Sunday, July 29, 2012

DB: Pepper Jack and Oregano Crackers

Do you ever walk up and down the cracker isle at the store in awe of just exactly how many types and varieties of crackers there are?  If that's not enough to boggle your mind, then thinking about the process of what goes into making each one of those crackers will get you to thinking.  To take it one step further, I then think about the ins and outs of each process and wonder if it's possible to make such deliciously crispy crackers at home.  Well, guess what?  It's very possible.  And, the upside about making homemade crackers is they can be customized with the flavors that suite your tastes.  From sweet to savory, they can all be done at home.  Even better, it's honestly not that diffucult and doesn't require any special equipment!

I have always been curious about the process of making crackers, but actually never thought it was possible to make them at home.  Then enters the daring bakers, with a variety of cracker recipes for us to choose from for this months challenge!  I chose a savory cracker for this round, but I can't wait to play around with different flavor combinations and different types of crackers.  My world of homemade crackers is just beginning.  I had a blast making these crackers and they were a hit with the whole family.  They are crispy, butter and packed full of flavor.  I truly enjoyed every moment of this challenge and can't wait to try more cracker recipes in the near future!

Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.


Pepper Jack and Oregano Crackers

Ingredients:  

For the topping-

1/4 Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tsp Kosher salt
1 Tsp sugar

For the crackers-
1 2/3 Cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 Cups firmly packed grated pepper jack cheese
2 Tsp dried oregano
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1/2 Cup water

Directions:

For the topping-
Combine cayenne pepper, salt and sugar in small bowl.  Stir to combine and set aside.

For the crackers-
Combine flour, grated cheese, oregano and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Slowly stream in the oil, and pulse to combine until the mixture comes together and resembles wet sand.  Gradually stream in the water, until dough comes together and forms a ball.

Remove dough from food processor and evenly divide dough in half.  Form a disk shape with each piece of dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to make the crackers-
Preheat oven to 325.  Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

Divide one disk of dough in half and place on a well floured surface. Roll the dough to 1/8 of an inch thickness.*  Once the dough is rolled out to appropriate thickness cut into strips using a sharp knife or use cookie cutters to make desired size and shape crackers.  Transfer to prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with topping mixture.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden-brown.  Repeat process with remaining dough.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.  These crackers are best if enjoyed within 3 days.        

Recipe source: The American Culinary Institute. (2008). Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen (3rd ed.) “Pepper Jack and Oregano Crackers”. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ

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