January may be a cold, cold month, but I have found that through lots of chocolate and soup, it isn't that bad! Here in West Virginia, the temperatures are freezing, yet there is no snow, which makes it just dreary. Then it hit me while I was making chicken noodle soup the other day and putting about 10 Ritz crackers in my bowl: why don't I make these myself?
Between this terribly icky weather and the fabulous Molly Yeh blog, I decided that if I can make my own soup, I can surely make my own crackers.
My love for Ritz goes way back, and I am lucky enough to have found a man who eats them by the handful just like me. Let's go to a few summers ago, when we took a vacation to Santiago, Chile. There, we drank our body weight in wine, travelled on horseback through the mountains and ate almost too much ceviche (as if that's a thing!). It was the most incredible trip for wine-o's like us, especially when you add in a trip to the gorgeous port city of Valparaiso. Surely a trip to remember--for the most part!--where we were busy almost every moment, which is probably why we crashed hard once we returned to the comforts of New England.
So what's my go-to after a week long vacation eating some of the most exotic and incredible foods? A box of cheese Ritz-bits. We then sat on the couch, exhausted from an entire day of traveling back home from South America, eating handful after handful of Ritz-bits, hungry, tired, happy. I won't say whether or not the box was finished, but I will admit that they certainly were the perfect "jet-lag" snack.
Let me just say that these crackers are the perfect snack, by themselves, dipped in peanut butter (yes, PB goes with everything), cookie butter, soaked in soup, chili, anything! They also only take about 45 minutes from the start of scaling ingredients to the end of baking time. Therefore, while your soup is cooking and getting all flavorful, you can make your own crackers!
Flour--11.2 oz, or 2 cups
Sugar--0.2 oz, or 3/4 tsp
Salt--0.15 oz, 1/2 tsp
Butter, cold--3 oz, or 6 TBL
Olive Oil--1 oz, or 2 TBL
Water, cold--5.6 oz, or 2/3 cup
Butter, melted for brushing--1 oz, or 2 TBL
This is very similar to making pie dough, so it's simple and quick! And there's no equipment needed but your hands and a bowl!
Mix together the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Cut the butter into small, 1/2" cubes. Add to the flour mixture.
Using your hands, coat the butter in the flour mixture, while making the butter into smaller, pea-sized balls.
Once all of the butter is at its appropriate size, add the olive oil and mix.
Next add the cold water, mix until it forms a ball. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, but a few hours is okay too!
When you're ready to bake these, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly. You will want it to be even thinner than pie dough--make it paper thin!
Using a cutter, cut into circles, squares, whatever you'd like! I like to use a round, fluted cutter, it makes them look just like a Ritz!
Poke holes in the crackers with either a toothpick or a fork. This way they will not puff in the middle, but stay nice and flat due to this advanced ventilation system!
Put on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
While they are in the oven, melt the butter and get any toppings you want ready! Using salt is "traditional", but I have found that red pepper flakes, cinnamon, and ginger are delicious as well if you want to jazz it up!
When the crackers are finished baking, take them out of the oven, brush with butter, and then sprinkle with whatever you desire.
Remove from the sheet pan to a cooling rack and enjoy!
They can be stored in an air tight container for about 5-7 days. These crackers also get more crunchy as time goes on, which is what we want!