I have written before about my children’s addiction to cheesy crackers and I now have to add Wheat Thins to this category. Both of my children love these salty, crunchy, slightly sweet snacks and would probably eat them at every meal if allowed. This must not be too uncommon; my sister loved Wheat Thins so much growing up, that my mom actually bought her a box of them for her birthday once. While there are worse things for kids to snack on, Wheat Thins do contain a whole lot of sodium, a fair amount of sugar, and some suspicious ingredients. To try out a homemade version of these classic crackers, I turned to a Martha Stewart cracker recipe that uses flaxseeds in the dough. Flax adds lots of fiber and nutrients, but the rest of this recipe didn’t sound like it would appeal to my kids, or be a close simulation of Wheat Thins. I added some honey for sweetness, switched out half the flour for whole-wheat and used buttermilk in place of regular for some added flavor. Here’s my final recipe for Flax and Honey crackers with the results of the taste test comparison below:
- 1/2 cup Golden Flaxseed Meal
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons softened butter
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg white
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, combine the flaxseed meal, flours, baking powder and salt. Pulse the motor a few times until all the dry ingredients are well combined. Add the butter and honey and continue to pulse the motor until mixture forms coarse crumbs. With the motor running continuously, add the buttermilk down the chute, a few tablespoons at a time, just until the dough comes together in a ball. You may not need to use all the buttermilk.
- Divide the dough in half. Working with one half of the dough at a time: Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to form a 9X9 inch square. Trim the rough edges off the square and then, using a sharp knife or pastry wheel, cut the square into 1-inch crackers (or whatever size you desire). Transfer the crackers to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with second half of the dough.
- Using a toothpick or skewer, poke several holes in the top of each cracker to keep them from puffing up while baking. Lightly brush the top of each cracker with a little of the egg white. If desired, sprinkle each cracker with a little bit of coarse salt, pressing the salt down a little with a finger to make sure it adheres.
- Place the pans of prepared crackers into the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, switching places halfway through. Bake until crackers are beginning to look golden brown on the edges. Remove the pans from the oven and place crackers on wire cooling racks until cooled and crisp. Store in an airtight container.
To start with, I’ll just say that the homemade crackers tasted fantastic. They weren’t quite as salty as normal Wheat Thins, but they had so much flavor that it wasn’t too noticeable. They were crispy, sweet and tender with a fresher wheat taste than the store bought crackers. These crackers were also relatively easy to make, especially with the help of food processor to mix the dough quickly. The dough was easy to work with and not very crumbly, unlike some other crackers I’ve made in the past. Also, these crackers do not require that dough be chilled before rolling them out, which means they can be made, start to finish, in about half an hour.
The price of the homemade and store bought wheat crackers was actually almost the same. The homemade cost about 35 cents for a dozen while the store bought came out a little ahead at 30 cents per dozen. The price of the homemade crackers was driven up by the use of honey and flaxseed meal, which are both pretty costly ingredients.
Bottom Line: While homemade wheat crackers cost a little more than store bought and take some time to prepare, they were worth the extra effort. They tasted fresher than store bought and contain only healthy, natural ingredients. I’ll definitely be baking up lots of batches of these homemade crackers in the future.