Monday, April 27, 2009

Crackers in Bed


Remember that game? Crackers in bed? Where you had to feed the guy in bed crackers through a cutout in the cardboard that was supposed to be his mouth? I don't remember what the point of the game was, but I do remember the idea... strange game.
Anyway, in the spirit of posting when I have lots of schoolwork to do, I whipped up a batch of whole wheat cornmeal crackers and MAN, if you dig snack as much as I do, you will LOVE these!
I'm big into snack. Ask anyone who knows me well. I eat all day long. In class, people eat Balance bars and other "non-food" items made of ingredients I can't pronounce, or identify in real life. Not me. I bring real food for snack. Dried fruit, cookies, yogurt, pretzels, chocolate, nuts and, this week, CRACKERS! I have made crackers before; when I was a snack maker in Old Barrows, we once made cheese crackers. Those were insanely delicious and rich-- a different kind of cracker than these.
I want to note that these used a method I saw on a New York Times video from the tiny kitchen girl, in which you roll out the dough on the BACK of a baking sheet and bake it that way, on the underside of the pan, pan upside down in the oven. I don't remember why you were supposed to do it like that, but I did it, and they came out great. It's also easier to roll out this way so you don't bump into the edges of the pan with your rolling pin. At my old job I had to roll out pans of rosemary focaccia and I would always bump the rolling pin into the sides and it was annoying. Anyway, this way is a good way.

Whole Wheat - Cornmeal Crackers

1/2 c cornmeal
2 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 T crushed red pepper, more or less depending on if you like very spicy.
1 t salt
2 big pinches kosher salt for sprinklin'
1 c water
1/4 c olive oil

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients together (minus the kosher salt).
In the bowl of an electric mixer (if you don't have one, no worries), mix water and oil together.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix on "stir" or low, just until mixture becomes "dough".
Lay out a piece of plastic wrap, and put your dough in the middle. With your hands, form into a rectangle or square, and wrap in the plastic.
Stick it in the fridge for an hour. 15 minutes after putting it in the fridge, you can start to preheat your oven to 500 degrees (HOTT!!).
After the hour's up, lay parchment on the back of two baking sheets. I spray the back of the sheets with oil, a trick I learned to make the paper stick to the pan.
Slice the dough rectangle in half, making two smaller rectangles.
Put one rectangle on each sheet back.
With a rolling pin (or can of beans?), roll out till very thin. Try to make thickness uniform. You can tell by gently pressing with your finger. If you can press deeper at one spot than another, roll that spot more. It's too thick. Then again, the worse that can happen with dough that's too thick is it doesn't get as crispy.
When both are rolled out, bake for 15 minutes in the oven.
Allow to cool completely when done. Then break (or crack), into Crackers!

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