Crackers are a popular food in our house. My kids love them. They’d probably eat crackers for dinner if they could (or anything else labelled “snacks” for that matter). So while everyone else is whipping out their royal icing and cookie stamps, here I am over here making sourdough crackers.
Don’t get me wrong — there will be plenty of cookies happening in our house too. But right now, I’m just having a little too much fun with crackers! They are actually quite fun to make with kids, too. The dough is easy to handle and roll, and my son never gets tired of adding “sprinkles” to things (even if they’re sesame seeds instead of sugar).
This sourdough cracker formula can be used to make either lavash crackers (a crisp flatbread) or grissini (thin, crunchy breadsticks). Leave them plain with just a sprinkling of flaky salt, or add seeds / spices to add texture and additional flavor! (Just be careful with dried herbs and spices as a tiny bit goes a long way.) You can even sprinkle on some grated cheese or knead some into the dough. My favorite cracker flavor combo is smoked paprika, garlic flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, black pepper, and a little flaky salt. Yum!
These sourdough crackers are tasty on their own, but also make a great addition to a nosh or charcuterie plate. They keep well, so make a few batches now to have on hand for your holiday entertaining needs!
A couple of notes:
Sourdough Crackers: Lavash and Grissini
Makes about one baking sheet’s worth of crackers
- 100g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
- 50g flour (I like a mix of bread and wholegrain)
- 10g olive oil
- 10g honey
- 2g salt
- Assorted seeds (poppy, sesame), spices, and/or flaky salt for topping, if desired
- Stir together the starter, oil, and honey until combined. Add the flour and salt and mix with a spatula until a rough dough forms. Knead for 3-5 minutes, or until the ingredients are well combined and the dough is smooth. It should be a medium-firm consistency and not sticky. (If it is sticky, add flour a tsp at a time until smooth, If it is dry, add water a tsp at a time until hydrated.) Transfer to an oiled container.
- Ferment the dough at room temperature until it is doubled in size, about 3-4 hours. (Note: you can also refrigerate the dough for a few hours at this point if you aren’t ready to bake yet. Not sure how long it will hold, but I’ve held mine for about 8 hours and it probably could last longer. No need to bring to room temp before proceeding.)
For lavash crackers:
- When the dough is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 400F (with a baking stone if you have one). Turn the dough onto a Silpat or piece of parchment paper cut to fit a baking sheet.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle as thinly and evenly as possible. It should be almost paper thin. (Alternatively, you can divide the dough into portions and use a pasta machine to roll them out. I like to get them down to the 2nd-thinnest setting.)
- Transfer the dough, still on the Silpat or parchment, to a baking sheet. Dock the surface all over with a fork to keep it from puffing in the oven. Mist with water and sprinkle seeds / spices / flaky salt if desired.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking, until browned and crisp. Cool on a wire rack, then break into shards and serve. Keeps well in an airtight container or ziplock bag.
- When the dough is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. If you’d like to coat your grissini with seeds, place the seeds on a plate or small baking sheet.
- On a nonstick mat or lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle between 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick. Cut dough into even strips into desired thickness (I like 1/8″ – 1/4″ inch). Roll them one by one in the bed of seeds, if desired, then transfer to the prepared sheet. If you like, you can hold one end of dough while twisting the other to get a corkscrew effect.
- Bake until dry and crisp, about 30-40 minutes (but can vary wildly depending on the size of your grissini). Cool on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container or jar.
If it were up to me, every weekend would start with homemade pastries. Taking a little extra time in the morning to make something beautiful, buttery, and delicious is a special form of indulgence. Now that the weather is a bit cooler, I’ve been trying to get in a little lamination practice. It’s actually quite difficult for me to find all-butter puff pastry around here, so I’ve been making this rough puff recipe (with two extra folds) as practice for making the real thing later on this winter.
If you can make pie dough, you can make rough puff. It’s a great thing to have on hand for weekend pastry cravings or quick appetizers. But if you’ve got easy access to all-butter puff pastry, certainly go that route if you prefer.
I’ll be honest: when making morning pastries I often don’t measure my filling ingredients. Usually I use a bit of whatever I have lying around: in this case, it was some leftover liquid cheesecake from Christina Tosi’s All About Cake, and the dregs of a bag of fresh cranberries. I think leftover cranberry sauce would be great here (as long as it’s not too runny), or even another thick jam. I do think a tart fruit works really well in these turnovers — it’s a perfect foil to the rich pastry and tangy cream cheese. At any rate, two tablespoons of filling for each pastry is about right. And since I assume most of you don’t have liquid cheesecake lying around, I’ve provided some classic cream cheese filling measurements.
One final thing — I’ve finally put together an Amazon page with some of my favorite baking supplies! I hope you’ll take a look if you’re looking for some gifts for the bakers in your life (or for yourself ;)). These are the tools and books I use most often in my own kitchen and am happy to recommend. Please check it out!
Cranberry Cream Cheese Turnovers
Makes 8 large turnovers
- 2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed if frozen (homemade or storebought)
For the cream cheese filling:
- 113g cream cheese, softened (about half a block)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- Dash of vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Squeeze of lemon juice
For the cranberry filling:
- 1 c cranberries
- 30g granulated sugar
- 30g dark brown sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg, whisked with a splash of milk or water
- Turbinado or sanding sugar
- Preheat oven to 400F with racks in the upper and lower third, and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Roll each sheet of pastry into a large square about 1/8 – 1/4″ thick (10-12 inches). Trim the edges to neaten and cut each square in quarters for a total of eight squares. Refrigerate pastry while you prepare the fillings.
- For the cream cheese filling, combine the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add lemon juice a tsp at a time to taste.
- For the cranberry filling, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.
- Place about 1 Tbsp cream cheese filling and 1 Tbsp cranberries on each square. Brush the edges lightly with the egg wash. Fold each square diagonally to form a triangle. Use a fork to crimp the edges to seal. Refrigerate turnovers for 15 minutes, or until pastry is firm.
- Brush the tops lightly with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, or until pastry is well browned. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
When it comes to cookies, I am very much a creature of habit. When we need a batch of something sweet, I’ll usually whip up our house chocolate chunk cookies or maybe some snickerdoodles. And every fall, I have to make at least a couple of batches of chewy ginger molasses cookies.
For the past several years, this Bon Appetit recipe has been my go to. Soft and chewy centers, sugared exteriors, a vibrant amount of spice, and dead easy to make — can’t ask for much more!
This year, though, I’ve been tinkering with this recipe and made a couple of tweaks to pack even more of a punch into each bite. Swapping in some rye and bread flour adds even more chew and richness of flavor. A little fresh ginger and black pepper add a spicy kick. I like to roll my cookies in a mixture of turbinado and sanding sugar for a nice balance of shine and crunch and top each cookie with a small piece of candied ginger. These are hands down my favorite fall/winter cookies — I hope you’ll love them too!
Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
Makes about 15 cookies | Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 125g AP flour
- 75g bread flour
- 50g rye flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 113g unsalted butter, melted
- 65g granulated sugar
- 113g fancy molasses
- 50g dark brown sugar
- 40g turbinado sugar
- 40g sanding sugar
- Candied ginger
- Preheat the oven to 375F with a rack in the center, and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flours, baking soda, spices (except for the fresh ginger), and salt together.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and dark brown sugar. Add the grated ginger and rub it into the sugar with your fingers to distribute.
- Whisk in the melted butter, molasses, and egg to combine.
Add the dry ingredients and mix just to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm the batter up slightly to make it easier roll. (If refrigerated longer than an hour, let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to soften slightly.) Meanwhile combine the turbinado and sanding sugar in a small bowl.
- Using a cookie scoop or your hands, form golf-ball sized rounds (about 40-45g each). Roll in sugar and place on prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Press a piece of crystallized ginger on top of each cookie.
- Bake sheets one at a time for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until cookies are puffed and starting to crack and the edges are set. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
This post is sponsored by Weight Watchers Canada. Find out more about the WW Freestyle program, which encourages the freedom to eat the foods you love while nudging you towards healthier choices using the SmartPoints system. As always, all ideas and opinions expressed here are my own.
Around this time of year I tend to have a few extra apples / apple butter lying around, the products of slightly-over-enthusiastic orchard trips. Not that I mind at all — I really enjoy baking with apple butter (in addition to spreading it on toast). Like applesauce, apple butter adds moisture and flavor to baked goods. I actually think the flavor you get with apple butter is better than applesauce, because the fruit is much more concentrated!
This time around I wanted to use apple butter to make a hearty breakfast quick bread, full of spice and whole grains. Enter this Apple and Ginger Loaf! I’ve been crushing on ginger lately, so it’s a major player here. I ground some fresh ginger up with the sugar to see what would happen, and I love the fragrance and spice it adds (and that grinding it with the sugar avoids those gingery strings)! If ginger isn’t your thing feel free to cut back or substitute with your favorite fall spice (I think cardamom would be lovely here). Conversely if you’re really into ginger, you could go wild and toss in a handful of chopped candied ginger, or sprinkle some on top.
Apple and Ginger Loaf
Makes one loaf, about 16 servings
- 60g dark brown sugar
- 60g granulated sugar
- 50g fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 30g molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 99g neutral vegetable oil (I prefer grapeseed)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 170g apple butter
- 177g white whole wheat flour or sifted whole wheat flour
- 50g rolled oats (not instant)
- 57g chopped, toasted pecans (optional)
For the topping:
- 1 Tbsp rolled oats
- 1 Tbsp coarse sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease and line a loaf or Pullman pan with a parchment paper sling.
- Place the sugars and ginger in a food processor. Pulse until ginger is completely broken down. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
To the sugar-ginger mixture, add the eggs, molasses, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Mix on low to combine, then turn up the speed to medium and whip until the mixture is thick and expanded, about 5 minutes.
- Turn the speed down to low and slowly stream in the oil and vanilla. Mix until homogeneous. Add the apple butter and whisk on low until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour and oats. Mix on low just until combined. Add the nuts if using and use a silicone spatula to mix just until the batter is smooth and combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure the batter is evenly mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the rolled oats and coarse sugar evenly over the top.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Using the parchment sling, lift the loaf out of the pan to finish cooling completely on the rack.