy and I get to make fun unusual shapes like whales, hearts, flowers, shells, fish, and dolphins. Since having the kids, I've decided to try to feed them as healthy as possible. I just make a batch of dough and keep it in the refrigerator. Then I roll it out as needed. I also use other flours besides wheat because I can.
We just happened to renew our Costco membership on the day they had a Vitamix demonstration. So, we got the dry container for grinding grains at 30% or 40% off.

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