Since I haven’t created a FB page for this blog, I always post a FB status when I’ve published a blog post. Most of my friends post comments about the blog post on my page instead of on the blog, and I get a lot of good ideas from them.
Recently, another high school gal pal, Aileen, posted about crackers after I shared that day’s blog. She lives in downtown DC with access to all the cool lifestyle options I miss so much here in the ‘burbs. Recently she’s gone gaga for the olive oil crackers from Rustic Bakery. My sister Tina also gets these and they are very good, but pretty pricey. Aileen asked if I had ever made crackers before; I had, but they were Ritz-like crackers and the guys and I were ho-hum about them. I haven’t re-tested the recipe and techniques in a while.
I told her I would research olive oil cracker recipes and start testing. So tonight I made my first batch. It’s loosely based on Mark Bittman’s cracker recipe in his book, How To Cook Anything. He’s a food minimalist, so I expected the recipe to have only a few ingredients. He uses flour, salt, neutral oil (or butter) and water. This was not quite what I wanted, but it was a good start.
Aileen is a foodie, so I wanted to add a little more zip to these crackers. I saw Rustic Bakery had crackers (they call them flatbreads) with rosemary. That’s nice, but I upped the flavor profile by adding garlic and Parmesan. Instead of water, I used cream with water only if the dough was still dry. I also switched from a neutral oil to my fabulous California Olive Ranch olive oil. My mouth was watering just thinking about these crackers!
I made the dough in a food processor using the same technique for making food processor pie crust. Instead of butter/lard, you use the olive oil. I baked mine on a baking stone (Aileen, you should invest in one if you don’t have one). The boys approved; I hope they saved a few for me!
Olive Oil Rosemary Parmesan Crackers (adapted from M. Bittman)
- 1 c flour
- 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large clove of garlic, chopped (not too fine; it’s going in the food processor)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 TB olive oil (now’s the time to use the fancy stuff)
- 1/4 c cream
- 1 – 2 TB cold water
Place a baking/pizza stone on the center rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the flour, cheese, garlic, salt and rosemary in the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a few times to blend all ingredients.
With the motor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube. The mixture should look like coarse meal (like the pie crust when the fat is cut into the flour). If you pinch a bit, it should hold together, but not well.
Add the cream through the feed tube, this time pulsing the food processor (you can just run it, but I like the control here with pulsing when adding the liquid). The dough should begin to pull together– don’t let it go to the ball stage because it will be too wet. I stop when there are little balls of dough forming in the bowl. This time, the dough should stick together well! (If the dough hasn’t come together with the cream, add cold water by the tablespoon while pulsing).
Use a spatula to bring the dough into a ball.
Place the dough on a floured surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/4 inch. Roll the dough onto the pin occasionally to reflour the surface to prevent sticking (don’t forget the rolling pin, too).
Cut the dough into whatever shapes you want. I did rough cracker squares, but you could cut large pieces and score them to break into smaller pieces later (too much work for me).
Place the crackers on the baking stone using a flat metal spatula.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. My dough wasn’t completely even in thickness, so I had to take a few crackers out a little early. Place on a rack to cool.
Serve and enjoy.
The guys loved the crackers just the way I made them. I, however, want a little more assertive rosemary taste, so I would up the rosemary another 1/4 teaspoon, or try fresh. I also noticed that some of the crackers puffed, so I may prick them with a fork before baking. Next time, I’m going to try adding olives and cutting the flour with semolina and possibly rolling the dough through my pasta maker for even thinner (and crisper) crackers. We’ll see; it’s such an easy recipe that I can do a batch in under 30 minutes.
Pretty good flavor bang for the buck! Let me know if you try them out, Aileen! Kurt, by the way, said he needs hummus with these crackers. Lucky for him I boiled some chickpeas today…