Ever want just a little smackeral of something, as Pooh Bear would say? We did. And, we wanted something that was fairly easy. Something crunchy, something a little salty. No, we couldn’t just run to the cupboard and grab a bag of snacks. We don’t have them in the house, partly because they aren’t very good for you, but, mostly, because to one of us, they’re nearly addictive, and the bag can be gone in under an hour. By making our own salty crunchy snacks, they might be a little better for us, and maybe we won’t eat them as often.
Searching through the reams of snack recipes here in the repository of Scratchin’ Central, we came across a recipe for toasted almond crackers that sounded as if they might just curb our craving. The original recipe made a lot, about 5 dozen, which was too many for us. We cut the recipe in half, so all the photos will show that, but the original recipe, which is from Urban Pantry, by Amy Pennington, by the way, is mostly intact. We did use whole wheat flour rather than whole wheat pastry flour, and we skipped brushing the crackers with egg yolk before salting.
We don’t keep almond meal in the house, so we just measure the correct amount of almonds into the food processor, grind them, then move on with the recipe. We’ll include that below. If you have salted butter, omit the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. That’s about how much salt they (it’s always some mysterious “they” or “them”, isn’t it?) put in a stick, anyway.
Procedure in detail:
Grind almonds. If you have almond meal, you can skip this step, obviously. If not, measure out the appropriate amount of almonds, whole or sliced, it won’t matter, into the bowl of a food processor. This is where a scale comes in handy; simply pour in almonds until you reach 120g. Pulse and grind almonds. It took about a minute for our almonds to get ground finely, and, to help keep the counter clean, we set the food processor right in the (dry) sink, as bits fly out of the lid as it runs.
Pulse in drys. Now add the flours, brown sugar, and salt. Give the processor a few pulses to get everything mixed. We used about ten pulses because we had a particularly stubborn piece of brown sugar that didn’t want to break apart.
Pulse in butter. For ease, we just make thin slices from the stick of butter and pop them all over the top of the dry ingredients. You just want it cut up to make it easier to incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients. Hit pulse a few times to cut in the butter. Use enough pulses so it looks like coarsely ground crumbs.
Add water. Turn the processor on and add the ice water. Continue processing until a dough forms and rides on the blade. If needed, add just a bit more water. If it still doesn’t want to come together, pinch a bit of dough and see if you can shape it into a ball.
Chill. Turn the dough onto a work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment (preferred) or silicone baking mats. Parchment will result in crisper crackers, as the heat will transfer from below more efficiently.
Roll, salt, and cut. Divide the dough in two pieces and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch. Sprinkle the kosher salt over the top — sprinkling from a height of a couple of feet results in a better distribution of salt — and, using the rolling pin, lightly press the salt into place. Use a knife or other cutter to make 1-inch squares and transfer to prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1/2 inch of space between the crackers.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake until golden brown and crunchy, about 15 to 18 minutes. Rotate the crackers from front to back, top to bottom, halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Let cool on the baking sheet.
These are yummy! Delicious! Those were the first words out of our mouths (once we finished chewing and swallowing, of course). And it was the truth. These little crackers are yummy and delicious, although the texture is more like a shortbread than a cracker. Not that shortbread texture is bad, mind you; it’s just that we were thinking it would be a bit more cracker-like. The texture is tender enough that we think if you tried to spread something on top, you might end up breaking the cracker. So we recommend just eating them plain (or perhaps with a bit of cheese, or even cherry preserves, although the brown sugar does give them a slightly sweet taste). Five stars!