Snacks are one of life's small (but great) pleasures. For some reason, snack foods seem to fall squarely in the "buy don't make" category for most people, even people who cook often at home. Perhaps that's because store-bought snacks like crackers and chips rely on heavy doses of salt and artificial flavorings to keep us coming back for more handfuls, and those sorts of flavors are hard to reproduce at home. Perhaps it's nostalgia: Homemade Goldfish will never taste exactly like the real thing, for example. They'll be delicious! But they'll be different.
That being said, I strongly urge everyone to give homemade snacks a try. Today's recipe is a perfect example it being much faster it is to whip up a batch of crackers than to walk to the store. A riff on a classic Cheez-It, these little square crackers are spiced up with turmeric, paprika, and cayenne. I like to use cheese (either Parmesan or cheddar) plus nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast has a savory, cheesy flavor that actually amps up the taste of real cheese. It's often used as a cheese substitute in vegan recipes, but I love its umami-ness and see no reason not to pair it with cheese.
The cracker dough comes together in minutes. You whisk together your dry ingredients, pour in some cream, stir it all together until it forms a dough, then roll it out. Cut it into any shape you like (little squares make for easier snacking), and bake! You can prevent your crackers from puffing up as they bake, which they sometimes do, by pricking the center of each one with the tip of a knife before baking.
The crackers are an excellent make-ahead option for a party, like the Oscars coming up tomorrow. Feel free to vary the spices as you like (sometimes I add in oregano and dried basil for a pizza-flavored twist). Your friends will be impressed by your domestic prowess (homemade crackers!), and since the recipe makes a very large batch, you'll have snacks on hand all week.
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (or cheddar, if you like)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- Coarse salt, for sprinkling
Do you like to make crackers? Tell us why (or why not) in the comments?