Category Archives: crackers

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Homemade Cheese Crackers​

Step aside, Cheez-Its! There are new cheese crackers in town! Oh yes, these Homemade Cheese Crackers have it all: they’re crispy, flaky, buttery, tangy, salty, and oh-so cheesy, just like the store bought version I love so much.

Homemade Cheese Crackers​

To that end, why should you go through the (minimal) effort to make Homemade Cheese Crackers when you can just go get a box of Cheez-Its? Well, for one, because it’s fun to DIY sometimes. And for two, because this recipe has seven ingredients, all of which are familiar and which include real cheddar cheese! No weird powders or preservatives here.

Besides the brick of cheddar, you’ll find butter, flour, salt, water, and dijon mustard for that signature cheese cracker tang. “But Liz, that’s only six ingredients!” Well, yes, that’s true. The seventh is the flaky finishing salt of your choice, which goes on right before baking for extra salty crunch!

This dough is a dream. It comes together in under five minutes in the food processor, doesn’t require a chill, and rolls and re-rolls flawlessly. I like to roll these crackers very thin (1/8”) and cut them in 1” squares. After being tiled out on a piece of parchment, I give each one a poke with the small end of a mixer attachment because I want each to have a visible hole, like Cheez-Its. You can also use a toothpick or prick each one with a fork—no matter what though, make sure these have some sort of vent so steam doesn’t build up during baking. We want crispy crackers, not soggy ones!

As for quantity, I don’t know the exact number of crackers this recipe makes, but it’s a lot. I’d guess at least the amount in a box of Cheez-Its, if not more. They also keep for up to a week, but I doubt they’ll last that long. They certainly don’t when I’m around.

Homemade Cheese Crackers
makes lots

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated by hand (not pre-shredded!)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons prepared dijon mustard
1/3 cup cold water
flaky salt, for finishing

Place oven racks in the central positions. Preheat oven to 400F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, grated cheddar, butter and mustard. Process until combined, with no large pieces of cheese or butter. Add water and process until dough starts to gather into a ball.

Flour your hands, a surface, and a rolling pin. Turn the dough onto the surface and give it a couple of kneads to combine. If you do not want to make crackers immediately, wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to bake, you may roll it out cold or at room temperature.

Divide it in half. Loosely cover one half with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Roll the remaining half of the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife (or bench scraper) to cut it into 1-inch squares. Carefully transfer squares to the baking sheets. Poke each square with a toothpick or other object to let steam out. Sprinkle with flaky salt.

Bake crackers 15-16 minutes, rotating the pans at the 10 minute mark for even browning. Let crackers cool on the pans. They will fully crisp up as they cool. Repeat rolling and baking with remaining dough and scraps.

Crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a week.

Olive Oil Crackers

Olive Oil Crackers

Listen, I am not going to try to convince you to always make your own homemade crackers because I am not insane. I buy so few things pre-made, but crackers are one that I do—even dedicated home bakers need a convenience food every now and then! You know, like when you get home at 10pm after working 14 hours straight and if you have to cook one more thing, you will throw a toddler-style tantrum of epic proportions right there on the kitchen floor.

Not that I’ve ever done anything like that. Ahem.

Olive Oil Crackers

That said, sometimes it’s fun to DIY, especially when it’s both fancy and easy, and it doesn’t get much fancier or easier than homemade Olive Oil Crackers. The recipe is only five ingredients long, takes less than an hour start-to-finish, and makes the most delicious crispy, crunchy crackers I’ve ever had.

The recipe itself is a breeze—just mix together flour, salt, olive oil, and water, then roll, cut and bake ‘til crispy—but there are a couple of unusual things that I want to explain before I get to it.

First, you need to rest your dough before rolling it out. This isn’t a prolonged thing, just 15 minutes to let the gluten in the flour relax before you roll it out paper thin. If you skip this step, the dough will shrink back somewhat dramatically at the edges when you roll it—not the worst thing that’s ever happened, but not the best if you’re seeking wafer thin crackers, which I very much am.

The other thing is the way you roll, cut, and bake these crackers, which happens to be on the back of a sheet pan. I learned this technique from my favorite food writer, Julie Van Rosendaal, and it’s…well, it’s genius. This allows you to get the crackers extra thin with your rolling pin without running into those pesky pan edges and negates the need to transfer each individual cracker to the pan, which usually results in thicker, irregularly shaped results. No thanks! If you have coated pans or simply don’t want to use this method, roll your dough out on a large piece of parchment and transfer that to the pan.

Olive Oil Crackers

These crackers bake up in about 15 minutes. You’ll know they’re perfect when the edges are dark and the center has browned in places. In my experience, it’s better to brown them a little too much than leave them pale—nobody wants chewy crackers. You may have to sacrifice some of the edge pieces, but honestly, I kind of dig the overdone parts.

Olive Oil Crackers

Olive Oil Crackers are a great blank slate cracker because their primary flavors are—you guessed it—olive oil and salt. You can absolutely leave them plain, but I love dressing them up with whatever spices sound good. The batch pictured was seasoned with cracked pepper, Maldon salt, and dried rosemary, but I’ve included a bunch of suggestions in the recipe.

You can save this recipe for your next get-together or cozy night in with someone you like, or you can just make them for yourself, like I do. Because I like to eat Olive Oil Crackers and extra sharp cheddar for dinner after 14 hour workdays. And also because I’m a little bit fancy (but only a little bit).

Olive Oil Crackers
Olive Oil Crackers
makes lots

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup warm tap water
spices of choice

Spice suggestions: freshly cracked black pepper, flaky salt, dried rosemary, dried thyme, everything bagel seasoning, za’atar, sesame seeds, poppyseeds

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add oil and warm water and whisk just until combined. Divide dough in two. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly flour the backs of 2 sheet pans.

Roll out the crackers. Place one half of the dough on one of the floured pans. Use a rolling pin to roll it as thinly and evenly as possible (without being transparent) in all directions. The edges will shrink back slightly; if they are snapping back dramatically, cover the partially rolled dough with plastic wrap and let rest for another 15 minutes. Once rolled out, the dough should cover most of the pan and have irregular edges. Repeat with remaining dough and pan.

Sprinkle desired spices over the dough and lightly roll the rolling pin over the top to adhere.

Cut the crackers. Use a sharp chef’s knife, pizza cutter or bench scraper to cut dough into crackers. Mine are roughly 1 1/2 x 2 inches, but you may cut them as big or small as you like, keeping in mind that baking time may be affected. Prick each cracker with a toothpick or fork.

Bake crackers for 15-18 minutes, or until dark at the edges with some browning in the center. If they are pale, in the center, return them to the oven for a minute or two until they develop some darker spots.

Let crackers cool completely on their pans. Serve with cheese, cured meat and/or fruit.

Crackers will keep in an airtight container for at least a week.

Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}If you’ve been around here a while, you know that I spend 51 weeks of the year dreaming about my annual trip to Swans Island, Maine, and one week actually on the island. I hope to one day be able to make that more of a 40:12 situation (I’d settle for 50:2), but until then, I’ll just have to make the most of that week.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This is my fourth year going up to Swans Island, and my third organizing the trip. There’s something wonderful about the anticipation of it all. From the moment we start looking at vacation dates and rental houses, and then confirming guests, there’s a wonderful familiarity to the whole process.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}We book the house. We choose a spot to stop overnight on our way up (usually Portland) and VJ books the AirBNB. We rent a car. We create a menu and make a grocery list. Throughout it all, we dream about this incredible place and probably annoy the crap out of the first-timers going with us 😉 Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}One of my favorite parts of the process is coming up with recipes we can all enjoy. VJ, my Swans Island ride-or-die, is a gluten-free vegan. In fact, she might be the world’s most adaptable gluten-free vegan—I’ve never seen her look at a menu and not be able to find *something* she can eat.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}When it comes to my on-island baking adventures, VJ is always willing to help take process photos and is super supportive (she once sat on a rock in the dark outside the Swans Island Post Office with me so I could use their WiFi to post these Lemon Bars), but I rarely bake anything she can actually eat. As such, I’ve made an effort on these recent trips to make baked goods that all of us can get behind. Last year’s gluten-free vegan options included Cornmeal Pancakes and Salted Chocolate Hazelnut Granola. This year’s are going to include s’mores made with these easy Toasted Oat Graham Crackers!Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}The idea for these sweet little crackers came to me as I was falling asleep one night last week and the inspiration was so strong that I had to get up and type it all down before I forgot! Four test batches later, I’m serving up a delicious and deliciously easy recipe perfect for our vacation 🙂 Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers are crunchy and nubbly, and have just the right amount of sweetness. They’re everything you could want in a graham cracker, except where the traditional treats start with a specialty coarse wheat flour, these are made with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, like old-fashioned oats, light brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut oil, and pure maple syrup.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Also, the dough is made entirely in the bowl of a food processor! Easy peasy.

Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Once the dough is made, roll it out between two sheets of parchment and give it a quick freeze before slicing it into crackers. A chef’s knife works well for this, but I am fond of this expandable pizza wheel.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Score each cracker down the center…Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}…and pierce it a few times with a toothpick. I use a wire cake tester.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Bake the graham crackers for twenty minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes and then, all bets are off! These crispy, crunchy, cinnamon-spiced Toasted Oat Graham Crackers are great by themselves, or topped with peanut butter. Or cream cheese frosting.

Don’t judge me.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}These crackers can be kept whole or broken neatly in half along that score line. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m pretty sure these would make an amazing gluten-free vegan graham cracker pie crust!Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}One thing I know for sure is that they’re pretty damn good stacked with dark chocolate and toasted vegan marshmallow. Best vegan s’mores ever.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}I can’t wait for vacation.Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan, Gluten-Free}
makes about 3 dozen square crackers

3 cups old fashioned oats (use certified gluten-free for gluten-free crackers)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3-4 tablespoons water

Place oven racks in the top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 325F.

Spread oats onto a dry rimmed sheet pan. Place in oven and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

Transfer oats into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1.5-2 minutes, or until there are no recognizable oats. Pulse in light brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add coconut oil, maple syrup, and 3 tablespoons of water and process until a dough ball forms. Add 1 more tablespoon of water if the dough is crumbly.

Sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, line two sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Remove frozen dough from freezer. Slice in 2-inch squares (scraps may be re-rolled). Place about 1.5-inches apart on prepared pans. Use a sharp knife to score lightly down the centers. Pierce a few times with a toothpick or the tines of a fork.

Bake 10 minutes before rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let crackers cool for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Crackers will initially be slightly soft, but will harden as they cool. Repeat brief chill, slicing, scoring, and baking with any remaining dough.

Graham crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for at least a week.
Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Toasted Oat Graham Crackers {Vegan & Gluten-Free}