Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Savory Wheat Crackers

June 3, 2014 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, other savory, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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savory wheat crackers Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s Savory Wheat Crackers were a nice little snack to munch on with a chilled glass of wine this past (very fine) weekend.  I’ve made crackers before…here, for instance.  Also, in the restaurants I’ve worked in, pastry always had to make the crackers to go with the cheese plates.  Rolling cracker dough out with a pasta machine (or a sheeter like we had at my first job) is my pro tip from those days.  It gets them super thin, although you have to use a fair amount of flour to not shred the dough in the roller.  I took these to the second thinnest setting in my machine and then topped my crisps with nigella seeds, ground coriander and fleur de sel. This whole wheat cracker dough is super basic….no leavening necessary.  It comes together with a whiz in the food processor, although my dough was a little sticky, so I added some supplemental AP flour to make it behave. The recipe makes a lot of dough…even the half recipe I made yielded tray after tray of crackers!  They have to be rolled, cut and baked in batches.  It was like a Nabisco factory in my kitchen on Sunday.  Actually, I forgot to cut two of the trays before I put them in the oven– I just broke those into big shards after they were cool.  Real Nabisco would so fire me.  You need a ripping hot oven for these and will likely have to tack on a few minutes to the stated baking time. My crackers took 6-7 minutes to bake through, rather than the three minutes in the recipe.  One minute too many, though, and the crackers will be charcoal (and yes, I did torch a tray myself)! I made a little spread out of famer’s cheese and flowering chives to snack on with these crackers.  I have lots more to eat up, so I’ll have to think up some other ideas.  For the cracker recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll

Daring Bakers in September: Lavash Crackers & Toppings

September 27, 2008 at 6:42 am | Posted in daring bakers, groups, savory things, snacks, yeast breads | 51 Comments
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seedy lavash

This month we had our first “Alternative” Daring Bakers’ Challenge!  Natalie from Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From the Fishbowl teamed up to bring us a two-part challenge.  The first part involved making homemade lavash.  Lavash are thin Armenian-style crackers.  They are very popular here in Australia, and packets go for big bucks in the gourmet stores.  Funny how easy it is to make them yourself!  Lavash are great with cheese, but the second part of this challenge was to concoct a vegan and gluten-free spread or dip to go with them.

Lavash dough is a simple yeasted dough, rolled out thin and often sprinkled with a seedy topping.  We were allowed to flavor the dough itself if we so desired, so I subbed a couple of tablespoons of the bread flour for wheat germ.  This gave the baked crackers a subtle, almost Wheat Thins-like flavor.  I made a full batch of the dough and divided it into two pieces–one to use straight away, and one to park overnight in the fridge.  I used different toppings and made a different spread for each.

When it came time to roll the dough, I busted out my pasta machine (for the first time since moving to Sydney, so I was glad to actually have used it and justified its move).  I’ve made some form of cracker in every restaurant I’ve worked in, and have always used a pasta machine to roll them out.  It makes such quick work of it and is the easiest, least frustrating way to get your crakcers paper thin.  Use the lasagna sheet section, work with one bit of dough at a time, and take it down to the thinnest setting.

For my first batch of cracker, I rolled out long, wide pieces that I sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds, cumin seeds, cayenne pepper and Kosher salt before baking (brushing on a little water first acts as glue for the topping).  I simply broke these big pieces into more manageable shards after baking.  I served them with a chunky avocado relish with heaps of cilantro, lemon juice and spices.

seedy lavash with chunky avocado spread

For my second batch of cracker, I got a bit more fussy.  Instead of just baking off big pieces in whatever form they took when rolled, I used a pastry wheel to cut them into rectangular crackers.  I sprinkled them with poppy seeds and Maldon salt.  I had a huge bag of fava beans (a.k.a broad beans) from the farmers’ market, so I took about half of them and whizzed them into a dip for this batch of lavash.

poppy seed lavash with fava bean dip

I was really pleased with challenge!  The lavash and dips made perfect pre-dinner snacks (with a glass of wine, not too shabby!).  And how impressed would your friends be if you served them homemade crackers at a dinner party?

Check out the DB blogroll!  And visit Gluten A Go Go or Musings From the Fishbowl for the lavash recipe (which was adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart).  I made my two spreads pretty much freehand, but the basic procedures are below.

Chunky Avocado Relish

1 avocado
leafy green herb (such as basil or cilantro)
juice of half a lemon
olive or avocado oil
ground spices to taste (I used garam masala, cayenne, and cumin)
salt and black pepper to taste

-Scoop out the avocado and dice into chunks.  Chop your herb.  In a small bowl, make a dressing from the lemon juice, a slight splash of oil, the spices and salt and pepper.  Add the avocado and herb to the bowl and toss gently to mix.

Fava Bean Dip

1 1/2 cups fava beans, shelled from the outer pod
1 clove of garlic
leafy green herb (such as basil, parsley or cilantro)
squirt of lemon juice
olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

-Bring a medium pot of water to the boil.  Blanch the fava beans for about thirty seconds, remove with a slotted spoon and shock in ice water.  Pop the garlic clove, peeled or unpeeled, into the boiling water and blanch for about 1 minute (this just helps take the edge off the raw garlic).

-Pop the papery outer skins off the blanched fava beans and discard.  Peel the garlic clove if you haven’t already, and rough chop.

-Put the fava beans, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, splash of olive oil, salt and pepper into a mini food processor.  Pulse until it’s the consistency you like (you can use a couple tablespoons of water to thin out, if needed).  Taste for seasoning.

DB whisk

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Smoky, Cheesy Cookies

November 19, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Posted in DC, groups, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 2 Comments
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smoky, cheesy cookies

I’m really enjoying the “cocktail cookies” section of Dorie’s Cookies. Not that I could ever OD on sweets or anything, but it’s also nice to have a salty snack to go with a glass of wine or a green salad. These Smoky, Cheesy Cookies are like cheese and crackers in one. They have sharp cheddar and smoked gouda (or smoked mozzarella, in my case) and some cayenne pepper to give them a little zip. Similar to the Parmesan Galettes we made last month, this dough is made in the food processor. These are roll-out cookies rather than slice-and-bake, though, and they seem a bit sturdier…more crispy and flaky than delicate and sandy.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Triscuity Bites

July 2, 2019 at 5:15 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, savory things, snacks, sweet things | 3 Comments
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triscuity bites

Triscuity Bites aren’t cookies that resemble Triscuits, they’re savory “cocktail cookies” with Triscuits in them. They’re made from a cream cheese dough with bits of Triscuit crackers mixed in. Actually, they should be made from a cream cheese dough, but someone didn’t read the recipe before she went to the store…got the Triscuits, but no Philly. I took stock of what like items I had in the fridge, and decided that labneh would probably work as a substitute. I think it was fine.

These cookies held a perfect shape in the oven. I was pretty pleased that my squares stayed square. They are nicely salty and have that sort of airy crunch that Triscuits do. More rich than plain, out-of-the-box Triscuits, I ate these on their own. On their own, with wine, I mean.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Bee’s Sneeze Nuggets

February 20, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, savory things, snacks, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 2 Comments
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bee's sneeze nuggets

I am a big fan of the at-home apéro hour. I like to have just a splash of wine and a little something to nibble on while I’m preparing the rest of dinner. Makes prep time more fun. Usually I’ll go for boxed crackers with my cheese, but when the TWD pick is a “cocktail cookie,” things get a bit more exciting. These Bee’s Sneeze Nuggets are inspired by the flavors of a cocktail that’s a spin on a traditional bee’s knees. They’re flavored with gin, honey and lots of lemon, and lean savory rather than sweet. After I mixed the cookie dough and patted it out, I wasn’t sure how big to cut the nuggets. I made them really small and I love how they held their shape, rising up instead of spreading out. They look like tiny biscuits–so cute! (I’ve gotta add that I think nuggets this small would be great floating in thicker soups, in place of croutons or oyster crackers…mental note.)

You can dip them in some extra honey on the side, but to help control stickiness, I glazed each nugget with a dab of honey while they were still warm. Then I ate them with olives and cheese. A proper bee’s knees cocktail would probably be an appropriate drink choice, but due to an incident years ago (I will spare you the details), I am not a big gin drinker, so I went with red wine.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us if you haven’t already!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack

July 21, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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swedish oatmeal hardtack

I admit that is was pretty hard to turn on the oven to make crackers in this sticky summer heat.  My main motivation for doing so was really to have cheese and crackers with a cold glass of white wine at the end of the process.  At least Beatrice Ojakangas’s Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack recipe doesn’t use yeast, or I’m sure I would have had an overproofed dough-blob situation going on in my kitchen.

This was actually an easy, make-by-hand dough to knead together.  It has oatmeal in it to give it a rustic texture.  Technically, it calls for quick oats, which I didn’t have.  I approximated them by plusing my regular rolled oats in the food processor a couple of times to break them up a little, and then hydrated them in the buttermilk for a few minutes while I gathered everything else together.  Since the dough uses oatmeal, I thought a little whole wheat would be good, too, and swapped 1/2 cup of AP flour for WW.  With some chilling time and good amount of flour, I was able to roll and cut the dough right on the sheet tray.  I had a hard time getting my first tray to color and crisp in the oven (especially in the center) so I upped the temperature to 350ºand increased the baking time by several minutes.

I’ve never had hardtack before and, based on the name, anticipated a trip to the dentist with a cracked tooth! The texture, however, is not rock hard but a bit sandy. There’s a little sugar creamed into the fat in the dough, so they are slightly sweet, slightly salty.  I bumped up the salt factor a bit by sprinkling a pinch of fleur de sel on top before baking.   They were good with cheese, and also with peanut butter.  As separate snacks, I mean…not too sure about a cheese and PB combo.

swedish oatmeal hardtack

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  The second half of this video shows Beatrice and Julia making the hardtack together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Matzos

April 21, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, quick breads, savory things, snacks, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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matzos

The Matzo recipe from Lauren Groveman is bread at its most basic.  Really, it’s just flour, salt and water, hand-kneaded and with no real resting period required.  A little ground pepper and some sesame seeds are technically optional, but I wouldn’t skip them…they make a boring-sounding dough interesting and flavorful.

The instructions say to roll the dough as thin as possible.  When I make crackers, I like to roll them out on my pasta machine rather than with a wooden pin.  I did that here, too, and because the machine cranks out long, narrow, strips, I wound up cutting them into smaller pieces than the large, plate-sized matzos shown in the book’s photos.  The smaller pieces seemed also more easy to deal with using the kinda scary-sounding baking-and-flipping-on-a-blazing-hot-sheet-tray technique called for in the recipe.  I only burned myself once, so I’d call that a success!

I got matzos that were much more thin and delicate than the store-bought ones I’ve had.  And did I already mention how good the sesame seeds are in here?  I made a little smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese spread to go with the matzos, and the combo was every bit as addictive as chips and dip.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan (there’s also a video of the episode). Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll.

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