Once every few months we decide to have a big cheese platter for dinner instead of cooking meal. It feels so special, we refer to it as a Cheese Party. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a party for dinner? Count me in.
No Cheese Party is complete without lots of cheeses, and we always pick 4-6 cheese that jump out at us at the cheese counter at Whole Foods. The great thing is, they have a little basket full of odd-ends of cheese, which are the perfect size for a cheese party for two. They will also cut any piece of cheese smaller for you, so don’t be afraid to ask them to cut you a sliver of that giant hunk of cheese you have your eye on. I’m partial to anything local, grass-fed, raw, extra creamy, super-aged, or otherwise funky. Translation: hello, my name is Chelsea, I love cheese and want to eat it all.
Next in this Cheese Party operation comes the extras. If you’re a meat-eater this is where you might select a salami or other cured meats. We like to pick one or two fresh and/or dried fruits, olives, nuts, maybe something pickled, and a few spreads like mustard, fig jam or cherry preserves. Often times we already have these things in the pantry at home, so there’s no need to buy everything just for one night.
The final category for building the ultimate platter for your cheese party is the bread. We like to get a loaf of ciabatta to cut and toast, and a few different types of crackers. One of our favorite cracker flavors that always makes it into the basket is rosemary & olive oil. There’s just something so perfect about the salty, herbaceous, earthy flavors of a rosemary-olive oil cracker that keeps us coming back for more. The ones we really like are sold near the cheeses in a little bag, and are imported from Italy. Thus, they are like $8 a bag. One day I realized I could just make the crackers myself, and life hasn’t been the same since.
I’ve tried lots of cracker recipes, but something always seemed off. If I’m going to the trouble to make my own crackers, I don’t want to have to mix them in a food processor, let the dough chill before baking, go out and buy any fancy or expensive ingredients, or spend hours cutting out crackers shapes. I mean, I’d rather just pay the $8 than spend two hours making crackers out of $20 worth of groceries, you know?
So when I set out to make these crackers, I knew I wanted them to be as simple as possible. My goal was to use ingredients I always have in my pantry, ones that I think you will, too. With the exception of the rosemary, which I did have to go buy, I just used flour, baking powder, salt, and olive oil to make these crackers. I tried these crackers with only all-purpose flour, and only whole wheat flour, and eventually landed on a half-and-half blend for the perfect flavor and texture. If you only have one or the other, go ahead and use what you have; the crackers will be good either way.
Everything gets stirred together, kneaded a few times with your hands, and rolled out into a sheet-pan sized rectangle. You can bake one giant cracker and break it into shards after it bakes and cools, or cut it into random rectangles before baking and easily grab-and-snack as soon as the crackers cool. Your choice.
Either way, I think you’re going to love these simple, satisfyingly crunchy, homemade crackers. Rosemary is my favorite cracker flavor, though these would be great with another herb like thyme or sage, or plenty of dried garlic and crushed red pepper flakes instead of the herbs. Plus, when was the last time you ate homemade crackers? I’m guessing maybe never, and your friends are going to go crazy over the fact that you made your own crackers. Seriously, you’re about to win friends and influence people with these crackers. Trust me.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour*
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (from 5-6 sprigs of rosemary)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup warm tap water
- flaky salt, for topping
- 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line sheet pan with parchment paper (optional, for easier clean up). Set pan aside.
- 2. Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Once a shaggy dough is formed, use your hands to knead 3-4 times, or until dough forms into a ball.
- 3. Sprinkle a clean counter top or large cutting board with flour, and roll out dough in a rectanlge the same size as your sheet pan. Transfer dough to the pan, and slice into desired shape/size crackers with a knife or pizza cutter. You can also leave it whole and break into rustic chunks after baking. Sprinkle unbaked crackers with flaky salt, if using.
- 4. Bake crackers for 20-30 minutes, depending on how thick you roll the dough. Crackers should be a pale golden brown when you remove them from the oven. Let crackers cool completely, then serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- *I liked the combination of all-purpose and white whole wheat flour best, though 2 cups of either flour will work just fine.