Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crackers and Hummus

Prior baking these crackers, I have never bake any savoury crackers before.

This is my first time baking savoury crackers and I don't really know much about cracker baking. I wonder if most cracker recipes are the same or not... Nevertheless, this cracker recipe that I have baked for this post seems to be an interesting one to explore. This recipe was suggested by Lena, from Frozen wings from the book, William Sonoma, Essential of Baking or here for Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and I to bake-along.

Interesting? Unlike traditional pastry, cookies and biscuits recipes, this recipe contains only 1 tbsp of shortening and 1 tbsp of butter but uses heavy cream (I assume it is the 45% fat ones) to bind the cracker dough.

As always, my principle for baking is always a big NO NO to shortening (because of its saturated fat content) and also less fat is always good for me... LOL! Considering the fact that less fat is always good for our hearts and waistlines, can it be bad for the taste and texture of these crackers. Is this the battle between fat vs taste?... What should I do?

With this recipe, I wonder... 1) If the substitution of shortening to butter will affect the overall crispness of crackers? 2) Can normal cream with 35% fat content works well too? Let find out...

This basic crackers has suggested four different variations and they are:

1) Seeded Crackers - with poppy, sesame and mustard seeds
2) Lemon-Thyme Crackers - with lemon zest and fresh thyme
3) Oregano-Parmesan Crackers - with fresh oregano and Parmesan cheese
4) Spicy Jack Cheese Crackers - with cayenne pepper, paprika, dry jack cheese and mustard seeds

I know that my son loves to eat anything with poppy seeds or lemon and so I have chosen to bake both the seeded and the lemon-thyme variations. I was glad that I made this choice because these two different crackers has taught me something...

As I was rolling my cracker dough, I didn't know which thickness would work the best as the recipe says only "roll dough as thin as possible without tearing..." and so I rolled and rolled and rolled... hoping that my dough can be as thin as possible. It was difficult for me to roll the seeded dough as the "fat" mustard seeds embedded inside the dough resisted me from rolling further. With much persistence, I had to force, crush and flatten some mustard seeds in order to roll further and further. In contrast, it is a different story for my lemon-thyme crackers. Without the seeds, I was able to roll the dough so thin without much force and effort. Although both doughs were equal in amount and all crackers were cut to the similar size and shapes, you can clearly see the difference knowing that I can rolled out and baked only 35 seeded crackers but 50 lemon-thyme crackers in total.

After having my first bite of my crackers, I then discover the secret of baking light and crispy crackers. Being thicker, the seeded crackers are not as good and crispy as the lemon-thyme ones as the thinly rolled lemon-thyme ones snap and crunch easily in our mouths. Now back to to my question... Is this the battle between fat vs taste? No doubt that the fat content is totally essential for good cracker baking but I reckon the ultimate secret is to roll these crackers as thin as possible...

Now, who wants some homemade crackers with homemade hummus?

homemade crunchy crispy crackers hummus
Crackers and Hummus. Anyone?
Some of the perfect marriages in this world... and they can be found in my crackers :p
The crackers doughs after resting
Rolling them as thin as possible are good arm exercises for me!
We prefer the lemon thyme ones!
The hummus ingredients
Creamy but guilt-free!
homemade crunchy crispy savory salty crackers
Very addictive too with these crispy puffy crackers

Here are the recipes (with my notes and modification in blue).

Seeded and Lemon-Thyme Crackers from the book, William Sonoma, Essential of Baking by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans and Lou Seibert Pappas or here

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1 tsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature

(replaced by same amount of butter)
1 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more, if needed

(the cream I used is not the heavy kind with 45% fat and mine contains 35% fat)

To make the dough by hand, in a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and poppy, sesame and mustard seeds. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas. Pour in the 1/2 cup cream and mix with a fork until a rough mass forms.

To make the dough with a food processor, in the bowl of the processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and poppy, sesame and mustard seeds and pulse 1 or 2 times to mix. Add the shortening and butter and pulse 7 to 10 times until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs the size of peas. Pour in the 1/2 cup cream and pulse a few times until the dough comes together in a rough mass.

Note: I have made my dough by hand.

Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface and gently squeeze it together. Add a few more drops of cream if the dough will not hold a soft shape - I need an extra 1 tbsp of cream for half of the recipe to get the dough into a soft shape. Gently press the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for at least 20 mins or for up to 1 hr.

Preheat an oven to 350°F (or 160
°C fan forced). Line 2 half-sheet pans or rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.

Unwrap the dough disk and place on a lightly floured work surface. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough into a rectangular sheet as thin as possible without tearing, dusting it with flour as needed to prevent sticking to either the work surface or the rolling pin. Trim the edges of the dough to fit the prepared pan, then carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Alternatively, using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the sheets of dough into shapes and place on the pans.

Bake 1 sheet of crackers at a time until they are crisp and brown, 12 to 15 mins (I baked mine for 13 mins). Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely until crisp. If you have baked the dough in sheets, break each sheet into shards. The crackers are best when eaten fresh, but they may be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

Makes about 30 small crackers.

Note: Using half of the recipe, I can make 35 seeded crackers. Using another half of the recipe, I can make 50 lemon-thyme crackers. To make this variation for half amount of recipe, I have omit the poppy, sesame and mustard seeds and add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme with the pepper.

Reduced Fat Hummus from

1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp water (I didn't add this)
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 small garlic clove, crushed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
sweet paprika, to garnish
(I didn't add this)

Place chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, water, cumin, coriander and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Add a little extra lemon juice or water if the hummus is too thick - but I didn't have to add any water)

Transfer hummus to a bowl. Sprinkle with paprika to garnish - I didn't do this. Serve with carrot and celery sticks or crackers.

Happy Baking and Happy Munching

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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.


  1. This must be a great snack for kids also adult. I love having it as my breakfast.

  2. Zoe, they look good!! The idea of making crackers myself is kind of intimidating since I've never baked them before! I believe it's an art to make it that thin ;)

  3. Good morning Zoe,
    These crackers are quite addictive! I like your lemon and thyme flavour. And making these more healthy by substituting the shortening sounds good!
    I'll be experimenting with different flavours the next time. :)

  4. looks nice but I am too lazy to bake cookies, find too time consuming lol.

  5. These look so good! I've never attempted making crackers before. :)

  6. Delicious crackers and hummus, homemade is always best.

  7. I like the crispy puff crackers, looks yummy!

  8. This looks lovely. I'm not very good at making cakes, cookies and the sort but I'm inspired to try after seeing all your amazing bakes.

  9. Hi Zoe! I was hesitating with this recipe because of the shortening! But since it works without that and its ok with the 35% cream, I shall try too. I can't find 45% cream in SG....

  10. I have never made crackers, but you've made me want to try now! These look so much better than crackers from the store! Of course, they're much healthier too! Thanks for posting!

  11. Mine's already gone despite the fact that they are too salty lol! Delicious with coffee but my son ate with a bowl of hot creamy mushroom soup! Yes, I find that the thinner you roll, the crispier the crackers! Yours look really crispy and thin!

  12. Zoe, I am very tempted to bake these crackers. I reckon after baking I will taste a piece and give away the rest so that I don't eat it all by myself. LOL!

  13. I have never tried making crackers at home but your recipe looks like a major winner :D


  14. This is my first time come to your yummy blog...woo...this crakers i think my kids will love so much!! Thanks for sharing...

  15. wow they look so good and easy, must put my hands to them

  16. Zoe , yours is my 3rd taste test :D Both of your version look really good ! Definitely worth baking !

  17. It is lovely to have you back Zoe. I love making my own crackers and will definitely try this recipe out for the Bake Along.

  18. Good to snack on. I have never tried making crackers. But this is real tempter.

  19. Zoe,these crackers look so delicious.It is such a good idea to make your own crackers. I have never made homemade crackers before but these sound amazing!

  20. Your crackers look extremely addictive!

  21. Zoe,
    This crackers looks so addictive!!
    I must try to prepared some hummus like yours to dip with..:D


  22. Hi Zoe, just popping in from Joyce's and I must say I'm glad I did. Sounds like you gave a lot of thought into these crackers and it shows. I've never baked crackers before. I know I should try one day:)

    I love the thought of the lemon thyme crackers with the hummus what a GREAT idea!!! Even if I never bake crackers, ever, I will be looking for lemon crackers at the grocery just to try with hummus!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing...

  23. Will be interested to attempt making my own. I wonder whether mine will be as nice as yours.

  24. I just went to Joyce's and had seen the same crackers, love this crispy crackers and will try it soon !

  25. Crackers and hummus, am ready to invite myself to ur place anytime.

  26. These crackers look absolutely scrumptious, Zoe :)

  27. hi zoe, i had no problem rolling out the dough as thin as possible too..but did you notice that the pic in the book one is even much more thinner than ours..more like potato chips..i actually like these crackers a lot..with hummus yes, that's good!

    1. Hi Lena,

      I realise too that the crackers shown at william sonoma website and the book are much more thinner and hollow with lots puffiness. I reckon over-mixing the dough can reduce the puffiness of these crackers. Keeping the dough cold helps too :D You think?


  28. I've never made my own crackers before but with this amazing recipe I will!
    Zoe, the pictures are beautiful too.

  29. I never tried make homemade crackers before, yours look so yummy though..:) i'm gonna give it a try soon:)

  30. My fave snack and I love that you have given me a homemade recipe ! Thanks!

  31. These look like tasty homemade crackers!

  32. Hi Zoe, crackers and hummus sound like a great combination too! Always love reading about your kitchen experiments.

  33. My crackers always come out so thick when I bake them. I need to figure out a thin trick.

  34. Zoe, when you mentioned the salty crakers, it brought back some old memories to me when my mum liked to dip them into her kopi o. I think mum still does it now, hehe. It's a great idea to dip them into the hummus!

  35. Hi Zoe,
    Just dropping you a note to inform you that AB#31 has been extended by 2 days, over the weekend. Roundup will be held on 3 June (Monday) instead of 1 June (Saturday). In case you still wanna make some buns ;p

    1. Hi Miss B,

      Sorry that I have not been able to participate this event. My weekend has been mostly chaotic with another round of packing :( I have browsed through the entries for this event and set my eyes on some. Hope to try some of these recipes when I'm back from my June holidays.


  36. I bet these crackers are tasty & VERY addictive! LOVE the idea of replacing shortening with butter. This will definitely gave them a lovely rich buttery flavour! I always thought that the only substitute for shortening was margarine! I prefer butter than margarine & it does makes a difference . Lemon & thyme always a great combo! YUMMY!

  37. Those crackers look so delicious and healthy too! So inspiring!

  38. Wow, awesome bakes, Zoe! These crackers look just like they're from a branded store. R u selling them anytime soon??? Heehee!

    1. Hi Shirley,

      I wish that I can earn some $$$ from my baking :D


  39. Looks super thin crispy. wonderful snack.

  40. We're starting to dabble with baking crackers, but haven't gotten very far. Great post - I learned a few things. These look terrific. Thanks so much.

  41. Hi Joe. It was a great bake along. A lot of fun and nice crackers in the end :). You have always so nice pics and the crackers look superb. I had no idea what is shortening so used also only butter. I added some buckwheat flour for the flavor, added linseeds and reduced salt.
    Looking forward to next bake along :)

    1. Hi Mumsfilibaba,

      Nice to have you baking along with us. Your buckwheat crackers looks superb!

      Btw, shortening can be any fat that is solid at room temperature and used to make crumbly pastry. Shortening can be available in any forms and the common and less solid Crisco brand of vegetable shortening is mostly prefer to make Asian steamed buns. In Australia, the common vegetable shortening that we use is Copha and is commonly used to make rice bubbles crackles. I don't really like the idea of eating fat that is solid at room temperature. The thought of having these fat in our hearts and bodies seems extremely yucky to me.

      Nevertheless, under special circumstances, I'm ok to use a little of these fat. Otherwise, I will avoid this ingredient as much as I would. Glad that these crackers doesn't need any shortening to be delicious. Rolling them as thin as possible will do the trick!


  42. Homemade crackers with a good homemade hummus...that just rocks! Love it.


  43. love hummus with pita or crackers... I dont make these cos my family doesnt like hummus, they say it taste weird.. hehe

    love your fresh made cracker ideas... maybe I can try this on them again... haha

  44. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!