Life of Spice: Spice up homemade oyster crackers

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I had never heard of oyster crackers before stumbling on a recipe for them when I was looking for things to garnish soups and chowders. Most typically found on the east coast, Oyster crackers were originally named for their oyster-like shape. (Though there are no oysters or any seafood ingredients involved in making these crackers.) While they are well-suited to oyster, fish or clam chowder, they are a delightful addition to any soup and are even delicious as a snack all on their own.

And what’s more, they are an ideal canvas for experimenting with various spices, herbs or grated cheese. The basic recipe consists of ingredients you likely have on hand in your pantry. And the possible variations are unlimited. Try adding cumin seeds for spiced crackers as a crunchy topper for your next curry. Sprinkle fennel seeds when rolling out the dough to make a delicious garnish for a creamy tomato soup. Or add your favourite spice blend, seasoning, or even dry soup mix, after they bake for a nibbly afternoon snack.

Ingredients:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, unsalted, cold and cut into small cubed pieces
1⁄4 cup ice-cold water (more, if needed)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375°F, set a rack to the middle position and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, foil or silicone mat for easy clean up.

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl or food processor.

Add the butter, either with a pastry cutter or 10-15 seconds in the food processor.

Add the water, and lightly knead the mixture until it comes together into a ball. Cover with a bowl or wrapper, and set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄2 cm thick.

Cut into 1 cm squares or diamonds and transfer onto your lined cookie sheet, spreading them out as much as possible.

Bake for about 15 minutes until the edges are golden brown and the crackers are showing a bit of colour. Turn oven off, and open the door a bit and leave crackers to cool in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and once cool enough. Do a taste test and add salt if needed.

Lindan Courtemanche is an enthusiastic cook and Founder of The Gorgeous Spice Company, www. thegorgeousspiceco.com.

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