Homemade crackers? Who do I think I am? There is a box of perfectly good crackers in the cupboard! These are better, trust me. Easy to make and they will impress your friends and family because not many folks think to make homemade crackers when there is a WHOLE aisle dedicated to them at the grocery store.Be aware though, these are pretty addicting. As they were cooling on the counter Tim couldn’t stop nonchalantly wandering through the kitchen to snag a handful. No cheese, no dip, just straight up crackers. After they cooled I sealed them up in a Ziploc and then had to hide them so Tim & I wouldn’t eat them all before the shindig that I needed them for. Luckily I had enough left for the party and there were left overs! Yay! So what did I eat for breakfast today? Crackers & hummus. A perfectly respectable breakfast.Hummus is a favorite of mine. It’s good on everything. Chips, veggies, crackers, sandwiches, toast, etc. I prefer it with veggies or apple slices. Or homemade crackers. I am a cracker snob now.
This hummus is only mildly spicy. I like spicy so I think next time I will increase the spice level with an extra chile but this time around I went super mild so no one would get hurt at the shindig I was attending. Some folks are just spice babies. (Is that a new band?)
I used about 1 1/2 chile peppers in this. You would think that would be pretty spicy but I think the ancho chilis I used are not hugely spicy plus the sweet potato lends a very sweet and earthy vibe. It tames the little heat that is present. Go ahead and make it as hot as want.
Now let me tell you a little about what Tim & I did last weekend.It’s still winter here. . .first days of Spring my arse! So we took a little wintry getaway north and used our snowshoes for what I hope will be the last time this season. We headed to Sleeping Bear Dunes the first day we were up there and snowshoed a couple of miles through the woods to icy Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes were so cold this year there has been record ice coverage. These huge bodies of water were up to 90+% covered with ice at times.There is a lot of sand (of course, there are dunes) that blows around so at first we couldn’t even tell we were really on ice. The light sand dusting makes it hard to tell where the real sand ends and the sand dusted ice begins. Because it is (shockingly) warming up just a touch, open water is starting to appear at cracks in the ice. We managed to navigate safe ice for a bit and ended up over water that, from what we could tell, was roughly 4-5′ deep. It was fun, a little scary at times, and pretty cool to see that much ice covering such a huge lake.The second day we headed to a park we had heard about in Boyne City and snowshoed up to a bluff overlooking the town and a small lake. Great view. Very cold day, though. You generate a lot of heat while snowshoeing so we stayed plenty warm. All in all we snowshoed about 12 miles over the course of 3 days. A perfect amount to burn off some of the delicious food (donuts, cookies, goat cheese & fig risotto, etc) we enjoyed while up there.
So I think we have tolerated winter long enough. We have tried to take advantage of winter things & see the winter season as magical. (ugh) We have shoveled, snowblowed, de-iced several houses. We have dealt with power outages. I was even run into by a team of sled dogs. As reward I want warmth. Sun, heat, the ability to go outside with out my nose hairs freezing. I think later this week there is an elusive 50 degree day in the forecast. Fingers crossed.
Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus
1 medium size sweet potato, roasted, peeled & mashed, (about 1 1/2 cups)
1-2 dried ancho chile peppers, deseeded (Use as much as you like to make it as hot as you like)
1 1/2 cups chick peas (rehydrated & cooked if using dried beans, drained & rinsed if using canned)
2 whole cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1-2 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp cumin
Juice of 1 lemon
Roast the sweet potato whole until soft. Allow to cool and the skin will peel right off in your hands. Mash and measure out 1 1/2 cups. Don’t worry if it’s a little more or less than 1 1/2 cups.
Break the dried chile peppers open & shake out the seeds as best you can. Place the chile peppers in a cup of hot tap water. Allow to re-hydrate about 10 minutes. Discard water.
In a food processor combine all the ingredients. I started with only 1 chile pepper, decided it was not as hot as I wanted and added another half a chile. Process everything until smooth. You can add a little water as you process to help it come together if needed.
Refrigerate. Serve with crackers or veggies. Keeps in the fridge for a week.
Homemade Everything Crackers
3 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 cup water
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt plus more to sprinkle on crackers
1 tsp each caraway seeds, dried onion flakes, sesame seeds, nigella seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment and set aside.
In a large bowl combine all the ingredients (except the extra salt, flour and the milk) and mix until a dough forms. I used and electric hand mixer but you could also use a stand mixer or even a food processor. Once the dough comes together divide it into two pieces. Wrap one piece of dough in plastic wrap and set aside. Dust the counter with flour and roll out the other piece of dough. Roll it out very thin. This makes a lot of crackers.
Once you have rolled it out SUPER thin, use a pizza cutter to cut it into rustic squares. Place the squares on the prepared pans. Brush with milk and sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown & crispy. Remove to a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the other piece of dough.
Store in an airtight container. Will keep for a couple of weeks. If they start to get stale you can re-crisp them in the oven for a few minutes.