Nifty Thrifty

Shortly after we got married, I started on a mission to de-waste our house, to be more frugal and to stop spending money on things I could just make myself.  I think at first, my husband thought it was endearing.  And while I’m sure he still finds it a respectable challenge, sometimes I think he wishes I would just buy the product and stop tearing the kitchen apart trying to reproduce something.  You see, for the last 3 and a half years, I have been trying to make homemade crackers.   Not just any homemade cracker, though.  I wanted something as crisp and salty as the wheat thin, but without the packaging, preservative and expense.  I’ve tried a number of recipes and finally, through some tweaking, came up with this one.

Wheat crackers

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp. salt, plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into 1/2 Tablespoon pieces

Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place all ingredients, except the water in a food processor and blend until the butter is fully incorporated.  Stream in the water until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the processor as it spins around.  Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and finish kneading it by hand until the dough is smooth and there are no lumps of butter showing.   Divide the dough into 4 pieces and work with them one at a time.  Work quickly, though, because the dough dries out if you let it sit for too long.  Roll the dough out until it is about 1/16 of an inch thick.  Then, with a pizza cutter or a knife, cut the dough into 1-inch square pieces.  Transfer the dough pieces to a lined baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes.

I rolled out the dough and made the general size cuts.  Then, I only put the crackers that were in the right shape on the tray, rolled up the rest and repeated the process.  The ones that never made it into the right shape were the first to be sampled.  The whole process took less than 15 minutes until i was munching on these amazing crackers!  Even 7-month-old Liam thought they were amazing.  I am pleased with the taste and consistency.  You have to make sure you roll the dough out thinly enough, but if you do, you will have the perfect crispness.  

As far as the thrifty aspect, the last time I checked, Wheat thins were $3.47 a box.  I bought butter for $2.38 a pound.  I can get 4 recipes of my wheat crackers out of a pound of butter.  Each recipe produces enough to fill my canister. (This canister also holds a little over one box of Wheat thins.)  So for the cost of the butter alone, I am getting a comparable amount of crackers for 60 cents and 15 minutes of my time.   No bad, if I do say so myself.  It took far longer than I thought it would, but I’ve finally reached a solution for this snack conundrum.  Next up: pretzels!  This week, I am going to also post about how we grocery shop and menu plan since I have gotten a few personal emails/phone calls regarding this.  Perhaps I can be of help to someone else!

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