Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Betty Please, Pick Up Your Crackers!

Holy cow.. it's another Daring Bakers challenge post!

Firstly, a huge huge THANK YOU! and WELL DONE! to our lovely hosts, Natalie of Gluten A Go Go and Shel of Musings From The Fishbowl. As you might tell from Natalie's blog title, she bakes gluten free and Shel bakes vegan - so this month we all had the opportunity to step outside our comfort zones and do the same if we wished. This was not mandatory, as us regular old wheat flour and butter lovin' people could bake this recipe without taking a walk on the wild gluten-free side. BUT we did have to come up with a vegan dip or spread to slather our crackers in as a bonus challenge.. which was very cool as well! There was so much we could do to personalize our crackers/dips and still stick to the recipe as written. I heart that. :)

But I can't say I was much of a Daring baker this month as I did end up choosing to play it safe and made the Lavash Crackers with your every day bread flour. Then again.. any day I'm in the kitchen baking - it's always ALWAYS a DARING experience.

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First off let me say.. I need kneading lessons. Big time. I do not know the proper way to knead so I have no idea if I was doing good or doing really bad. The crackers turned out tasty, but I haven't the faintest if they turned out "Lavash" or not.. course even if I did know how to knead, I wouldn't know if my crackers turned out like they should as I've never had a Lavash cracker before a week ago! Go me!

The rolling of the dough was like a dream.. I suck at rolling too.. I couldn't roll out dough in a circle, square or rectangle to save my life. Even if I shape the shit first! Which I did - into a rectangle! But the minute I started rolling it started to look like fakkin' Sicily. Yanno.. boot shaped?? Jebus. So the "diamonds" I had intended to cut were uhh.. leaning and unsightly. Gah.

I rolled the dough super thin - you could see the counter top in areas underneath.. but they still poofed up a bit in the oven. So the center of the sheet of crackers was a bit chewy and the edges were hard. I didn't really get much of a cracker feel. Although we did find a few that were crisp. But all of it was very tasty - even considering I went all Plain Jane and just sprinkled some Maldon sea salt on top. :)

For my bonus vegan challenge, well.. I used this opportunity to do a test run in the making of homemade jam. You see, I've decided that not only will I be catering my own wedding reception with the help of my friends, but I'm also going to make my own wedding favors.. jam. Everyone will receive a wee jar of jam and a wee bag of shortbread cookies to go with. Actually that's pretty laughable considering how much I tend to set things afire. Uhh.. I might have to put the Creampuff in charge of the shortbread. :P


Anyhoo.. the jam. I went with a small recipe for peach jam. Basically peaches, sugar and lemon juice and that's it. The recipe said to only cook for approximately 25 to 30 minutes but at that point I still had syrup with chunks of half hard peaches in it. I ended up cooking the jam for well over an hour. The nice thing about it was that I could stir every few minutes and not worry about the peaches sticking to the pan.

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About 5 minutes before that jam was done.. I turned my back on it for FIFTEEN SECONDS - TOPS! - and that mother hummer burnt on me. I swear, I turned my back to wring out the towel, turned right back and continued stirring, but all my peaches were stuck to the bottom and had turned a most appetizing shade of puke brown. Fakkers.

While this was happening, my 2nd sheet of crackers was in the oven. Mmm hmmm.. anyone care to guess where this is going?

To hell. That's where it's going, gone and went.

Burnt my 2nd sheet to a rock hard brown.

It was at this point that I started to laugh.. once again that familiar zing that starts deep down in my tummy and travels up until my cheeks burn a bright red and I question my sanity in thinking that I can bake. :P What got me giggling was this reminded me of two of my most favorite women on the face of this planet - Laverne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney. You know.. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!"

Ya'll remember the diner episode? Lenny inherits his uncle Lazlo's diner and Laverne & Shirley end up working in it - Laverne was the short order cook and Shirley was the waitress.. fakkin hysterical. Laverne calls Shirley "Betty" the whole episode and all you keep hearing over the PA system is Laverne saying "Betty Please.. Pick Up" At first it's going well and then they get really busy and both are lookin' a little worn, to say the least - Laverne's cooking is starting to look scary and at one point there is a table of biker chicks demanding their hashbrowns.. of course Laverne burns them and the next thing you hear is, "Betty Please.. Pick up your.. hashblacks." BAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! I am so Laverne!

Okay well you hadda be there.. but that's what popped into my mind when I saw my burnt crackers and burnt peach jam. It was classic. :)

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Well to sum up the whole experience - the first batch of crackers were edible and tasty, but not very cracker like. The jam didn't look like peach jam, but there was no burnt taste to it so if you closed our eyes you'd know you were eating peach jam. heee! The two together were excellent because of the salty bread/cracker and the sweet fruit jam. And I learned more very valuable lessons - do not even breathe during the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking your jam.. just stand there and stir. And do not attempt to bake crackers (or anything for that matter) while making jam. :P

Thanks for another fabulous challenge, gals! I never ever would have made crackers at home if it weren't for The Daring Bakers! You can make them too! Just go to Gluten A Go Go and Musings From The Fishbowl for the recipe - both the original and the gluten free recipes. :)


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