Wednesday, March 9, 2011

people crackers

I know, what a yuck title, but I couldn't figure out what else to call them.  Little crackers that are shaped like people but taste like those fish that are orange and made by some farm and comes in little packages like this:
While others find that they don't taste fishy at all but are more like the square orange crackers that come in a package like this:

And since there is no consensus.......people crackers it is......except all of the ones I made aren't people shaped.  After punching and pushing dough out of what felt like 100 people shaped cookie cutters I was tired of it.  I spent 30 minutes rolling dough and punching shapes.  Seriously not worth the effort in my book.  A few to use as decorations is great but millions of little people crackers?  Huh uhh!  They would start a riot and take over my house or something.  I was having premonitions of doom!  So I began cutting squares, then rectangles, then rhombuses with wavy sides.  (What is a rhombus you ask?  It is a quadrilateral with four equal sides.....or simply put a squashed square!  I know you are asking because my brain drew a geometry blank as I tried to figure out what the name was and I had to google it for you!)  So they aren't all people crackers, just some, maybe 1/4 of them.

Still, they are yummy and I wanted to share with you!

You will need:

1 cup wheat flour ( you can use all purpose if you want to for a lighter colored cracker)
3/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter that is cold and cut into small cubes
pepper to taste
4 Tbsp water
2 cups shredded cheese of your choice

Mix the flour salt and pepper.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine crumbs.  Cut cheese into mixture a little at a time.  Once mixed, begin adding water one tablespoon at a time and stir until the mixture forms a ball.  Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for a few hours or up to a day.
Roll dough out onto a floured pastry cloth or board.  (Don't have a pastry cloth?  See my note at the end.)  You want the dough to be thin, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  cut out your shapes

and then place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden and crispy. Allow to cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

If you are still here and haven't run off to search for your pastry cutter then you must be looking for my note on a pastry cloth.

Basically,  all a pastry cloth is is a cloth that you use for rolling out pastries.  The flour primarily remains in the cloth so that your dough doesn't get tough but it still keeps the dough from sticking to the surface you are rolling it on.  It also makes it easier to roll our the dough in my opinion since it doesn't stick to the surface.  It also makes clean up LOTS easier.  Simply roll your dough onto the floured cloth.  Once you are done with it gather the corners, shake it off over the garbage can or outside then toss in the washing machine.  No counters with stuck on dough to scrub.

Now for my hint.  While you can go out and buy special cloths for this purpose, you probably already have one in your house.  Go open your linen closet.  Look around.  Do you see the pillow case that no one ever uses because it doesn't match anything or because you just don't like it.  Look again.  It is longing to be your new pastry cloth.  Or if you don't have one of those pillowcases, how about an old sheet that you haven't used in years and looks like it would be at home in a 1970's replica home.  It is begging to have a purpose in your house again.  With a few snips of the scissors you have one for you and several to give as gifts.  You can even get all fancy if you want to and sew a hem in the sides to keep them from unraveling although it really isn't necessary.

So what are you waiting for?  Go to your linen closet, get your pastry cloth and get cooking girlfriend!  These are yummy!

Oh, and if you are still here, there is this awesome thing called a food processor that works great when making this dough.  Just add the flour salt and pepper, pulse, butter, pulse, cheese, pulse, water (a little at a time pulsing after each addition until a ball forms) then follow the rest of the directions.  My food processor is just a baby and couldn't handle all the work so I had to do it the old fashioned way.  

Until next time,


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