So my attempt to not spend any money on this party didn't work out so good. But I made a really good attempt. And my favorite success was my homemade crackers! I found a really good recipe here, and I tweaked it a bit for what I wanted to use it for- cheese and liver pate (which I didn't get a picture of because I forgot to put it out until after the party started). So here's what I did-
Homemade Sweet Rosemary Crumble Crackers
1 tsp. Real Salt or kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
8-10 Tbs. butter
¼ c. water
¼ tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. honey
salt and crushed rosemary for topping
Preheat the oven to 410.
Add the dry ingredients with the spices to your food processor and pulse a few times to mix, then add the butter and process until it forms a crumb. (If you don't have a food processor, use 2 table knives or a pastry knife to incorporate the butter to a crumb) Mix water with honey and vanilla only as long as it takes to make a dough.
Then I tried two different methods to bake them. First, I used a pizza stone. Actually, I used an old kiln shelf that was broken, which is made from a similar clay that commercial stones are made from. (More on this later) I rolled the dough nice and thin out on the floured stone directly while the oven was pre-heating. Then, using a pizza cutter, I made cuts to form square crackers. This made extremely deliciously crispy, delicate crackers. EXCEPTIONAL! But there were 2 problems. First, your stone has to be completely dry or they will stick! Mine did, and I had to let it cool and dry over night in order to get the offending crackers off. Second, if you only have 1 stone, doing the second batch can be a problem. I perfected the technique last night, but for Monday, i had to use a cookie sheet for the rest of the crackers. A cookie sheet gives you slightly less crispy and more doughy crackers- they have less "crunch" and more "munch". still good, and probably ideal for something like hummus. again, i rolled the dough out directly on the floured sheet, but couldn't get it as thin because of the sides of the cookie sheet being in the way.
I left out a time- that's because it depends on the thickness of your cracker, and the heat of the stone you're working on or the cookie sheet. I found that with the cookie sheet, it took just about 10 minutes. With the cold stone, it took a good 10 minutes as well, and with a hot stone it was more like 6-8 minutes. It might take longer for your, or less time, so I recommend letting them cook for 5 minutes undisturbed, and then checking on them every minute or so until you figure out how long it will take for your oven and baking apparatus.
On Pizza Stones
I've never owned a pizza stone, but always coveted them. I was seconds away from buying one a few months back, when he noticed it in the cart and chastised me- "you know I can make that, right?" It's true, baking/pizza stones are nothing but bisqued clay (meaning they didn't get all the way to temperature and are still slightly porous) that is UN-glazed.
Then Joey mentioned to me that he had a broken piece of kiln shelf (which is what your mugs and bowls get placed on in the kiln that gets heated up to 2300 degrees!) That is the ULTIMATE pizza stone. The kind of clay that it's made out of has such a high melting point that only an industrial kiln can even MAKE it (Joey, how hot does it fire to? thousands of degrees, I assume. Joey: Yea, um. something like 3,200 I think). So it's great at retaining heat.
So if you can find an old kiln shelf- broken ones work fine as long as they're a big enough piece, great! Just make sure that you scrap all the old kiln wash off (which keeps glazes from sticking to it) and that any glaze spots that are on it have an "off gassing" point that is well beyond your oven. Most do, they usually fire to at least 1000 degrees.
If you don't have a ceramicist husband like me, you can also use unglazed ceramic quarry tiles often found at hardware stores. You can also special order a hand made one through our Etsy Store. Just because he never made one for me doesn't me he wouldn't for you! And think, he could put your family name indented on the top so that all your bread comes out with your own personal signature! How cool!
Finally, I'm going to be playing around with this recipe a lot in the next couple of days- I'm in love with it! But Joey and I have pretty much cut grains out of our diets except for treats, so I'm going to try making almond flour and coconut flour crackers and see how that works out!
Next- Homemade Cocktail Sauce- it's so simple you'll scream for joy!
Linking back to GNOWFGLINS Simple Lives Thursday.