Friday, December 20, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Cornmeal Crackers

I know, I make a lot of crackers, but they are so good! There are so many types to make too. I came up with this one yesterday in my kitchen because I wanted something different...something original I could give all my friends for the holidays. So I invented these cornmeal crackers. I'm really into cornmeal this year. I love the texture it gives baked goods and it is a whole grain. These packed up great as gifts because they got perfectly crunchy.

I think these would go great with anything. I really liked spreading some cream cheese on them yesterday because it is a nice compliment to the little bit of bite they have. They aren't all that spicy...there is just a little heat at the end. If you wanted them spicier, just add more cayenne pepper, or even add in some red pepper flakes to the mix.

The slight sweetness to the cracker comes from brown sugar and the heat from cayenne. This is all done in a food processor. I have a dough blade I use with mine, but it'll work in any food processor. You can also mix the ingredients by hand in a bowl. Just make sure you knead the dough so it forms a ball and isn't too sticky.

 Add the buttermilk slowly and stop when a ball of dough forms. You probably won't use all the buttermilk. Also, I make my buttermilk by just adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a measuring cup and then filling it to the one cup line with whole milk. This is actually a lot less processed than the "buttermilk" you get at the store. So unless you are making your own butter and have real buttermilk, this is what I suggest doing.

Here is my ball
 Knead a bit in corn flour to bring it all together...

I made a double batch, so I got two rounds of dough

After it rested for a bit in the fridge, I rolled it out on my silpat until it covered the whole sheet. Then I used my pizza cutter to cut the crackers.

I pricked them with a fork to avoid air pockets..

And baked them for 22 minutes at 375 degrees. That was the magic number for my oven. I'd set your timer for 15-18 minutes and watch them. You want them to be brown but not getting near burnt.

These fit nicely in these cardboard gift bags from Hobby Lobby.

They get really crunchy once cool (must let cool!) and have somewhat the texture and crunch of a graham cracker...but they have that corn flavor and a little more grit to them.

Sweet and Spicy Cornmeal Crackers

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal (I used fine cornmeal)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or a bit more if you want it spicier)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk

Combine flours, salt, baking soda, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar in the bowl of your food processor with the blade in. (Use a dough blade if you have one). After that is well mixed, add in the butter and mix until crumbly. Slowly poor in the buttermilk until the dough forms a ball. Turn out onto a surface dusted with cornmeal and knead into a ball. Cover and let rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough out onto a silpat (or parchment paper) on a standard size cookie sheet. Roll is fairly thin - 1/16 to 1/8 inch. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife. Poke holes with a fork in each cracker. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until browned. They won't be crunchy when they come out of the oven. They will firm up as they cool.

I think these would be great served with an onion dip or even some apple butter. Enjoy!

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