A thoroughly contemporary take on the recipe for ‘Souffled Crackers’ that dates back to a 1918 cookbook from Fannie Farmer’s Boston School of Cooking. Also called ‘Ice Crackers’ because before baking, the soda crackers are briefly dipped into ice water! Yes, this is a weird retro recipe but oh so ever worthwhile!
Will readers please take it on faith that when I launched 'Summer Easy' that I never once envisioned doctoring saltines with herbs and salt? But I’ve now made these simple almost-homemade crackers four times in ten days, each time to rave reviews and honestly, despite the totally weird technique, they’re just delicious, crispy salty oniony bites.
If taste weren’t enough, there are at least two more reasons to love these crackers.
COST Store-bought crackers are expensive, reaching up to $4 and $5 for a 12-ounce box. Saltines are cheap, a pound box sets me back $1.19.
TEMPTATION If a box of Triscuits sneaks into the house, look out, my will power is lousy. Saltines, not so much. If a box is around, there’s no temptation to down the box in an evening.
ADAPTABILITY This is definitely a concept recipe to play around with, have a little fun with. I loved a recent batch sprinkled a little barbecue rub, a mix of salt, sweet and heat. One version I've yet to try is a cinnamon and sugar sprinkle to create a ‘dessert cracker’ to tip with a bit of cream cheese and a piece of fruit.
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 3 dozen crackers, easily halved or doubled
- Olive oil
- Good salt – Maldon, fleur de sel
- Chopped fresh herbs – chives (my favorite so far), oregano, thyme or rosemary, say
Preheat oven to 400F. Get out a baking sheet; if it’s prone to sticking, line with parchment or a silicone mat.
Fill a large flat bowl with a cup of ice and water to fill. With your hands, submerge four saltines into the ice water for 10 seconds, then arrange flat-side down on the baking sheet about 1/4 inch apart. (Work quickly, the crackers will soften and once they’re in place, can’t be moved.) When the tray is full, lightly brush or spritz the tops with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and chives.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden.
SERVING SUGGESTION Best served the same day. The crackers are perfect as is but also are strong enough to use as a snack cracker for a simple hummus or a bean dip, say. I’ve also made tiny cucumber and tomato sandwiches with slivers of cheese.
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Easy Dips and Spreads for Crackers
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