Homemade Fennel Seed Crackers

December 25, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: I wasn’t into cheese until I was 20, when I met my British husband. We still joke about how I finally became French after a meal at his friends. After a few drinks and some great food, they presented us with a box of ripe and smelly camembert, crackers and a bottle of port. I was first surprised by the fact British serve cheese after dessert (cheese is usually served before dessert in France). Once accustomed to this idea, I was struck by how good cheese tastes with port. I have become totally addicted to cheese since that moment.

I now love any cheese but have a preference for stronger ones. What also struck me is how different a culinary experience it is when eaten with crackers. I do like a nice piece of goat’s cheese with a slice of sourdough or walnut bread but there is something really enjoyable about cheese and crackers. The combination isn’t overbearing and gives cheese a chance to stand out on its own. The crunchiness of a crackers balances well with the softer texture of a blue cheese or a camembert to name a few. I think on that point the French could learn a thing or two from their English neighbours.

I’ve been really into making my edible gifts this Christmas and found that crackers make wonderful ones. They can be made in advance since they keep well in an airtight container. They can also be cut into different shapes and customized to the receiver’s tastes and dietary requirements. A selection of homemade crackers makes a very special gifts to take to a dinner party. Wrapped in a pretty package with a handwritten label they will put a smile on the lucky recipient.

This recipe is really versatile. Feel free to try out new flavours and even flours. I particularly like crackers flavoured with rosemary and sea salt, charcoal (it tastes great with goat’s cheese), olive oil or walnut. The list is endless. Stored in an airtight container or jar they will keep for about 10 days.
Elodie Bellegarde

Makes: about 2 dozen crackers

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 ounces cold butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/ 350F/Gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  2. Put all the ingredients but the water in a clean bowl. With your hands, combine until crumbs form. Add some of the water, a little at a time to form a ball. If the dough is too dry add more water, if too wet add more flour. Don’t overwork the dough or the crackers will be tough once cooked.
  3. Roll the dough on a clean, floured surface to a 1/2 centimeter thickness. Cut the dough into circles, diamonds or any shape you like and place the pieces onto the prepared tray leaving some space between each cracker.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 until the crackers turn a slight shade of brown. Leave to cool and transfer into an airtight container.

More Great Recipes:
Bread|Make Ahead|Christmas|Thanksgiving|Winter|Vegetarian|Appetizer|Snack|Hors D'Oeuvre

Reviews (14) Questions (1)

14 Reviews

shark37 April 16, 2014
You mention making crackers with charcoal. Where do you get it, what form is it in, and how much? Thanks!
 
riothomas January 29, 2013
I was about to make your fennel seed crackers, and am wondering if you could (please) give a measurement in TBS for the 3 oz butter?
 
Author Comment
Elodie B. February 7, 2013
Hi Riothomas. Sorry for my late reply. 3 oz of butter correspond to 6 tbs of butter. I hope this helps.
 
JLD9999 January 18, 2013
They look thicker than 1/2 centimeter. Should they be about the thickness of wheat thins, or thicker? Thanks.
 
Author Comment
Elodie B. January 24, 2013
Hi JLD9999. The crackers are roughly 1/2 cm thick. I guess it's up to you whether you like them thinner or not. I wouldn't personally go for anything thicker: it wouldn't do justice to the cheese you may eat them with. The idea is for them to be crunchy so thinner may also work.
 
DanaYares January 15, 2013
I made this recipe with home made lard instead of butter, and it was delicious. I also rolled them out on a silpat which made it easier. Thanks for the recipe!<br />
 
Author Comment
Elodie B. January 24, 2013
Pleasure! I'm glad you tried new variations using the recipe as a base. I haven't tried with lard but thinking of trying with olive oil.
 
Marcia C. January 6, 2013
I have always rolled these kinds of thing out between sheets of waxed paper, as I learned from my mom's family making light, and reasonably flaky oil-crust pastry (even when I now use WW pastry flour).<br />These crackers are a great idea...I have fennel seeds for which to find more uses. Just put some in the shredded veggies I am fermenting. Yum. I will also play with GF.
 
Terry December 6, 2013
Would like to hear your GF results! Blend of flours?
 
Marcia C. January 6, 2013
I have always rolled things like this between sheets of waxed paper.<br />That's how my mom's family always made oil crust pastry light and flaky, (even when I now use WW pastry flour).
 
Author Comment
Elodie B. January 9, 2013
Thanks for the tips Marcia. I also use this method with baking parchment when rolling shortcrust pastry.
 
Deborah W. December 28, 2012
I always have trouble rolling out things like this thin enough. It just occurred to me that a pasta machine might make it easier and more consistent. What do you think?
 
Author Comment
Elodie B. December 29, 2012
Hi Deborah. I have never tried rolling out crackers with a pasta machine but I am not sure it would work. The dough is not very elastic and may break in the machine. Where the gluten released from working the flour in pasta dough makes it stretch you are dealing with a different (and simpler) beast here. As I mentioned in the recipe, don't overwork the dough. If you do the dough will admittedly be more malleable but the crackers tougher. If you feel the dough is too dry and brakes easily, just add a little cold water. When rolling out, cheat a little by pulling all the bits from the dough together as you roll it. You crackers migh not look the best at your first attempt but will taste great, I promise. It will get easier with practice. I hope this helps!
 
burns W. January 28, 2013
I really like ultra thin crackers & use a lasagne roller all the time. If you are using flour (as opposed to non gluten flours) the pasta maker will develop the gluten but you need to start with it being more hydrated than not, adding flour as needed, same as you would with pasta. If its too dry - it can be recovered, but its time consuming. The two widest settings work well for me. Going to the third is iffy.