My basil plant is thriving, which is a shock, because last year I killed a handful of them. Looking for new uses for the abundance of sweet leaves, I thought back to crackers. There's a cracker we've liked that's crispy and wheaty with sundried tomato and basil. I can do that.
I started with the flavor. Dried tomato from Margerum's, via Winter Harvest and still fresh in my fridge, basil from the backyard and a bit of parmesan. You can totally leave out the parmesan, just add a bit more olive oil and salt. The crackers don't taste cheesy. For cheese crackers, try something like the Mac and Cheesy Crackers I made last year. These crackers are based on the recipe for the Thyme and Onion Crackers I wrote about more than a year ago (!) but they're tangier and almost spicy.
I took a half cup of basil leaves, four sundried tomatoes and two tablespoons of grated parmesan and threw all of that in my little chopper. By all means, feel free to do this by hand, but mince everything tiny. I just pretended I was making pesto.
Then I gathered my dry ingredients. A cup of bread flour, one and three-quarters cups of whole wheat flour, a quarter cup of wheat germ, a teaspoon of sea salt and about half a tablespoon of black pepper.
I forked that all together.
Then added the wet. A third of a cup of olive oil...
The basil/tomato/cheese blend I had made, and a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of honey disolved in it.
I mixed that with a fork until a fork no longer made sense.
Then I got in there with my hands until it turned into what looked like the start of a fairly unappealing veggie burger mix.
It's not bad, doing it by hand. Look how sticky it isn't.
I divided the dough into eight pieces and ran it through the machine on the thickest setting. Like pasta, if it tore or looked rough, I floured it, folded it, and ran it back through.
I used a pizza cutter to try to cut out reasonable rectangles, but they definitely came out "rustic." The shape doesn't matter, but the more consistently sized they are, the easier it'll be to time them in the oven.
I cut off the roughest scraps and ran those back through the machine.
Once I had my little rectangles, I docked each one with a fork and sprinkled on more sea salt.
They need about 15-20 minutes in the oven at 375, at this thickness. If you roll them out with a rolling pin and they're a bit thicker, they'll need longer, and you need to keep a good eye on them either way. I set my timer for 10 minutes, turned them, and then just stared at them. My first batch took 18 minutes. This recipe made three baking-sheets-worth.
They're done when they're firm and the edges are getting golden. Check the bottoms to be sure they're not burning. Let them cool completely before storing them. Try not to eat all the hot crackers.
And really, don't walk away while they're in the oven. Golden brown is great, golden black is less so.
This made about 130 crackers, which sounds like a lot, but was just enough to fit in this jar.
They keep about a week, and if they aren't crisp enough you can recrisp them in a low (200 degree) oven.
This recipe is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.
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Sundried Tomato and Basil Crackers
Tangy and almost spicy crackers using the (almost too) bountiful basil this time of year.
- 1 Cup Bread Flour
- 1 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 Cup Wheat Germ
- 3 Tablespoons Sea Salt, Divided
- 1 Teaspoon Honey
- 1 Cup Warm Water
- 1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
- 1/4 Cup Sundried Tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese (optional)
Run the tomato, basil and cheese through a food processor or chopper to mince (or mince by hand). Ok to skip the cheese, but add a bit more salt and olive oil later. Mix the dry ingredients - flours, flax seed, pepper and one tablespoon of salt, then incorporate the wet - basil/tomato mix, olive oil, and warm water and honey. I find it easier to dissolve the honey in the water first. Mix well, with a fork and then by hand, and then roll out the dough using either a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Aim for about the thickness of a quarter. Cut into cracker shapes (a pizza cutter helps) and re-roll any scraps. Dock with a fork and top with sea salt. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then turn and check frequently. They are done when they're firm all over and golden at the edges. Maybe 15 or 18 minutes total?
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 130 Crackers