Tuesday, November 15, 2011

French Crackers!

Spelt crackers Is it possible to fall in love with a cracker in Paris?Spelt crackers What if that cracker was made in Germany/fabrique en Allemagne? No matter. I experienced a coup de foudre/instant love my 1st day in Paris. These crackers are thick, crunchy, heavily seeded, bio, about 3" x 4" and deeply satisfying. I ran out to Carrefour and bought 4 packs to bring home. Unfortunately at time of departure, the Macarons kicked out the seeded crackers and that was that.
Spelt crackers While watching The Good Wife on Sunday it hit me. A crunchy cracker is essential. The macarons were gone but wouldn't have done the job. I retrieved a remaining cracker and chomped.
Careful inspection of the ingredients (farine complète d’épeautre (55%), graines de tournesol (17%), graines de sésame (8%), farine d’épeautre (5%), flocons d’avoine, graines de lin (3%), sel de mer, levure, extrait de malt d’orge). led me to think, 'I can make these myself!'
Spelt crackers After an internet research I clobbered together a makeshift recipe, using Pascale Weeks, who referenced LA Times Peter Reinhart + NYTimes Tiny Kitchen (there's a video here) for Spelt seeded crackers.
No one else seems to toast the seeds (sunflower, sesame, flax, oatmeal) but you get a richer, nuttier cracker. I combined 1/2 cup of the toasted seeds with a 1/2 cup of the spelt flour in the blender.
Spelt crackers Plus no one else adds the seeds directly to the flour. Nevermind. I wanted seeds inside and on top.
 Dump your seeded flour mixture into the water and play (kneed into a kind of messy ball for about half a minute). If you ever made paste from flour and water as a kid you can do this.
Finally the fancy 'macaron' trays are coming in handy. Use the BACK side of the tray to roll out your ball of dough. Don't forget to throw flour on the tray and your rolling pin! All recipes say to poke holes in the rolled out dough. I forgot with the first batch and it didn't make any difference.
I used milk to spray on top of the crackers for so-called sheen and to get the seeds to stick but you could use water. I also 'rolled' on top of the seeds - they seem to wander. Cut into squares and into your 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
Did I make a tremendous mess? YES. Was this dead easy? YES!
Spelt crackers Don't forget to turn the tray after 10 minutes.
A comparative analysis of the Carrefour Bio crackers (1.78 euros) and my creations based on looks alone shows I need practice. But the taste was close considering I didn't use malt extract or leavening. I didn't use any sugar or fat some recipes call for and they taste fine. If you're in France it may be less messy to just go to Carrefour or Naturalia.
Spelt crackers Does Bear give his 'Seal of Approval' on this baking venture? He does bien sur. Should Dr.Kracker be worried? Probably not.
BONJOUR BAKING CRACKERS!

21 comments:

  1. I love the Eiffel tower salt shaker. Well done, M'lle!

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  2. Great job! They look wonderful.

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  3. Wow! They're dead ringers for the real thing. Good for you.

    But...why did the Good Wife make you think crackers? I watched it Sunday and it made me want chocolate...

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  4. Gee whiz, Carol, that last comment by Amy got me thinking.
    What if you slipped some bits of chocolate into the mix?
    I guess it doesn't take a whole cracker to fill Bear's little tummy, eh?
    Thanks for the recipe walk-through.
    Well done.

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  5. You crack me up, Carol!
    Thoroughly entertaining piece, and I am full of admiration for you. Keep on cracker baking! ;-)

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  6. good effort girlfriend!

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  7. I was hysterical! But you did a fabulous job! lol Love it they look yummy. I love the macaroon apron I am so sure it helped your creative juices flowing. lol Grace

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  8. that looks awesome!

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  9. Love the macaron apron and the crackers look delish!
    Annie

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  10. Lucinda5:28 PM

    Very brave indeed to follow an ingredient list in French off a package plus various and sundry recipes c/o Google.
    BRAVO!

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  11. Anna-Maria A.5:50 PM

    Such fancy French tins you have for your rustic crackers!!
    They deserve it too.

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  12. That's a lot of work for a cracker!
    Another reminder for me: Avoid Cooking and Cleaning!

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  13. hi carol! hope this finds you really well.... and i adore crackers.... bravo for creating this... looks amazing..xx

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  14. Will you be taking orders soon?? :))) Looks pretty good to me.

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  15. Funny seeing the same apron we both have - too cute! Great looking crackers, Carol. Yes, seen them at Carrefour but never bought them. Would you believe I get my crackers in Scotland and keep stock of them here since they're hubby's favs!

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  16. Jerri- Ann8:58 AM

    I am going to whip up a batch of your French via Germany crackers today.
    thanks for your demo.
    Cheers,
    Jerri- Ann

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  17. Annie in Maury9:15 AM

    My cracker recipe!
    In your robot coupe, pulse the grated cheese with flour and butter and cayenne to form a ball. Roll out, cut and bake in preheated 375º oven until golden. Sometimes I add nuts to the pastry.

    xxx
    Annie

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  18. Christine12:02 PM

    Thanks for another great tip on "What's MIAM ! " Your recommendations are always SPOT-ON !

    I would like to know the location of the CARREFOUR you visit in outer Paris.....
    Do you get to the store by using public transport ?

    Please let me know....if you can....

    Keep our taste buds tingling....!! MERCI BEAUCOUP !!

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  19. Carrefour is a HUGE supermarket chain all over Paris/France.
    The one I went to is next to Metro Ecole Militaire
    Another is on rue de Seine near bd St. Germaine
    They have a terrific selection of organic(bio) products
    Carolg

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  20. Laura8:55 PM

    Your crackers look quite tasty.
    There is a cracker company called Dr. Cracker that makes a very similar one. It is substantial, yet crunchy and has loads of seeds. If you are not in a baking mood or in France, these are a good substitute.

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