The first time I made these crackers, it was my last year of culinary school and I was in an advanced baking class. It was one of my favorite classes. We learned how to bake gluten-free, vegan, no sugar added, reduced fat, etc. There was so much information to be learned in such little time!
One day during class, I was assigned to make these gluten-free crackers. I fell in love with them! They are savory, cheesy and have a nice kick of spice. You would have never guessed they were gluten-free!
They are ridiculously addicting!!
I decided to make them today since we are having soup for dinner and they go perfectly (I was also having a major craving for them!). Now, the reason I wrote 2 versions in the title is because they can be made with either regular flour or a gluten-free flour blend. Today, I made them with regular flour. When I do make them gluten-free, I substitute regular flour for an all purpose gluten-free flour blend that I buy in the food store. Either way you make them, they will always turn out really good.
This dough requires what is called a ‘four fold.’ It is one of the folds used in making puff pastry. These 2, four folds give the crackers their beautiful layers. In between each fold, there is a resting period in the refrigerator. The key is to keep the butter as cold as possible, so it doesn’t melt into the dough. If this happened, the layers would not exist and you wouldn’t end up with a crisp, flakey cracker 😦 . Sad when that happens.
Spice & Cheese Crackers (makes about 96 1×1 inch crackers)
3/4 Cup: All purpose flour OR All purpose gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon: Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon: Garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon: Salt
5 Tablespoons: Butter, cold and cubed
2 Tablespoons: Parmesan cheese, grated
2 Tablespoons: Cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 Cup: Water, cold
Salt, for garnish
1) In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, cayenne, garlic and salt. Add the cubed butter and cheeses. Mix on low speed for a few seconds.
2) With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the water until a dough comes together. It is okay seeing chunks of butter. Take out of the bowl, form into a square and cover in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for up to 40 minutes.
3) Once the dough has chilled, lightly dust a clean surface with flour. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Four fold (similar to a book fold): bring one end in to the center, about 1/3 of the way in. Do the same with the other end-both should be touching. Now, take the new folded side on the right and place it over to the left end. If you look at the ends, there should be 4 layers of dough. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
4) After the dough has chilled, give it one last four fold, following the steps from above. Chill for another 30 minutes.
5) Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Take out the chilled dough and roll in a rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Dock the dough with a fork-docking basically means to prick all around the dough with a fork. *This is done to help release steam in the dough during baking and prevent the cut out pieces from shrinking.*
6) Using a knife, cut the dough into squares of any desired shape. Place on a lined sheet pan and egg wash. Sprinkle with salt & bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, raise the heat in the oven to 325 degrees. Continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until golden and crispy. *Egg wash: Crack 1 egg into a bowl and mix together with a little water. You might not use all of the egg wash-save the rest and use for making an omelette!*
These savory crackers are perfect with soup or for a snack. Trust me, they are also an excellent crowd pleaser. I know from experience! Try out both versions and see what you like better!