Friday, September 17, 2010
Whole wheat crackers recipe-- baby finger food
I wanted to try making crackers because, by the time Mae is entering what is normally the Goldfish cracker-or Cheerio- munching stage, I want to have come up with and mastered the production of a healthier, tastier version lighter in sodium and preservatives. And somehow get her so thoroughly hooked on them that she has no interest in Goldfish. Oh, I don't really know if it can be done (or if I would even want that result if I truly understood the rate of cracker production I'd have to keep up to meet the demand), but it's worth a try.
Turns out, crackers aren't that hard. They're like a cross between pie crust and biscuit. I am a past master of both the pie crust and the biscuit, so they should be entirely within the scope of my abilities. There are a few different types out there-- you've got the kind with yeast, the kind with baking powder or soda, and the kind with no leavening at all. This one is in the baking soda camp. Rest assured I'll be trying others (cf my obsession with exploring every variation on a theme), and will let you know which is the best.
This particular recipe has a lovely, nutty flavor from the whole wheat pastry flour. I was a bit unsure how Mae would do with these (lack of teeth not making crackers an obviously good choice), but she did very well-- the zucchini hummus moistened it a bit, and she gummed them until they were swallowable. Probably I'll wait until she's a bit older before giving them to her on a regular basis, though.
Whole Wheat Crackers
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c. butter, cold
1/2 c. milk
Mix together the flour and baking powder; cut in the butter like you would if you were making pie crust or biscuits (using a pastry blender, two butterknives, or your fingers, cut it into tiny little pieces until it's well-distributed in the flour). Gently stir in the milk just until it'll form a ball; divide the dough in half, flatten the balls into disks, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or as long as a day. When you're ready to bake, roll out one of the balls on a floured Silpat (or parchment paper). Roll it as thinly and evenly as you can. Lots of people use a pasta machine for this-- that's a great idea if you happen to have one. If like me, you don't, just do your best-- you want as close to 1/16th of an inch as you can get, as evenly across the surface as you can manage. Transfer the Silpat to a baking sheet, and cut the dough into shapes-- you can use a pizza cutter, or if you're feeling fancy and have a bit of time on your hands, use a cookie cutter. Bake at 375 degrees, 10-12 minutes. Start checking at 10-- if they're getting brown around the edges, pull it out and remove the browning ones from the pan. Pop the rest back in until they're starting to brown too. If you leave them all in there until the center is brown, the edges will be burnt for sure. Be careful! Let cool, then devour.