We’ve been living in Costa Rica for just over a year now and we have been feeling much healthier than we’ve ever felt in the United States. That’s not to say the food here is more healthy all around but fast food and unhealthy snacks are not available in every color, shape, size and flavor imaginable like they are in the States. We have McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC, etc but they aren’t on every street corner, so it’s not nearly as convenient as it is in the US where there are 5 within eyesight at any given time.
We’ve tried taking as much unhealthy, processed food out of our diet as possible, but it’s difficult finding snack foods that are healthy. We eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, but we seem to be missing that potato chip replacement. I love crackers and in the health food stores in the US there is a glorious variety of whole grain, non-MSG-laced crackers, but there are none to be found here in Costa Rica (except maybe in the over-priced AutoMercado, but as you know from my very first post on this blog, I try to stay away from those types of stores.
So, I set out to make some crackers and my first attempt was a successful one. I used Whole wheat flour (also, very hard to find and there’s only two varieties, I opted for the imported variety from the US), olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder, ground cayenne and parsley. My mind was racing with cracker flavors but I wanted to keep the first batch simple. Here is the recipe:
HOMEMADE CRACKER INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (extra for topping)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (extra for topping)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley
medium-sized stainless steel mixing bowl
HOMEMADE CRACKER DIRECTIONS
1. In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and sea salt until mixed.
2. Add the water and olive oil and stir together until the dough is not too sticky or dry (add extra water or flour if the consistency is wrong).
3. Knead dough for 2-4 minutes on a floured countertop and then break dough into 12 small dough balls and set aside with a towel or plastic wrap to rest for 45 minutes
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees with a pizza stone inside (if you are using cookie sheets instead, preheat them as well)
5. Take the rested dough balls and use the rolling pin to flatten the ball into a long strip about 1/4 to 1/8″ thick, brush with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea salt and fresh chopped parsley.
6. Slice the strip into pieces of your size preference and poke holes in the dough with the tines of the fork several times (to keep from puffing)
7. Place slices (and any other extra toppings you choose) on the hot pizza stone and cook until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Cook in small batches. Yields 24-36 crackers.