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Originally published Monday, December 30, 2013 at 6:03 AM

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Holiday Recipes: Homemade Crackers

Put some snap in your New Year’s nibbles with delectable homemade crackers.


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FANCY HOMEMADE CRACKERS Makes about 4 dozen, depending on size

For the crackers:

1½ cups flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)

½ cup warm water

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For brushing on the dough:

½ cup water with 1 teaspoon kosher salt stirred into it

For topping:

Coarse salt, black pepper, seeds (poppy, sesame, caraway, celery, flax, pumpkin) or dried herbs

1. Whisk together the flour and salt, then stir in the water and olive oil. Using a mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix the dough at medium speed for about five minutes until it comes together into a nice-looking ball; it will look shaggy and unpromising at first, and then suddenly smooth and suave. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix and knead the dough by hand, adding a bit more flour or water if the dough seems too sticky or too dry.

2. Shape the dough into a ball, put it back in its bowl, coat it lightly with olive oil, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for half an hour to an hour.

3. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

4. Divide the dough in half. Flip over a heavy rimmed baking sheet, flour it heavily, and roll out half the dough onto the back of the sheet until it covers the pan more or less from edge to edge. It should be quite thin. Trim off any overhang and brush off any extra flour.

5. Brush the dough with the saltwater, prick it all over with a fork (so the crackers don’t balloon up in the oven), and sprinkle with the toppings of your choice.

6. Use a pizza cutter or a large knife to score the dough into the cracker size of your choice. Don’t worry about making sure the crackers are separated: they’ll break apart easily after baking.

7. Bake the crackers for five to 10 minutes, until they are nice and golden and browning slightly on the edges and looking very baked. Remove the baked crackers to a cooling rack, where they will crisp up nicely. Repeat for the other half of the dough, either on a second baking sheet or on the first one after it’s cooled. After cooling, break the crackers apart and store in an airtight container.

— Adapted by the Akron Beacon Journal from Catherine Newman, www.disneyfamily.com

BUFFALO CRACKERS Makes about 4 dozen crackers.

1½ sticks unsalted butter

(¾ cup), softened

½ teaspoon celery seed

¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

1½ cups all-purpose flour

5 oz. container blue cheese crumbles

1. In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter. Add celery seed, Tabasco, cayenne and salt and combine.

2. Add in flour and mix on medium-high until mixture comes together like cookie dough. Add cheese and mix until combined.

3. Divide dough in half. Roll each into a log about 6 inches long by 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. Slice crackers off logs, about ¼-inch thick. Place circles on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes until light golden brown. Don’t over-brown crackers or blue cheese may taste bitter.

— Lisa Abraham, Akron Beacon Journal

LEMON, DILL AND HAVARTI WAFERS Makes 64 cookies

1 cup flour

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

4 ounces havarti cheese, preferably with dill, grated

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together on a sheet of wax paper.

2. Combine the cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed until well incorporated and smooth. Stop to scrape down the bowl.

3. Add the dill and lemon zest; beat on medium speed to incorporate. Reduce the speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture, beating just long enough to form a soft dough with no visible traces of flour (about one minute).

4. Divide the dough in half. Lay a large piece of piece of plastic wrap on the counter or inside a rimmed baking sheet and place half of the dough at the center. Roll to form a log that’s 8 inches long by 1 inch wide. Repeat with the remaining dough. Wrap both securely and refrigerate for three hours or up to overnight.

5. Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

6. Working with one log of dough at a time, use a small serrated tomato knife to create 32 slices, arranging them 1 inch apart on the baking sheets as you work.

7. Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes until lightly browned; a bit of butter will be bubbling at the edges of the wafers. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

— Adapted by The Washington Post from “Slice and Bake Cookies: Fast Recipes From Your Refrigerator or Freezer,” by Elinor Klivans (Chronicle, 2013).



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