Sunday, August 9, 2009

Worth it.

On Saturday it was 85 degrees out. And really humid, because it was storming on and off all day. So naturally, not having air conditioning, I thought it would be wise to bake.

Specifically, I chose to bake crackers.

In my defense, the decision to bake crackers on this particular Saturday afternoon was made while I was drenched and chilled after running a 5K in the aforementioned stormy weather. And although after a shower and lunch and a nap and an episode of Pushing Daisies I was done feeling chilled, I was still determined to bake crackers.

Because I am stubborn.

And let me just say, even though using the oven raises the temperature in my entire apartment by five to ten degrees, this experiment was worth it.

Rosemary and Olive Oil Crackers
Adapted from Erin Cooks

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the cracker tops
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for the cracker tops
1 egg
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup cold water
1 teaspoon dried chopped rosemary, plus more for the cracker tops

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg and olive oil. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir until the dough starts to form a coarse meal. Add the water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough can be formed into a ball. Add the rosemary and work it into the dough.

On a lightly floured work surface, cut the dough in half. Using your fingers, press each half into a flat square until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap each square in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease two baking sheets.

Return one piece of dough to your lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough, trying to retain its square shape, to a thickness of 1/8 to 1/4 inch. The thinner the dough, the more delicate and crispy the cracker, so work to your taste. Lightly press the dough all over, about every half inch, with the tines of a fork. This will prevent the crackers from bubbling up into little crispy air pockets. Unless you're into little crispy air pockets. But I don't think you are. Lightly brush the top of the dough with water, and then sprinkle extra salt, pepper, and rosemary. Give the dough one or two more gentle rolls with a floured rolling pin to press the toppings into the dough.

Cut the dough into the desired shapes. I went the traditional route and cut mine into squares and rectangles, but you could use mini cookie cutters to create whatever shape you like. Or freestyle it. Y'know, get creative. Just don't hurt yourself.

Transfer the crackers to your prepared baking sheets just like you would with cookies. The crackers will need to bake for 8-20 minutes, until evenly browned. Cooking time will vary by thickness and size. After the first 8 minutes, check the crackers every 3 minute, each time removing any that are done.

Cool the crackers completely and store in an airtight container up to 1 week or more.

I've been eating them with a batch of hummus I put together while the crackers were baking. They seem pretty versatile, so go ahead and try them with your favorite dip. Or eat them plain.

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