Sunday, January 23, 2011
I try to limit most packaged, processed food to minimize our intake of sodium and preservatives and also to save money/packaging. But one thing P and I just can't give up are Wheat Thins crackers. They're perfect to snack on when I get the munchies (which is pretty often). While I enjoy their subtly sweet and salty flavor straight from the box, P loves them best with slices of cheese or a dollop of creamy peanut butter.
Well knowing me, it was only a matter of time before I attempted a homemade version. Several internet searches later, I found the recipe right under my nose in the end, in a whole grain baking book I already owned from King Arthur Flour. With their long history as a supplier of quality baking ingredients and recipes, I had a good feeling about this...
Making my own "wheat thins" turned out to be even easier than I expected. The dough was a cinch to mix up. Thus the hardest part was just rolling and cutting out the crackers (which wasn't very hard at all). Best of all, it seemed to me that KAF really nailed the flavor. My only warning to you is that these disappear fast (I ate half the batch before P even got home). Better just make a double or triple batch to begin with =D.
My question for you, dear reader, is whether you've made any favorite boxed snacks at home? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Homemade Wheat Thins [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
Makes 6 to 7 dozen crackers
XIAOLU'S NOTES: I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe because 7 dozen is fewer than it sounds, especially when shared among several people 8). Since my boyfriend P likes his food very flavorful, I'm going to try making the Ranch variation of this at home, too. In the meantime, I've added a little garlic and onion powder to up the flavor to his liking :).
1 cup (4 oz.) whole wheat flour (regular OR white whole wheat)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (1 oz.)
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
Slightly more than 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
Combine the flours, sugar, salt, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, and onion powder, if using, in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it into the dry ingredients thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer, or a food processor. A 3 tablespoons of water to the flour mixture, mixing just until smooth. If dough is too dry, add remaining water a teaspoon at a time until all the flour is incorporated. Cover and chill dough for 5 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces; keep the other pieces covered with a towel while you work with one at a time. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle, which should be at least 12" square when trimmed. Keep your rolling pin and the outside of your dough evenly floured. Flip the dough frequently to keep it from sticking, but too much flour will make it difficult to roll. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing (about 1/16-inch thick). Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the piece into squares approximately 1 1/2" wide.
Transfer the squares to a prepared baking sheet; you can crowd them together, as they don’t expand while baking. Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Save the scraps under plastic wrap and re-roll them all at once just one time.
Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned. Check crackers after 5 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers brown too quickly, remove them. Then usse a spatula to stir remaining crackers around and return them to the oven to finish baking for another 3 to 5 minutes. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely - even 30 seconds can turn them from perfectly golden to way too dark! Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan, a wire rack, or a plate; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for several days, but are best stored in airtight containers.