Cracker Update

For Father’s Day, my sister and I decided to give my dad a bottle of port, which necessitated Stilton, and of course, crackers. After doing some online research, I discovered that celery seed crackers are recommended for Stilton. I found these, and decided to give them a shot. 

I have a few issues with these crackers:

  1. No one tells you how intense celery crackers are. I have a .9 oz jar, and I’m not sure I’ll ever use them up. I also went a little overboard in patches with the celery seed, and while I think it may be fine underneath Stilton (which I learned, does not actually come from Stilton, England), the crackers are a little inedible plain.
  2. These crackers contain oil. Oil drastically reduces the length of time the crackers stay good, and while we go thru a fair amount of crackers, 2 days is not enough time.

On a whim, I also mixed in ground walnuts, which exacerbates the problem of freshness, but adds an interesting twist to the flavor. I used the spice grinder for the walnuts since I was only grinding a few tablespoons, but because it is a blade grinder, I ended up with chunks of walnuts plus some fine flour. I like the unevenness of the grind with spices, but flour needs to be more evenly processed in order to bake. If I keep this up (and I think I intend to), I will eventually need either a flour mill, or a burr grinder. At the moment, I’m leaning towards burr grinders, because apparently flour mills can’t take oily grains or seeds and nuts. Burr grinders designed for coffee can, as coffee is a fairly oily substance.

Even with a batch of the celery seed crackers actually free of celery seed (I dusted them with the dregs of everything cracker toppings), I’m still not totally sold on this recipe. I like the nuttiness of the walnuts, but it’s fairly faint once the crackers bake, and these don’t bake as evenly or quickly as the everything crackers. I’m not sure if I’ll try the recipe again straight, or adapt the everything crackers with walnuts.

Celery Crackers (adapted from February 2013 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller)

  • 1 c all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1/3 c spelt flour
  • 1/6 c walnut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c water

Since I didn’t match the exact amount of flour, I had to use extra while rolling out the crackers, but it evened out in the end. I rolled the crackers out the same way I do the everything crackers – directly on the baking sheet, scored them, and then brushed them with water (not oil) before scattering the seeds. I baked the crackers at 350 F, since I didn’t feel like doing the math from Celsius, which may have something to do with my complaints about the baking time.

My sister also requested the everything crackers, and having perfected the toppings last time, I decided to switch to spelt flour, as in the original recipe, altho I only used 1 c spelt and used all-purpose for the rest. I really like the depth of flavor that the flour adds.  While picking up celery seeds, I discovered white poppy seeds. I added those to the mix for the crackers, but didn’t get the toppings right this time, which was disappointing – no one noticed, except me, but that is enough. I’m not sure if it was the poppy seeds throwing off the mix, or if I ground the onions too fine this time. If I’m going to continue to be this picky, however, I should probably start to write down proportions, instead of mixing it by chance each time.

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