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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Why Bother 2012 - Crackers

Before I can get started on those 2013 goals, I have to finish my 2012 ones!  We've only got two challenges left in the Why Bother, make it at home challenge!  I'm almost 100% recovered from my bout with bronchitis (Did you know the cough from bronchitis can last for up to three months!???!  Boyfriend knows all too well) and I spent the weekend making crackers!

Crackers are a very prominent snack in the Wilde household.  About an hour after dinner, every night of the week, boyfriend heads to the cupboard and brings a box of Wheat Thins to the couch.  He proceeds to eat about half of the box.  I'm thinking I need to feed him larger portions for dinner.

For the Cracker Challenge, I thought that I should try to replace Boyfriends favorite snack with something a little healthier.  The first recipe I made was a simple wheat cracker, with a hint of salt.  They were beyond easy to make and came out just like the plain store bought brand!  The trick?  Sizing bands for the rolling pin.  I use a Wilton brand fondant rolling pin with the ring guides.  The 1/16-inch guide gave a nice even dough for cutting the crackers.  They came out crispy and delicious!

Did boyfriend have any of them?  No, he did not.  He is a fan of the highly flavored variety of the crackers and I am at a loss at how to make a powdered sun-dried tomato flavoring.  The whole wheat crackers are all mine!

I thought that I would try to ply BF with a flavored cracker, since it's his vice.  Rather than make him something that we could pick up in the cracker aisle, I decided on something fresh and flavorful.  We both love Indian food, so when I saw this recipe for ginger and curry crackers I knew it would be a winner. 

The dough for these crackers came together just as fast as the first batch and they came out such a beautiful yellow color!  The apartment smelled warm and inviting and it made me want to order in some curry.  Topped with a smidge of cream cheese and red pepper jelly, these crackers are the perfect snack.

So, will I stop buying crackers at the store?  I don't think boyfriend will let me, he loves his nightly Wheat Thins too much.  I am happy to know how easy it is to thrown a batch of crackers in the oven.

One more challenge to go before we head into the Restaurant War!  Stay tuned in two weeks for our final homemade challenge - soft cheeses!  It's going to be so exciting, maybe I'll make some bagels to pair up with my homemade cream cheese.

One Year Ago: Country Sausage Pasta
Two Years Ago: Fruit Salsa and Ham & Cheese Scones

Ginger-Curry Crackers
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour - Baker's Companion

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) candied ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sweet curry powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 tbsp butter, cubed
5 to 6 tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 325 F.

In a food processor, pulse together 1 cup flour and crystallized ginger until the ginger is finely ground.  In a large bowl, combine gingered flour, remaining cup of flour, salt, curry powder, tumeric, sugar and cayenne pepper.  Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry cutter until the flour is crumbly.  Add water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the dough comes together.  If you have added all 6 tablespoons and the dough is still crumbly, turn the dough out onto your work surface and let it set for 5 minutes.

Knead the dough for a minute until it forms a ball.  Divide dough into 2 pieces.  Dust your work surface with flour and roll out dough to 1/16-inch thickness.  Using a pastry cutter or pizza wheel, cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares.  Transfer squares to parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Top crackers with some cream cheese and red pepper jelly and enjoy!

Wheat Crackers
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour - Baker's Companion

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, cubed
1/2 cup milk
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Whisk together flours, sesame seeds, sugar and salt.  Cut in the butter with two knives or a pastry cutter.  Add milk and stir until the dough comes together.  Dust your work surface with flour and divide into 3 pieces.  Roll out dough until it is 1/16-inch thick  Sprinkle with kosher salt and use press into the dough with your rolling pin.  Using a pizza wheel, cut dough into 1-inch squares.  Transfer squares to a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Bake crackers for 20 minutes, or until the edges are browned.

Remove crackers from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
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