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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Comments on "Betty Please, Pick Up Your Crackers!"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/27/2008 1:18 AM) : 

I grew up on Laverne & Shirley re-runs - and while I was too young to get all the humor, I loved that show! I can really picture the chaos in your kitchen (I often make a parallel to Lucy & Ethel and my life...).
I've made the crackers 5xs so far, and twice I had "crackers" in the middle of the pan and "bread" around the edges - but it was still yum. Thanks for being so supportive about our choice :)


Blogger glamah16 said ... (9/27/2008 1:54 AM) : 

Yumm peach jam. The guests will be lucky to get that jam.I bet they tasted yummy with the crackers.


Blogger Dharm said ... (9/27/2008 6:02 AM) : 

I remember Laverne and Shirley too!! This was a most fun challenge and your crackers and peach jam looks just great!!


Blogger BC said ... (9/27/2008 7:29 AM) : 

Yep, many a Laverne and shirley episode is recreated in the kitchen.


Blogger Karen Baking Soda said ... (9/27/2008 9:16 AM) : 

I can feel a Daring Bakers series coming, featuring well known stars... Lis you're a dream!


Blogger Helene said ... (9/27/2008 9:42 AM) : 

Oh no Lis!!! I can't believe your burned the jam! I don't know whether to laugh or cry with you. You did a great job nonetheless, I'd eat them :)


Blogger Valerie Harrison (bellini) said ... (9/27/2008 9:46 AM) : 

I was excited to try my hand at making crackers. These turned out really well ...if not thin ehough...but thatns for the DB experience:D


Blogger Mary said ... (9/27/2008 9:55 AM) : 

I think your jam idea is lovely. And yes, never turn your back on the jam while it's cooking. It's sneaky like that.
And is there a wrong way to knead? I just smacked it around for 10 minutes. Afterword, I felt very relaxed and absolutely no anxiety/anger!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/27/2008 9:55 AM) : 

Your jam looks great and the crackers don't look badly in 'knead' of help either!

Drop by my test kitchen sometime. I'd be glad to show you how I knead.


Blogger Chris said ... (9/27/2008 10:30 AM) : 

Yum! Crackers and jam...:) Looks good to me!


Blogger Natalie, aka "Sheltie Girl" said ... (9/27/2008 10:55 AM) : 

Thanks so much for the chance to co-host the challenge this month with Shel. I had a great time.

You did a fabulous job on your crackers and jam. I can't wait to see all your beautiful jam jars and shortbread cookie favors for your wedding guests. I do hope you'll share pics of your feast with us.

Congratulations and all my most heartfelt wishes for a fabulous life together!

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go


Blogger Lauren said ... (9/27/2008 10:57 AM) : 

Ooo, yum! Your lavash looks wonderful. Oh, and that peach jam - Mmmm.


Blogger Ago said ... (9/27/2008 12:01 PM) : 

Hiiiii dear Lissss!!!
Your crackers are fantastic and the peach jam is ingenious to accompany them!
Ago :-D

Pane, burro e marmellata!


Blogger Dewi said ... (9/27/2008 12:11 PM) : 

What not to like about peach jam? Looks so mouth watering. Perfect for the crackers. Delicious!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/27/2008 1:35 PM) : 

Veramente golosi, e bellissime foto che rendono l'idea! Alla prossima sfida, Elga


Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said ... (9/27/2008 1:51 PM) : 

I'm having more fun this month reading about everyone's dips and spreads than about the actual baking part of the DB challenge! Love the look of your peach jam.


Blogger Aparna Balasubramanian said ... (9/27/2008 1:52 PM) : 

I do think you are being too hard on yourself. The jam looks pretty ok to me and so do the crackers.
As for kneading, I just put everything in my food processor and made the dough!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/27/2008 2:43 PM) : 

I always say 'never turn your back on you cooking' - every time I do, I end up with some kind of disaster. I feel for you. Glad something turned out edible.


Blogger creampuff said ... (9/27/2008 3:36 PM) : 


My dough looked like Italy too!!!

Maybe Helene can give us rolling lessons before your redding. Ummm ... I meant rolling dough ...

Ahem, anyway, I can't wait to try that jam and I think it's going to go amazingly well with those shortbread cookies.

And hey maybe we can re-enact some L&S episodes when we're all together!!!


Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (9/27/2008 5:15 PM) : 

I can always count on you Lis! No matter how things go there's always laughs, a little burning and great stuff to eat!


Blogger Elle said ... (9/27/2008 5:29 PM) : 

Too funny!! crackers in fact.
If you forget that the peaches turned brown, the duo is great. Laverne and Shirley were such a great duo...and FUNNY. hadn't thought about them for years...thanks.


Blogger Clumbsy Cookie said ... (9/27/2008 6:48 PM) : 

Peach jam is such a cool idea to serve with the crackers!


Blogger Cynthia's Blog said ... (9/27/2008 8:31 PM) : 

Very nice narrative. I like the idea that people put their failures/shortcomings in the posts. All and all a good job!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/27/2008 9:55 PM) : 

"Peaches" Jam, now what a fantastical idea!!!
Now for needing kneading lessons I have but 3 words for ya....

Kitchen-Aid Dough Hook!!



Blogger Gabi said ... (9/28/2008 12:01 AM) : 

Gahhh woman- you crack (er) me up :)
One minute they're golden but you think -they could be a bit crisper and the next they're hashblacks-

Best wishes for the matrimonial jam! Wish I could help- I did 200 boxed ribboned groom cakes at mine-eek!


Blogger adli said ... (9/28/2008 2:16 AM) : 

wow peach jam!! the wedding guests would be lucky indeed!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/28/2008 10:16 AM) : 

Your crackers and jam looked great in the end! I cheated a bit and kneaded the dough in my kitchen aid with a dough hook :)


Blogger Snooky doodle said ... (9/28/2008 2:54 PM) : 

The crackers look nice and crispy and there s nothing better than homemade jam. Great post :-)


Blogger Marce said ... (9/28/2008 3:39 PM) : 

well, I didn´t get to do the crackers this month because life got in the way, but no matter what you say, they look great (though you are cleverly not showing us the "hash blacks" haha). And I have to agree with you about jam-making, it´s all about paying attention during the last stretch (and I usually test a bit of the jam on a white plate to let it cool and check the consistency).


Blogger Gattina Cheung said ... (9/28/2008 6:13 PM) : 

it must be a joy if cooking with you in kitchen, you are such a happy girl after all those hic-hup :) Oh jam, it hates me; I forever fail in making it. I see yours very nice eh!
big kiss!


Blogger Jenny said ... (9/28/2008 10:59 PM) : 

I needed a laugh, and I knew you would provide me one.
That jam looks like it is missing one thing - ICE CREAM!!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/29/2008 2:01 AM) : 

I'd never thought of making crackers before this challenge either. Who knew you could make crackers? But I loved this challenge and will mae the recipe again!

Thanks for the laugh. My kitchen is often in total chaos when I'm working too. Glad to hear I'm not the only one.


Blogger Peabody said ... (9/29/2008 4:15 AM) : 

It is classic Lis! I love it, and just remember I am laughing near you not at you. ;)
The peach jam was a great idea.


Blogger Sarah said ... (9/29/2008 11:27 AM) : 

The peach jam sounds awesome! And your first batch of crackers look great. Good job!


Blogger Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said ... (9/29/2008 4:48 PM) : 

Wow, even with all the mishaps ( which was so much fun to read --you are a talented writer!) your crackers and jam look good!

I'm such a dork I posted mine late as I thought we had to the 30 to post it!

Glad I dropped by! Love your blog name :-)

Pat in NY


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/29/2008 8:49 PM) : 

So I tell you. Hilarity all 'round, Lis. My sister calls her daughters Betty and not one of them is named that. I'll have to ask her where that came from. Now, she and I call each other Aunt Nancy to our respective kids, so maybe we're just nutz. Wait. This is a food blog, huh? So the peach jam is sounding peachy. Especially with those crackers. Mmmm...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/30/2008 2:36 AM) : 

Sorry to hear about your kitchen dilemmas. Still looks good to me.
Thanks for the fun read. :)


Blogger Meeta K. Wolff said ... (9/30/2008 2:55 AM) : 

ha ha! I remember laverne and shirley! whatever happened to such great shows? your peach jam sounds luscious and those crackers look grand.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (9/30/2008 11:15 AM) : 

Lis, your crackers came out awesome, but that jam looks luscious! I want to dive into a vat of it and just shove handfuls in my mouth..right-left, right-left ad infinitum.

Having said that, I gotta say, your blog is so fun to read :) Great writing!


Blogger Y said ... (10/01/2008 1:46 AM) : 

I have come unstuck before, trying to do too many things at once. Looks like your end results were delicious all the same, despite the initial setbacks!


Blogger Andrea Meyers said ... (10/01/2008 10:49 PM) : 

Hilarious! I remember that L&S episode, so funny. That peachy jam looks fabulous! I hope you are having loads of fun planning the Big Day!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/03/2008 7:50 PM) : 

It is really delicious! I like it! YOur blog is fantastic! Congrats! :)


Blogger Soso said ... (10/04/2008 1:49 AM) : 

Hi! This is the nicest blog i've seen! and good info! thank you. have your webmaster contact me if he needs more work so nice as this one!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/04/2008 4:46 AM) : 

great blog:)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/04/2008 4:48 AM) : 

great blog


Blogger A said ... (10/04/2008 7:35 AM) : 

OOMGGGG congrats on becoming a "Blog of Note"!!!!!


Blogger Tou and David said ... (10/04/2008 10:15 AM) : 

How about some Saffron Coffee??


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/04/2008 1:16 PM) : 

Yummy I just got hungry seeing those pictures.if only i could find anything in the kitchen...:D

Allen Aulik

Allen Aulik, Manitowoc, Wisconsin 54220 - SSN, Credit Records, Arrest Records, Court Records, Criminal Records ..


Blogger Unknown said ... (10/04/2008 1:38 PM) : 

Congrats on being "Blog of Note"!! You have a very nice site ... I enjoyed reading your recipes and trials in the kitchen.

I've posted a couple of vegan recipes on my site. It's not a food site ... actually I write about easy ways that we can reduce our footprint on the earth ... and eating meatless meals is one of the easiest ways to do that. But the vegan recipes that I've posted are yummy and easy.

Congrats, again! Thanks for sharing all your recipes and experiences with us!

Small Footprints


Blogger Steph said ... (10/04/2008 3:51 PM) : 

Looks Yummy! I made little jars of jam as wedding favors as well, after a few batches you really get into the groove. I had so many complimants on my jam, which was great, but I was so tired of making it I haven't made any in 7 years!


Blogger Jacob Mathai said ... (10/04/2008 3:58 PM) : 

Love that show and that looks delicious !!


Blogger Isle Dance said ... (10/04/2008 4:21 PM) : 

Stunning photography!


Blogger Vanuza Pantaleão said ... (10/04/2008 6:25 PM) : 

Belos e saborosos pratos, espero que goste também da cozinha brasileira!Bjs


Blogger Towanda said ... (10/05/2008 11:02 AM) : 

Hi Lis,
I just discovered you through the "Blog of Note" link. What a really beautiful site you have created! And so many recipes and beautiful pictures. I'll be bookmarking your site and reading more and trying some of the dishes you have posted.


Blogger Irene said ... (10/05/2008 3:17 PM) : 



Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/05/2008 10:04 PM) : 

It looks good!
I'm domestically challenged and need to stay away from the kitchen.


Blogger jb said ... (10/05/2008 11:56 PM) : 

I have been running my family restaurant for the last 21 years and am on my way out of the business but i can see why you love it so. I have this dream to one day open another restaurant without the family. I love your blog and thanks for writing about food makes me know why i do what i do and love it terribly.



Blogger Cori said ... (10/06/2008 9:19 AM) : 

I jumped over to read your blog because it was the featured blog and after reading the first entry, added you to my list of blogs! Hilarious! Not to mention educational?! I love to cook and am always looking for something new to try, so I'll be browsing your recipes. Congrats on getting hitched, it sounds like you are going to be busy but also having a blast whilst doing it! Will you be sharing your wedding reception menu??


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/06/2008 9:46 AM) : 

very good...
luca da:


Blogger taste memory said ... (10/06/2008 11:22 AM) : 

peach jam ~ what a fantastic way to remember summer! I have wonderful memories of chunky peach jam.....beautiful website and look forward to reading + seeing more!


Blogger Unknown said ... (10/06/2008 6:41 PM) : 

Very Very Goood :)


Blogger Colette said ... (10/07/2008 5:15 AM) : 

your posts always make me laugh!!! great job!!!


Blogger Viktor said ... (10/07/2008 7:21 AM) : 

Very original! I want to try it.


Blogger free psychic reading said ... (10/08/2008 11:52 AM) : 

the best picture of food


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (10/09/2008 5:52 PM) : 

Looks delicous!


Blogger Not Another Omnivore said ... (10/11/2008 3:39 PM) : 

I love your blog. I just found it and think I will be linking to it in the very near future!


Blogger Mister Allred said ... (10/11/2008 7:41 PM) : 

Those look delicious. I may have to try those soon.


Blogger Teresa said ... (10/15/2008 7:16 AM) : 

LOL too funny :) though I imagine you weren't laughing at the exact time it happened :( Good luck! Blessings, Teresa


Blogger Kelly-Jane said ... (10/16/2008 4:24 AM) : 

Peach jam, :) and lovely crackers too.


Blogger Faery said ... (10/27/2008 3:44 PM) : 

Wow Lis this looks soooo yumy: I could not participate in this challenge because I was sick :( but I still keep the recipe to try it later


Blogger Rosa's Yummy Yums said ... (10/29/2008 10:24 AM) : 

what gorgeous crackers! Yum, that jam looks awesome!




Anonymous Anonymous said ... (11/16/2008 4:42 PM) : 

I can always count on having a giggle when I check out your uh-mazing cooking blog!!

I hadn't seen the Laverne & Shirley episode so ofcourse I had to YouTube it (initially having a brain fart and typing in Laverne & Betty), gotta love those two!

Thanx for sharing and keep it up!



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