Thursday 23 December 2021

Sesame Crackers

I made crackers last night. I know there are a great many commercially made crackers but, still, they're a regular part of my baking routine. Homemade crackers are delicious, inexpensive, and really easy to make.  You can add whatever you want to the dough and come up with your own unique flavours.

This recipe is an adaptation of the white cracker recipe in Marion Cunningham's "Fanny Farmer Baking Book."  The recipe's a blank canvas and over the years I've added all sorts of different seeds, nuts, and seasoning to them.  I chose sesame seeds this time because they provide a nice, slightly nutty flavour that's neutral enough to go with the meats and cheeses or with jams or fruit.

To make Sesame Crackers you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup milk (plus a very small amount extra if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons flaked or coarse salt
Begin by toasting the sesame seeds. Pour them into a dry frying pan and cook them over medium heat, stirring constantly until they darken a bit and take on a golden colour.  You'll be able to smell their toastiness too. Sesame seeds are easy to overcook while toasting so pay careful attention and remove the pan from the heat as soon as they warm and deepen in colour.

Stir the flour, sugar, and salt together.

Cut the butter into small pieces, add it to the flour mixture, then use your fingers to rub it into the flour until it breaks down into small, irregular crumbs.

Add in the sesame seeds and stir them through the flour.

Use one hand to stir the flour mixture with a fork while you use the other to pour in the milk.  Keep stirring until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough's too dry to come together add more milk, a few drops at a time. Use as little extra milk as you can manage. You want the dough to hold together but to stay as dry as possible.

Leave the dough in the bowl, cover it with waxed paper, and let it rest for at least an hour.

Roll the rested dough out as thinly as possible, using a little flour both under the dough and on top of it to keep the dough from sticking to either your work surface or your rolling pin.  You should aim for a 1/8-inch thickness.

Wrap the dough loosely around the rolling pin and transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet.
Once it's on the baking sheet, score the dough into 1-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch rectangles (roughly the size of a business card).  Use a fork to dock the dough, poking a few holes in each rectangle.  

Sprinkle the flaked or coarse salt over the top of the crackers and press it in so it adheres to the dough.

Bake the crackers at 425F for 6 to 8 minutes, then flip them over, put them back in the oven and bake them for about 5 minutes more.

Remove the crackers from the oven and, as soon as they're cool enough to handle, break them apart.  If some of them aren't yet crispy, put them back in the oven and let them continue to crisp.

When the crackers have cooled to room temperature, store them in an airtight container.

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