Thursday, February 23, 2012

100% Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers

I've ventured into the world of making my own crackers before with Alton Brown's seeded crackers. They are my kind of cracker, with a big crunch and big sesame flavor.

This time I wanted to try a cracker that would be more kid friendly. And there is nothing Kitty likes better than when we visit friends who will feed her Ritz crackers. I was pleased to find a Ritz cracker recipe from Cupcake Project that looked quick and relatively easy.

For my crackers, I swapped out all the all-purpose flour for white wheat flour. The crackers still had a great flavor and texture, even with the use of 100% whole wheat. But then I'm used to whole wheat and like the wheaty-flavor. If you're not used to that yet, you may want to start with 50% whole wheat and work up to it.

I also used aluminum-free baking powder. Alton Brown says you are likely to get a metallic taste to your crackers if you use regular baking powder (and who wants that?). Aluminum free baking powder is easy to find in any grocery store in the baking aisle (it's not much more expensive) or I've listed a substitution below the instructions.

Since I still had my tiny heart cookie cutter out from Valentines, I used that to cut out the crackers. So they were mini-Ritz, and darn cute. And I found this dough much easier to roll and cut than the seeded crackers.

I was worried that brushing them with the salty butter at the end would make them too greasy, but that was not the case. If anything I think it could have used a bit more salt.

The kid verdict was positive: both girls gobbled up the crackers as if they were store-bought. I was also pleased with the results. A tasty, 100% whole wheat cracker without the preservatives of store-bought, using basic ingredients, and quick and easy to make.

100% Whole Wheat Ritz Crackers

Adapted from Cupcake Project

2 cups white wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder, aluminum-free*
1 TB sugar
1/2 tsp salt
6 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
2 TB vegetable oil
2/3 cup water (or a little less)

Butter topping:
3 TB unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Pulse the flour, baking powder, sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a food processor.

Add cold butter and pulse a few times.

Add vegetable oil and pulse.

With the food processor running, slowly pour in the water. Stop adding water as the dough comes together to form a ball.

Split the dough in half and roll out the first half thin, about an 1/8" thick (or use a pasta roller if you have one handy).

Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Poke a few holes in each cracker so the cracker will bake properly. (I used a wooden skewer, a fork would work too).

Roll out remaining dough and continue to cut out crackers and poke with holes.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. The crackers should just be golden brown.

While the crackers are baking, mix the melted butter and salt for the topping.

Brush the crackers with the melted butter and salt as soon as they come out of the oven.

Cool the crackers on the pan and enjoy!

Yield: About 200 mini crackers.

*If you don't have aluminum free baking powder, use this substitution: 1/4 tsp baking soda + 1/2 tsp cream of tartar + 1/4 tsp cornstarch = 1 tsp aluminum free baking powder*

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