Cooking tips

How to make your own gourmet crackers

Interested in taking your cheese plates up a notch? Make fancy homemade crackers! Here are two tasty recipes that'll make your cheese plates the envy of the party circuit: Parmesan, garlic & thyme pita crisps, and cranberry-hazelnut crisps.

pita final

Interested in taking your cheese plates up a notch? Make fancy homemade crackers! Here are two tasty recipes that’ll make your cheese plates the envy of the party circuit: Parmesan, garlic & thyme pita crisps, and cranberry-hazelnut crisps.

Parmesan, garlic and thyme pita crackers
Prep 25 min
Total 3 hours 30 min (including rising time)
Makes 70 crackers

Making pita dough from scratch is the only way to get pita crisps to taste like the pros made them — getting those great flavours worked right into the dough  is the secret to super-delicious hot-from-the-oven crackers. Though you can also try the cheater’s method: Simply brush pre-made pita with oil and sprinkle it with herbs before baking to a crunchy finish.

Here’s what to do for the real deal:

1/2 tsp dry active yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp thyme leaves
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp grated garlic

pita dough ball Pita dough cut

 

 

 

 

 

 

POUR 1 1/4 cups warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the water and stir until dissolved. Add 1 cup flour and stir for 30 seconds, or until flour is absorbed. Let mixture sit for 20 min, or up to an hour.

STIR parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper into remaining flour. Add 1 tbsp oil and garlic to yeast mixture. Stir dry ingredients into wet, one cup at a time until the mixture is too stiff to stir. Scrape out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 8 min, or until dough is smooth and elastic. As needed, add more flour to surface to keep dough from sticking.

TRANSFER dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Punch down and flatten into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

POSITION rack in lower third of oven. Preheat to 450F. Grease a 10×15 in. baking sheet.

DIVIDE dough in half, forming two rectangles. Cover one with plastic wrap to reserve. Roll first piece of dough into a 10×15 in. rectangle. Fold over onto a rolling pin and transfer onto prepared baking sheet so dough is lying flat. Trim off any excess. Bake in lower third of oven until just starting to puff and the bottom is golden, 3 to 5 min. Carefully flip the dough and repeat. Remove from oven and carefully lift dough onto a work surface until cool enough to handle, but still warm.

SLICE dough into 1 1/2 in. squares (or desired shape) and return to pan. Brush the top of the crackers with remaining olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt (optional).

RETURN crackers to oven and bake, flipping half-way through until crackers are deep golden and crunchy, 20 to 25 min. Remove and let cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Cranberry – hazelnut crisps
Prep
20 min
Total 2 hours 20 min
Makes 40 crackers

cranberry crisps final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food blogger Dinner with Julie has the developed a recipe that replicates the store-bought variety of these coveted crackers to a perfect fruit & nut finish. I’ve made some small modifications to her recipe for these cranberry-hazelnut crisps.

*To grind your flaxseeds, place them in a coffee grinder. To clean your grinder, grind 1/4 cup white rice.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/ 2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roughly chopped, skinned, toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp flax seed, ground

PREHEAT oven to 350F. Grease a 8×4 in. loaf pan.

COMBINE flour with baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients.

SCRAPE mixture into a loaf pan. Bake in the centre oven until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 30 to 35 min. Remove to a rack. Run a sharp knife along the inside of the loaf pan and invert onto a cooling rack. Cool fully.

REDUCE oven heat to 350F. Slice into very thin slices (less than 1/8 of an inch) and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 min then flip. Continue baking until deep golden and very crisp,about 15 more min. Remove from oven and cool.

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