Baked Olive and Fennel Crackers

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Crackers are a hazy food category. On one hand, there are a thousand styles and varieties available everywhere and we often find ourselves just grabbing the snazziest or sweetest or best-described box in a hurry. On the other hand, most crackers suck. They’re either too bland, off texture-wise, or bear lackluster qualities that simply don’t bother to endear themselves to us, or to me, anyway.

I’ve tasted hundreds of crackers and developed this recipe for Culture Magazine last Fall. My Baked Olive and Fennel Crackers are forgiving and malleable. I always add a seedy spice like fennel, cumin, or caraway. I’m a big-time olive fan so olives usually make it into the final cracker. Still, consider replacing them with a fresh herb like rosemary leaves, sage, or even drained and smashed capers.

The crackers aren’t perfectly-shaped and that’s their virtue: they look so homemade. Slice them in whatever shape suits you or your recipient at the moment or just break them up by hand. Wrap them in a box or a bag or just roll up in parchment and tie off with kitchen twine.

This entire spread features several of my recipes, including my Pickled Grapes, Fig Mostarda and the special recipe for that little bitter citrus treat popping up at the markets. In case you have a pile of kumquats right now, the recipe for my Honeyed Kumquats is in Food Gift Love. You know, just saying.

Baked Olive Fennel Crackers Eat Boutique 3 //eatboutique.com

Baked Olive Fennel Crackers Eat Boutique 2 //eatboutique.com

Baked Olive Fennel Crackers Eat Boutique 1 //eatboutique.com

Baked Olive Fennel Crackers Eat Boutique 4 //eatboutique.com

Olive & Fennel Crackers

This recipe doubles and triples well, but do make them the same day you plan to gift them. Since the recipe is effortless, that should be easy.

Makes: 8 long crackers

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cured black olives, pitted and finely diced
Special Equipment
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet

Directions:

  1. Add the flours, salt, and fennel seeds to a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix it in with a fork. Add the water and stir until combined.
  2. Turn the mixture out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough until it’s smooth, adding a smidge more water (if too dry) or flour (if too wet), as needed. The dough shouldn’t be sticky.
  3. Dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle. Sprinkle the diced olives evenly over the dough. Fold the dough over a few times and knead the olives into the dough, ensuring they end up being well distributed. Form the dough into a small ball and cover with a damp kitchen towel.
  4. Arrange the main rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  5. Line your work surface with parchment paper. Dust the parchment with flour and roll your dough out on it as thin as possible. The general shape is completely up to you, just make sure to roll it super thin, closer in thickness to a sheet of pasta or about 1/16-inch thick.
  6. Gently slip the parchment with the dough onto your baking sheet. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to create long cracker shapes. Sprinkle the dough with extra sea salt.
  7. Place the crackers in the center rack of your oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Break the crackers apart into long crackers or smaller shapes (if desired) before eating or packing up for a gift.

Materials

  • Parchment paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • String

Directions

  1. With scissors, trim a piece of parchment paper to a couple inches shorter than the length of the crackers. Stack the crackers on one end of the paper and roll them up in the paper, taping the end of the paper in place to seal. Cut a length of string and wrap it around the center of the stack three times; tie in a knot and trim any excess string.
Heidi Murphy/White Loft Studio

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