Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Honey Wheat Crackers

My husband, Robert, and I decided this spring to start making some changes in our eating habits in an effort to lead a healthier lifestyle. One of the changes we made was to replace snacks of chips and salsa or potato chips with Wheat Thins, Triscuits, fruit and cheese. While we love the Wheat Thin crackers produced by Nabisco, they aren't sold at Central Market where I do all my grocery shopping. That meant that I had to make a separate trip every week just for crackers.

When I came upon this recipe, touted as homemade wheat thins, I knew I had to try it. I am so glad that I did! The flavors of the honey and the vanilla are fantastic and give the cracker an addictive quality. The aroma from the baking was so great, that Robert didn't wait for the crackers to cool before he tried his first bite. In fact, we ate so many crackers as they were cooling down that I had to make a second batch just to last us through the week.

One thing of note, if you have access to Mexican vanilla as opposed to regular vanilla extract use it in this recipe! I am a big proponent of Mexican vanilla in all my baking, and it's addition to these crackers makes a big impact.

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Honey Wheat Crackers
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for topping if desired
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (Mexican vanilla preferred)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and paprika and whisk to combine.
Cut the butter into small pieces.
Add to the flour mixture.
Using your whisk, or pastry cutter if you have one, work to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients using almost a mashing motion.
Continue until the butter is mixed thoroughly.
In a separate bowl combine the water, vanilla and honey, stirring to combine.
Pour into the flour mixture.
Using a spatula, stir until it begins to form a ball.
Divide into four equal portions and cover with a towel to keep moist.
On a floured surface, roll out the first dough ball into a rectangle. You want the dough to be pretty thin so that it will crisp in the oven.
For uniform sized pieces, trim the edges of the dough with a pizza cutter to make a perfect rectangle.
Using the pizza cutter, cut the dough into a grid forming tiny squares of whatever size you desire.
Place the squares on the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt if desired. Repeat the process with the remaining four dough balls.
Bake in the oven one sheet at a time for five minutes. Check to ensure that no pieces are browning too quickly, then return to the oven for five more minutes checking half way through. If any pieces appear to brown before the others, remove those and continue cooking the rest.
When done place the crackers on a parchment lined wire rack to cool.
Store in an air tight container and enjoy with cheese or by themselves for a light, healthy snack.
Source: Adapted from The King Arthur Whole Grain Baking Cookbook via Two Peas and Their Pod

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