This recipe comes from the same book as those wonderful Pecan Sandy Bars that we made last October. Remember those? Weren’t they just the best Pecan Sandy Bars you’ve ever had? They were for us. For those who didn’t try them, all we can say is: make them. They’ll change your life. Well, maybe. But, of course, the title of this post is Black Pepper and Rosemary Crackers, so let’s talk about them, instead.
This recipe comes from The Flying Brownie, by Shirley Fan, and it’s just one of over a hundred recipes for snacks that can be safely and easily shipped across the country or around the World. With each recipe, she provides tips for packing and estimates of how long they can travel before losing their luster.
Makes a lot of crackers (5-7 dozen).
We halved the amount of black pepper originally called for because we didn’t want crackers that were overly pepper-flavored; also, when these were done, it was hard to taste the rosemary flavor, so we’ve doubled the amount called for the original recipe. The extra-virgin olive oil might be a bit over the top; we think you could use any neutral-flavored oil. And, if you’re looking for something to do with that free-range egg yolk you’ll have left over, consider making fresh pasta.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix dry ingredients. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, black pepper, baking powder, and rosemary. You don’t need to use a whisk; a fork will work fine, but you do want to make sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed through the flour, especially the baking powder, since that will help the crackers puff up a bit.
Add liquid. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid right into it. Use a fork or a spoon to mix everything into a dough. The dough will be surprisingly sticky. At least it was to us.
Roll out. Divide the dough in half and place on a sheet of baking parchment. The original instructions said to roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment, but the dough is too sticky for that without the addition of a generous amount of flour dusted on top. Do that if you have to, but, if you have a silicone baking mat, you can place that over the dough and roll. The baking mat is far less sticky than baking parchment, so you can peel it right off after rolling.
Brush on egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white with 2 tablespoons of water. Using a pastry brush, coat the top side of the crackers with wash. By looking at the crackers from a low angle, you can tell what parts of the dough were washed, and which parts still need washing.
Salt and cut. Sprinkle salt over the crackers. It’ll stick well with the wash, so you don’t need to worry about too much salt bouncing off onto the counter. Cut the dough sheet into 1-inch squares — you can use a knife, a pizza cutter, or, like us, a little fluted wheel that makes fancy edges.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake. Place the parchment on baking sheets, and slide into the oven. Bake until the crackers are golden-brown, somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.
Cool. Let the crackers cool completely on the baking sheets, then transfer to an airtight container.
At first, we weren’t sure about these crackers. The dough was difficult to work, and the crackers seemed to bake unevenly. Our initial tasting didn’t improve the outlook, either, as the crackers, while still warm, had a bland, floury taste and lacked a bit in the crispness factor. That changed as the crackers cooled. They crisped up nicely, and the floury taste disappeared, making for a better cracker. That said, we think we prefer some of the other crackers better, such as the Rosemary Thin Wheat Crackers or the Cracked Peppercorn and Parmesan Soup Crackers, so we’ll give these crackers three stars.