Once upon a time, I was at my in-laws’ house for Thanksgiving, and my brother-in-law’s girlfriend made a snack board with crackers that blew my mind. For the rest of the weekend, I may or may not have been the main perpetrator of consuming the rest of said crackers. As I munched on the treats, dotted with bits of nuts and dried fruit, I thought to myself, dang, could I make a cracker like this without driving myself crazy?
I’ve talked about homemade crackers before, so y’all know how I am about my crunchy snacks. Yes, I could go hoard boxes from Trader Joe’s (which is where they came from), but a) Trader Joe’s, no matter where I go, is always so stuffed with people that I feel like I’m in someone’s way the entire time I shop, and b) I wanted to make my own, sans packaging, because y’all know me.
Fast forward a couple of weeks later, when a recipe for “crisps” appeared in one of my magazines that looked suspiciously like the fruit and nut crackers of my dreams. I nearly jumped out of my chair and scared Baby Homesteader out of her own, I was so excited.
The recipe called for a modified biscotti dough and method, which I’ve been all about this time of year. It also called for several specialty ingredients, which I was not so about. I realized, however, that like most good things on this earth, I could modify the ingredients with whatever I had on hand in the pantry instead, and get just as tasty of a result. (For the pictured crackers, I used hazelnuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and black sesame seeds, as well as dried oregano for my herb choices.)
So, here I am, sharing with you the recipe and method of making some hella tasty crackers for your holiday snack board, cheese board, or simply eating out of hand any time of the year. Like a biscotti recipe, the dough has two stints in the oven and some slicing in between, with added cooling and freezing periods, so it’s not a quick project. But it makes a ton of crackers, so your hard work is rewarded with lots of tastiness. ‘Tis the season!
Skip the pun. Let’s make crackers!
Feel free to sub whatever nuts, seeds, and dried fruit your heart desires. A combination of different nuts and seeds works best, so split it up! These can be made vegan by subbing in plant-based milk or water for the milk, and 1-2 tbsp sugar or preferred liquid sweetener for the honey.
you will need:
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- 1 c whole wheat flour
- 1 c rye flour (you can sub another cup of wheat flour if you can’t find rye, although the flavor will be less tangy)
- 1 c rolled oats
- 1-1 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- up to 2 tsp dried herbs of choice, such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, etc.
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups unsalted nuts, such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, or almonds
- 1 c dried fruit, such as cranberries or raisins
- 1 c raw, unsalted, hulled seeds, such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 3 tbsp black or white sesame seeds, or other small seeds of choice
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 c buttermilk, sour milk, or milk (dairy or otherwise)
- ¼ vegetable or olive oil (or even melted butter. You do you)
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, oats, salt, baking soda, herbs, and pepper. Stir in the nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
3. In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, and honey. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, and mix well (no pockets of flour) until you get a thick, sticky dough.
4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop, and divide the dough into two equal portions. Shape the dough into rectangular loaves about 1 inch high, 4 inches across, and 8 inches long – a bench scraper works wonders here for both shaping and transferring to baking sheets. (You can really make these as long or short as you want, depending on how long you want your crackers to be – just make sure the height is no more than 1 inch or so.) Transfer the loaves to your lined baking sheets.
5. Bake loaves for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden, rotating both the pans on the racks and from front to back for even browning about halfway through. (Your loaves will likely crack during baking, which is totally normal.) Cool completely on wire racks.
6. Here’s where we differ from biscotti a bit: because you need to slice these into much thinner pieces (about ¼ inch slices versus 1 inch), you’ll want to make sure your dough is as firm as possible by freezing it for about 1 hour, wrapped in a cloth, bag, or foil. Do not leave it in the freezer for longer than an hour or so – you don’t want to actually freeze the dough!
7. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Slice your loaves into ¼ inch slices using a good serrated knife, and transfer to lined baking sheets in a single layer. Bake at 300 degrees for about 30-45 minutes, rotating as necessary to maintain even browning, until the crackers are dry and lightly browned. (If your edges start to brown too quickly or burn, you can reduce the oven temperature to 275, and even allow your crackers to crisp with the oven cracked open for about 30 minutes to an hour.) Cool completely on wire racks. Serve by themselves, or with soft cheeses, jam, or other desired toppings.