We’ll come right out say it up front. Of the crackers that we tried from Ivy Manning’s Crackers & Dips: More than 50 Handmade Snacks, we thought that these were the best. There, we said it. Now, let’s get scratchin’ so you can try them, too, and see if you agree.
Right from the beginning, we liked the idea of these crackers. We love cornbread and these promised the flavors of cornbread in a crispy bite-size package, so we just had to try them. Plus, they had the added bonus of being one of those doughs you just whip up in a food processor. In other words, easy-peasy.
Makes 40 crackers
We made these with coarsely-ground meal, giving them a nice crunchy texture; you could tell you were eating something made from corn meal, so we’d recommend you might try the same. Make sure to use unsalted butter; why have some corporation deciding how much salt to put into your baked goods? They aren’t baking, you are. We, of course, use our own scratched buttermilk. We use a lot and it’s the easiest cultured milk product there is, so you might want to consider making it, too. Finally, watch out for the cayenne pepper. It can be very hot — ours is — so adjust the amount you use accordingly.
Procedure in detail:
Combine dry ingredients. Yep, just measure them right into the bowl of a food processor, and give it a few good pulses to get everything all mixed together.
Add butter. Drop in the chunks of butter and pulse until butter is cut in and the mixture resembles cornmeal. Wait. That’s how it started out. Well, it’ll look like that again. Our food processor will shoot out flour as we cut in the butter. Does that happen to you? If so, you might want to try setting the machine into a dry sink before hitting the pulse button.
Add buttermilk. With the processor running, slowly pour in the buttermilk and process until the dough comes together and rides on top of the blade.
Shape and chill. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into two pieces and shape each into a rectangle about an inch thick. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.
Roll out dough. Place dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll it out to 1/8-inch thick. It really helps to give the block of dough a good whacking with the rolling pin to get it started. We whack it from left to right, rotate the dough, and whack again.
Cut crackers. Using a knife, or a pasta cutter, slice out diamond-shaped crackers about 1- to 1 1/2-inches on a side and transfer to the baking sheet. These do not spread, so you can put them close together.
Bake. Slide the sheets into the oven and bake until the crackers are dry to the touch and lightly browned around the edges.
Cool. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
These taste just like cornbread! Eating one of these is like biting into the crispy edge of cornbread cooked up in a cast-iron skillet. You get the crispness, the slight sweetness with a bit of a tang from the buttermilk, followed by that bite of heat from the cayenne. All the flavors of a great batch of cornbread rolled up into one little snack. Just perfect and worthy of the five stars.