For me, the Super Bowl is synonymous with parties and commercials. I don’t really care about the football part of it. And a Super Bowl party would not be a party without loads of good party food: mini hotdogs, cheese, crackers, sausage, veggies and dip, chips and dip, etc.
All that stuff sounds good, if not a little plain. Take cheese and crackers, for instance. Meh. However, cheese and homemade crackers? That’s a horse of a different color.
Homemade crackers are, as it turns out, absurdly easy to make. Plus, and I don’t know why, but if you tell people you made your own crackers, they will be absolutely floored. I guess it’s because why would you want to make your own crackers when there are so many great crackers out there to buy? It’s for the same reason you’d make homemade oreos: anything homemade is ten times better than what you can buy in a store.
If you put in the minimal effort necessary to make crackers and you buy some plain cheese, no one will even notice that you didn’t get the good cheese because they will be obsessing over your crackers. Really. All you need are some cheddar and swiss and you are golden. Golden, I tell you.
Check back throughout the week for more Super Bowl party-worthy treats and recipes!
(Adapted from Gourmet, 2007)
- Olive oil for brushing pan and dough
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into bits
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup very cold water
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, or kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Brush 2 large baking sheets generously with oil.
Toast 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper in a dry small skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat, shaking skillet occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Cool pepper.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon table salt in a bowl (or pulse in a food processor). Add shortening and blend into flour mixture with a pastry blender or your fingertips (or pulse in processor) until most of mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size lumps. Drizzle evenly with 1/2 cup ice water and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated, then test again.
Divide dough into 2 portions and flatten each into a 3-inch square.
Roll out each square on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 20- by 8-inch rectangle. Trim edges and sprinkle each sheet with teaspoon toasted pepper. Run rolling pin lightly over dough to embed pepper in pastry. Brush each sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
Cut sheets crosswise with a small sharp knife into 1-inch-wide strips (straight or wavy). Arrange strips evenly spaced in 1 layer on baking sheets and bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, 16 to 20 minutes total. Transfer to racks to cool.