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Sea Salt and Pepper Crackers

May 26, 2011

In preparation for a last minute get-together with friends last week, my husband and I dashed to our neighborhood grocery store for a whirlwind shopping trip.  There was no time for homemade appetizers.  Some wine, cheese, olives, salami, hummus and crackers would have to do.  Of course, I couldn’t help myself; I doctored up the hummus as a compromise for not serving my usual homemade version.  The dressed-up hummus earned the praise of our friends but my husband and I were especially pleased with the crackers we purchased.  They were simply seasoned with salt and cracked pepper but at $6.00 for a mini package, I was motivated to make my own.

I’ve had my mind on homemade crackers all week.  On one hand, I was excited at the prospect of making something that, one year ago, I would never have thought to try.  On the other, I was apprehensive about potentially failing at something that seemed so simple.  “Gourmet” crackers.  Surely there is a reason they command such a premium price?

I consulted a few recipes for my maiden cracker voyage.  Ultimately, I combined the technique of one, some of the ingredients of another and threw in my ideas for making them better…at least the latter was my hope.

I didn’t realize how easy crackers are to make.  A few simple ingredients, a little bit of kneading and rolling out the dough made for some great crackers.  I took pointers from reading America’s Test Kitchen’s version and rolled the dough on an inverted baking sheet.  It worked very nicely since my first attempt made hard work of rolling to paper-thinness an elastic dough.  The dough adhered enough to the sheet pan to keep it from springing back too much while rolling it.  Even better, the crackers baked right on the same pan.

The key is to roll out the dough paper thin.  It helps to achieve the crispness that one would expect from a cracker.  Additionally, my first batch, though tasty, puffed up on the borders so I pierced the surface of the dough with a fork to prevent this from happening again.  I also scored the dough to get more uniform pieces instead of irregular shaped ones.  It worked.  My second batch of crackers was nice and flat and cooled to room temperature, they were perfectly crisp.

This is a good basic recipe. While I was inspired to recreate the salt and pepper combination, it should also work well with an herb or cheese topping.  I do recommend the salt and pepper combination, though.  The crackers would have been too mellow without the kick from the salt crystals and the spicy bite of the pepper.  In fact, next time, I’ll add even more cracked pepper.  Who needs store-bought? I’m a convert to homemade.

Sea Salt and Pepper Crackers

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sea salt to sprinkle on top of dough
  • 2 turns black pepper from a peppermill plus more for sprinkling
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.  (With my convection oven, I baked at 425°F).
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt and pepper until combined.
  3. Add the pieces of chilled butter and process until the butter is no longer discernible in the mixture, a few seconds.
  4. With the food processor on, add the milk and process until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Shape into a ball and cut in half.
  7. Roll out one half of dough on an inverted baking pan. I used a half sheet size pan and rolled out as thinly as I could until the dough came close to the edges of the pan.  Repeat for the second half.
  8. Sprinkle sea salt and more black pepper.
  9. Pierce the surface of the dough with a fork and score it with a knife into serving size pieces.
  10. Bake on the sheet pan for 10-12 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time.
  11. Take out of the oven and allow to rest on the pan for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Cut into serving pieces.
43 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2011 10:53 PM

    I’m a cracker fanatic, I love nibbling on them with cheese or just by themselves. These look so thin and flaky, they are perfect!

  2. May 26, 2011 10:54 PM

    I am dying to try this! Crackers are just one of those things that fall off my baking radar because they are so easily accessible packaged. Who knew they were so simple to make? Love the photos, too, Jean. Lovely light!

  3. May 27, 2011 2:31 AM

    These are so lovely, Jean. There’s a variety of crackers here (they call them biscuits) but none of these plain ones which I like. They look so crisp. I can imagine how fresh and buttery they taste. Fantastic photos.

  4. May 27, 2011 5:50 AM

    I love these! Love crackers but still have never attempted at home. These look simply addictive!

  5. May 27, 2011 8:21 AM

    Love these! They look so crunchy and delicious, I have to make them myself 😀

  6. May 27, 2011 9:09 AM

    I have been dying to try crackers of some kind and these look like a great place to start

  7. May 27, 2011 9:27 AM

    These are the perfect little crackers. I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to stop eating them.

  8. May 27, 2011 9:55 AM

    These look great! And really, way better than any $6 box of packaged crackers 🙂

  9. May 27, 2011 10:00 AM

    Such a great idea! I love salt and pepper flavored crackers and chips. These would be awesome for a snack or even a dinner party. Nicely done!

  10. May 27, 2011 1:16 PM

    Love, love homemade crackers! How great that you came up with such a simple yet tasty recipe. I bet they were a hit with everyone. 🙂

  11. May 27, 2011 1:17 PM

    They look perfect! I am at the point of never thinking homemade crackers are something you could do! But you make it look easy!

  12. May 27, 2011 3:01 PM

    I keep telling myself I need to start making my own crackers. Every time I eat a bite of cheese (which as a good Italian, happens every day of course) I either have a cracker with it or I discover I finished them already and get disappointed. And you are right…they can be pretty expensive if you buy a gourmet one at a small store. I need to make a list of all the types of crackers I was to make and this recipe will surely be #1. Thanks for sharing!

  13. May 27, 2011 5:37 PM

    Never made crackers at home, but I think I should start and your recipe looks fantastic!

  14. May 27, 2011 6:36 PM

    mmmmm! Those sound yummylicious! I love nibbling on crackers. Actually, I inhale them! 🙂

  15. May 27, 2011 8:28 PM

    These look like store bought crackers! Trying this recipe for sure 🙂

  16. May 28, 2011 6:28 AM

    These look so cute! Love the idea of homemade crackers and you bet I’ll be trying this soon =)

  17. May 28, 2011 7:48 AM

    deliciously done bookmarking

  18. May 29, 2011 8:16 AM

    I’ve been considering making crackers and came across your recipe today. Thanks for sharing, they look amazing and I’ll be trying your recipe soon.

  19. May 29, 2011 10:20 AM

    Wow, I had never even thought about making my own crackers (I’m in Amsterdam and crackers are actually really cheap here) but you’ve inspired me to put them on my must-try-list! They look great!

  20. May 29, 2011 10:35 AM

    These look amazing!!! I am so impressed at how thin and perfect they look, and such a simple but sophisticated flavor with sea salt. Definitely better than paying $6 for a package from the store! 🙂

  21. May 29, 2011 2:55 PM

    Wow, impressive! I never realised how easy it was to make crackers – I’ll have to have a go at my own! Beautiful photos, darling =)

    Jax x

  22. May 30, 2011 1:54 AM

    These look so good! I love Carr’s s+p crackers, but it never occurred to me to make my own. I am definitely giving your recipe a try – thanks for the nudge!

  23. May 30, 2011 6:43 AM

    Ive always wanted to try to make crackers – but its weird how you make somethings more complicated or intimidating than they really are in your hear and always find an excuse to not try them. These certainly look motivational enough!

  24. May 30, 2011 11:23 AM

    Oooooo! I’ve never made my own cracker before. What Fun!

  25. May 30, 2011 1:19 PM

    You make those crackers look so easy! I just bookmarked this recipe and can’t wait to try them myself.. they look delicious especially cuddled up next to that big hunk of cheese 🙂

  26. May 30, 2011 6:10 PM

    Jean these really do look delicious. I will have to give your recipe a try, it looks like a lot of fun to make. Thanks for hosting such a wonderful time on Sunday, I enjoyed meeting everyone and wow, what a feast;-) It’s nice to have a visual on where all your creative cooking takes place, oh and before I forget.. your pasta was amazing, I hope your recipe is here;-)

  27. May 31, 2011 3:51 PM

    For such cracker junkies you’d think I would have attempted making them before, esp. since gourmet crackers command such a high price! I admire your tenacity in the kitchen, Jean. These look perfect and you’ve inspired me 🙂

  28. June 1, 2011 7:28 AM

    You make making crackers look easy! I love how simple and delicious these look. Will definitely need to consider giving these a try next time I’ve a hankering for crackers. No more $6 box of crackers I say! 🙂

  29. June 1, 2011 9:18 PM

    Jean! You made HOMEMADE crackers!?! Oh my goodness. I’ve been under the weather and just last week I had my husband run out for saltines and canned soup. LOL. I would have loooved to try your crackers. The salt and pepper combo sound absolutely delicious. I might just be inspired to try my hand at homemade crackers!

  30. June 2, 2011 10:28 PM

    Thanks for the great feedback on the crackers, everyone! They truly were easy (and quick) to make. Glad you liked them. 🙂

  31. June 26, 2011 8:40 AM

    Absolutely gorgeous crackers…so crisp and delicate. PERFECT snack~

  32. June 26, 2011 8:49 AM

    I definitely love to try this crackers, my hubby will love it. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  33. June 26, 2011 12:35 PM

    Saw this on greengirl’s blog and hopped over to check out the recipe – Super Duper crackers and am bookmarking to try soon! Cheers, Priya

  34. June 26, 2011 2:24 PM

    Visiting from Roxana’s- love these crackers! I’ve had the pricey salt and pepper ones from the grocery store and can’t wait to try these. 🙂

  35. magicofspice permalink
    June 27, 2011 3:47 PM

    I stopped over from Roxana’s site as well to take a peak…what a lovely recipe and gorgeous crackers 🙂

  36. June 28, 2011 2:33 PM

    These crackers looks fantastic ! i like the addition of peppers 🙂

  37. November 4, 2011 10:31 AM

    I love this! I am so going to make crackers, how fun!!

  38. Karak Destra permalink
    December 31, 2011 12:01 PM

    Making them for New Years Eve. We added Parmesan, pinch of Alspice & home grown Sage.
    Thank you for such a great recipe!


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