Since my kiddo is on a gluten-free diet, I’ve learned a few things about gluten-free shopping. One: many grocery stores are pretty limited in what they carry. Two: what is available is usually in a wildly overpriced and undersized package. Three: there are ways around this.
Gluten-free does not have to mean enjoyment-free. With tons of recipes available, you can whip up all kind of groovy meals and treats that won’t distress your digestion. Today, we’re going to make a gluten-free “water” cracker. Not a standalone snack, this is a go-with cracker that’s meant to be eaten with soup or topped with fresh fruit and cheese.
You can use a commercial gluten-free flour mix or make your own from toasted quinoa, oats, rice, almond meal or a bunch of other possibilities. Each seed or grain has its own special properties. Some make for crumbliness, while others produce crackers that will do double duty as manhole covers.
Fire up your oven to 350 degrees and haul out a baking sheet. In a medium mixing bowl, blend 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 2 cups of your chosen flour. My favorite version so far used 1/2 cup of quinoa flour, 3/4 cup of toasted almond meal, and 3/4 cup of commercial flour mix.
Drop in 4 tablespoons of shortening. Mash it all around with a fork, and then use your hands to rub in the last lumps. It’ll look like a big bowl of cracker crumbs, which … is pretty apt. Now start adding water, a tablespoon at a time, and stir it around with your fork until you get a dough that holds together when squeezed. It’ll be kind of crumbly; you won’t be able to knead it like regular bread dough, but it should at least form a ball.
Roll out the dough between two pieces of baking parchment until it’s super thin. I’m talking 1/8 inch; any thicker, and they won’t have any crunch. Use a 2-inch-round cookie cutter to stamp out as many as you can. Transfer the rounds to your ungreased baking sheet. You can crowd them a little, because they don’t expand. Re-roll the scraps and repeat the cutting until your sheet is full.
Pop the pan in the over for 8 minutes and grab a cup of coffee (or whatever). When the timer dings, flip the crackers and bake them for another 8 minutes. When the timer dings again, pull the pan from the oven and transfer the crackers to a rack to cool. If you have any dough left, you can do the roll-and-cut thing again.
Once they’re cool, you now have a very basic cracker that will not only go with just about anything, it will also pass the dunk test! I held on in a cup of water for 30 seconds and it still crunched. Store extra crackers in an airtight container.