One of my biggest pet peeves as a parent is that so many store-bought crackers are filled with excess salt and bad grains. (And to purchase all natural ones can blow your food budget.) So I was thrilled to find Jennifer Low’s recipe for crunchy munchy crackers in Everyday Kitchen for Kids. It’s amazing to make your own crackers! These taste so good on their own, but you can also eat them with cheese, if you like. You will need a helper with the baking step.
Supplies you will need
baking sheet, parchment paper, bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baking spatula, dinner knife, rolling pin, fork, pizza wheel, cooling rack (the metal kind for cooling cookies)
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour (spoon in, level; see page 19)
1/4 cup (50 mL) whole wheat flour (spoon in, level)
1/2 tsp (3 mL) chili powder
1/2 tsp (3 mL) dry mustard
1/2 tsp (3 mL) white sugar
1/3 cup (80 mL) milk
2 Tbsp (30 mL) butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
Cut three sheets of parchment paper, each the size of your baking sheet. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the two kinds of flour, chili powder, dry mustard (be sure to use the back of a spoon to mash out any lumps), and sugar. Set aside.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk and butter in the microwave at 50% power until the butter is melted (about 1 minute).
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Use a baking spatula to scrape all the milk mixture into the flour bowl. Mix the ingredients into a dough, scraping sticky ingredients off the spatula with a dinner knife. When the dough gets too stiff to stir—keeping the dough in the bowl—use your hands to squeeze the dough against the crumbly bits and dry flour in the bottom of the bowl to work them into the dough.
Use a dinner knife to cut the dough into two equal-sized pieces. Put the first piece between two of the sheets of parchment paper you cut earlier. Put your rolling pin on the top sheet of parchment and roll out the dough to 1/16 inch (2 mm) (see “One- Quarter-Coin Rule,” page 17). To make excellent crisp crackers, it is very important to roll the dough that thin. First roll across the whole piece of dough to flatten it, then make it even thinner by rolling from the middle of the dough out to the edges. Press down hard. And just when you think it’s thin enough, roll it out again and check against the quarter coin. The dough puffs up a lot as it bakes.
Peel off the top sheet of parchment. Prick the rolled dough every inch (2.5 cm) with a fork. Use the pizza wheel to cut a checkerboard pattern into it. The squares should have about 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) sides. Don’t pull apart the squares of dough. Leave them exactly where you cut them, touching in rows. Slide the parchment paper—with the dough on it—onto a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
While the first batch bakes, roll out the second piece of dough between two pieces of parchment, prick and cut it the same way as the first. Bake this batch the same way as the first batch (either use a second baking sheet or cool off the first one and use it again). Keep the oven on after baking the second batch. You will still need to bake all the crackers again to crisp them.
Remove the baked crackers and parchment from the baking sheet. Put a cooling rack on the baking sheet. Pull apart the crackers into squares and place them on the cooling rack.
Put the baking sheet—holding the cooling rack and crackers— in the oven. Bake another 10 minutes or until the crackers begin to brown. Ask a helper to remove the browned crackers and put crackers that aren’t ready yet back in the oven for a few more minutes until they until they are also hard and crunchy.
Makes about 36 Munchy Crunchy Crackers.
We’ve also got Jennifer’s recipe for Real Mac ‘n Cheddar Cheese.
Jennifer is inviting kids to send in pictures of their favourite recipes from the book to her website www.kitchenforkids.com
Excerpted from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books) by Jennifer Low
Photo by Ryan Szulc from Everyday Kitchen for Kids (Whitecap Books)