21 October 2013

Crackers for Overachievers

Ever get tired of reading the novels which make up the ingredient section on the side of a cracker box?  Ever wish  you could make crispy-salty-delicious crackers at home?  This is your lucky day.  Dead simple.

Blue Potato Snack Crackers

3 medium blue potatoes*, peeled, boiled, and chilled
dash of salt
1-1/2 c. organic whole wheat pastry flour**
1/3 c. butter
1/4 c. large flake oats
more salt, to taste

*or any sort of potato, really (but the blue-fleshed potatoes give the crackers a lovely purple-ish colour)... or 1 rounded cup of leftover mashed potatoes

** or any pastry flour, but if you substitute white for whole wheat you need less.  Or more. I can't recall.  Use whole wheat, it's better for you.

Work chunks of cold butter and a dash of salt into 1 c. of the pastry flour with your fingers until you get a nice crumbly texture.  Work in the oats to distribute.  Stick the mixture in the fridge while you mash the potatoes.

Mash the blue potatoes.  If you need to add a bit of milk or cream to mash well, go ahead and do that.  A few small lumps are alright so don't kill yourself with worry about whether it's smooth enough.  It's smooth enough.

Using your hands again, mix the potatoes into the flour mixture until combined.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead until melded.   You may need more than the additional 1/2 c. of flour, depending on how moist your potatoes were, how humid it is, etc.  You want a nice smooth ball of dough, where everything sticks together, but don't overdo it.  Think of it as a cross between a pastry and a rolled cookie.

Pre-heat oven to 400F.

Did I say dead simple?  It is if you have a pasta maker, or you're a whiz with a rolling pin.  Throw the dough into the refrigerator while you get your pasta maker out and set it up.  Taking a big handful of dough at at time, run it through your pasta maker on the thickest setting.  It's probably messy, but bear with me.  Fold the strip of dough, as best you can, in thirds.  Run it through the machine again.  If it's very wide, fold lengthwise in half, then crosswise in half and run through again (if it's not very wide, fold in thirds again and run through).  Repeat once more, or until you have a nice smooth length of rolled dough. (If you are using an old-fashioned rolling pin, roll the dough out, fold it in thirds and roll again until cracker thin, ~3 mm.)

Pierce the rolled dough all over with a fork (this will keep it from bubbling up too much during baking).  Cut into cracker-sized pieces.  I cut mine in ~2.5 cm x 5 cm rectangles.  I have used cookie cutters in the past to make star-shaped crackers (and using white potato and adding tumeric, they were lovely yellow stars).  If you want to be really mean to your dogs, use your dog biscuit bone-shaped cutters and laugh hysterically when they drool and look forlorn as you eat your crackers.  

(I'm kidding.  Don't tease the dogs. But go ahead and giggle to yourself about the idea.)

Place on a baking tray.  You don't need to leave much room between, they don't really expand during baking.  Sprinkle with salt, to taste.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges and the tops of any bubbled-up bits are golden brown.  The ones on our old, well-worn, blackened baking tray took about 17 minutes, the ones on our shiny new tray took nearly but not quite 20.

Let cool completely on a wire rack before storing in airtight containers.


A quick survey at the supermarket revealed more than 18 ingredients in most popular brand-name crackers  AND I only counted one for flour and one for seeds no matter how many types there were.  There are a few exceptions, of course, but I find it shocking sometimes how easily I am sucked into a good sale on crackers, regardless of the content or whether I can even spell the ingredients without looking them up.  The worst part of that behaviour?  I know I can make crackers with not a lot of effort.

And you can too.  

The real bonus though?  The thing that will make you continue to make crackers?  Aside from the fact they are really fantastically tasty?

Everyone you serve them to will look at you with an awestruck expression and say, "I can't believe you made crackers!".  There is nothing so gratifying as being an overachiever.  Just don't tell them how easy it is.


  1. This looks so easy and since I am the "queen of homemade everything" according to my daughter, I definately need to try this. Crackers are something I have not yet made from scratch. Thank you!

    1. they would go well with that tomato soup you posted the other day!


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