My smoke jumper/nurse/teacher of handicap children/Montana native/full of more character than even my own mother/UNCLE RON drove in for lunch with my Aunt Nancy. We decided to make it more than a pit-stop when he said he wanted to show me his new found cracker recipe (over 300 years old) to go with the soup I had prepared.
Who says no to homemade crackers? NOT THIS GIRL! Anytime anyone wants to cook for me, I take them up on it.
The story goes that this recipe was originated by sailors to take a "bread product" out to sea with them. Very simple ingredients. Uncle Ron just whipped it up from memory. Our Montanan relatives tell great stories, so he could have been pulling my leg, but this one sounded pretty legit. He said he's made them so many times because their "church ladies" just can't get enough of them.
He had tried many variations on this recipe. Olive oil instead of butter. Different herbs. Different flours. Different temperatures. This is what we came up with based on what I had lying around. They were DELISH!
Impromptu New England Herbed Crackers
... according to my Uncle Ron
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 cup water, more if you need it
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a little more for sprinkling just before baking
A handful of fresh herbs (we used parsley, but can't wait to try rosemary and thyme)
Heat your oven to 350.
In a bowl, mix flour with butter and water.
Stir until thickly combined. He recommended a wooden spoon.
Use your water sparingly until your mixture thickens up but all the flour dissolves. Mix in the herbs of your choice.
Then it's time to roll it out THIN on a baking sheet. I looked all over for my rolling pin, but alas I am not sure where Mom put it when unpacking my kitchen a few weeks back (Mom! Help!) so I suggested a wine bottle. It's probably what the sailors did anyway.
Once you get it pretty thin- aiming for about 1/4 inch thick, delicately score with the DULL side of the knife. It will create an edge for easy breaking after baking, but you don't want to fully cut them.
You know it's the right thickness if you get 34-36 crackers, roughly 2-3 inches by 2-3 inches per cracker.
Then stab each cracker with a fork, TWICE.
Into the oven for at least 15 minutes at 350. We ended up baking them for about 20, with a broiler setting for the last few minutes just to get a little crunch. Everyones ovens are different. They should just start to brown on the edges. These crackers are like brownies though. Aunt Nancy likes a little more chew, while Uncle Ron likes the crispier ones. Whatever you prefer.
Sprinkle them with sea salt just before popping into the oven.
While they are baking, it's time for something important! It's a Marks Family Rule:
WASH THE BREAD BOWL IMMEDIATELY.
No questions asked. I liked the rule. This guy cooked for me and washed my bowl. I'm adopting it.
Pull crackers out and check them with a spatula. Use the spatula to break them apart. Place them on a platter.
There you have it! Hot crackers and soup! These were SO GOOD. Ron commented that they freeze well too.
The only thing these crackers DIDN'T do, was put me into labor. Other than that, they did not disappoint I can't wait to make them again. Seriously SO easy. Maybe recipes are like wine, they only get better with age. This one stands the test of time! Those sailors knew their crackers.