If you’ve been around a while, you know I do a “savory January” full of weeknight meals to counterbalance all the sweets. I’m not sure how tightly I’ll keep that tradition this year, but I’m holding to it for now.
You might be saying “But Liz, crackers aren’t a weeknight meal.” To that I say, “Anything can be a weeknight meal, Susan.” I eat crackers for dinner all the time. There is usually cheese and some form of fruit or vegetable involved, but the crackers are unquestionably the thing that holds everything together.
Usually, I’ll go for some sort of cracker from the grocery store, but occasionally I’ll DIY them (see exhibits A & B). Right now it’s these Cornbread Crackers, which were inspired by a bag of Cornbread Crisps I saw at Trader Joe’s. Instead of buying some like a normal person, I thought “I can make those,” and indeed I did. I regret nothing.
Cornbread Crackers are just what they sound like: crackers with the flavors of cornbread. Made with equal parts yellow cornmeal and all-purpose flour, hints of sugar and salt, and bound with butter and water, these crunchy snacks are as welcome on a cheese plate as they are with a bowl of soup or chili.
Their texture is crisp and light, with a pleasing bit of grit from the cornmeal. The sugar in the dough is just enough to balance the salt and corn flavor, and the butter rounds them out and gives a little richness. On the grand spectrum of crackers (let’s pretend that’s a thing), they fall somewhere between water crackers and Wheat Thins, which basically means that I can’t keep myself from grabbing a little handful every time I pass by their container…or when I have some Trader Joe’s Mini Brie Bites on hand.
Don’t worry, I’ll leave the cheesemaking to the professionals.
makes lots (150 small crackers)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons warm water
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt. Add melted butter and warm water and whisk just until combined. Dough may seem a little dry, but should hold together very well when pinched.
Gather dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 400F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
Roll out the crackers. Lightly flour a surface and a rolling pin. Divide dough in half, then move on half to the surface while covering the other back up with plastic wrap. Use the rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness.
Cut the crackers. Use a sharp chef’s knife, pizza cutter or bench scraper to cut dough into crackers. Mine are roughly 1-inch squares, but you may cut them as big or small as you like, keeping in mind that baking time may be affected. Use a thin offset icing spatula (or other implement) to remove each cracker from the surface. Place crackers close together (but not touching) on baking sheets. Prick each cracker with a toothpick or fork.
Repeat rolling/cutting/baking process with remaining dough. Re-roll scraps as needed.
Bake crackers for 15-17 minutes, or until just turning golden. Keep an eye on them after 15 minutes, as they can burn quickly.
Let crackers cool completely on their pans. Serve with soup, as part of a cheese plate, or on their own.
Crackers will keep in an airtight container for at least a week.