New Year’s Eve is still visible in our rear view mirrors, and as you made plans for festive cocktails, champagne, hot toddies, and designated drivers, I hope you didn’t forget the ever-important midnight snack! Whether you’re entertaining at home or need to tuck something away to gobble up after a night of merry-making, crackers are a great staple.
From sacramental breads to hardtack, crackers are universal in their appeal. They store well, they are optimal for conveying dips and cheeses from the table to your face, they can help slow the absorption of alcohol into your system, and they can help raise low blood sugar (which helps with nausea).
I’ve been particularly fond of Potter’s Crackers this past holiday season. I figured as long as I was spending the time and money on a special chunk of artisanal cheese, I should serve it with an artisanal cracker to accompany, but not overwhelm, the cheese. I scoped a package of Potter’s classic white crackers at Surdyk’s, and served them alongside some Shepherd’s Way Farms Friesago cheese for a recent game night snack—and the guests chowed down. Located in Madison, Wisc., Potter’s Cracker’s mission is to “sustainably produce high quality, organic crackers for the great people of Wisconsin and beyond.” Nancy and Pete Potter run the show, and with Pete’s food science degree and Nancy’s experience at the New Glarus bakery, they’ve developed 10 year-round varieties of crackers. Their caramelized onion crackers even grabbed the attention of Rachel Ray last summer, making her “Every Day Favs” list.
I also took a stab at making crackers with my mother-in-law, and they were fantastic. They’re her version of knäckebröd, a Swedish flat bread cracker.
Charlotte’s Knäckebröd Recipe
1 cup oatmeal
7/8 cups rye flour
1 1/3 cup white flour
½ tsp. salt
1/3 tsp. baking soda
1 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
Combine the oatmeal, rye flour, white flour, salt, and baking soda. Separately, combine the butter and sugar. Then combine the butter and sugar mixture with the flour mixture and the buttermilk—add incrementally, alternating between the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Mix until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Roll the dough out on parchment paper as thin as you can make it. Leave the dough on the parchment paper and bake on cookie sheets at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Allow it to cool, and then break it into pieces.
I know, crackers aren’t exactly exciting, but when it comes to planning festive gatherings or late nights out, I never forget to have some stashed in the cupboard. If you want to get your hands on some Potter’s crackers, you can find them throughout the Twin Cities, according to their website:
• Broders, Minneapolis
• France 44 Cheese Shop, Minneapolis and St. Paul
• Golden Fig Fine Foods, St. Paul
• Grassroots Gourmet, Minneapolis
• Lanesboro Local, Lanesboro
• Local D’Lish, Minneapolis
• Surdyk’s, Minneapolis
• Whole Foods: Calhoun, Minneapolis
• Whole Foods: Minnetonka, Minnetonka
• Zzest Market, Rochester