I’m so happy to be Roxana’s guest here today. I’ve always regarded this space—Roxana’s blog—a sweet, happy place. In both her nature and her consistently delectable recipes, I can’t think of more apt descriptions for Roxana and her blog. A wonderful bonus to have come out of blogging was to become her friend over the last couple of years.
When accepting an invitation to appear on a baking blog, there is one inherent challenge—at least for someone like me. If I were to compare cooking to language, baking is not my primary language. Baking is something I learned to embrace after becoming comfortable preparing savory dishes. Baking requires the understanding of the perfect balance between flour, sugar, fat and eggs. Baking does not have the flexibility or freedom offered by savory cooking when one hasn’t experimented with it for very long. Over the last couple of years I have become more comfortable with the process but unlike Roxana who turns out one beautiful original sweet treat after another, I still have a long way to go. I try not to deviate too much from a recipe and when I do, fingers are always crossed while I wait for the kitchen timer to prompt me to pull my experiment out of the oven.
For my guest post today, I chose to create something out of a base recipe that both Roxana and I have tried and enjoyed. I was inspired to make my own Sea Salt and Pepper Crackers last year. The recipe I came up with is very basic and turned out to be quite adaptable for other flavor combinations. Sharing my positive experience on my blog, I was so pleased when Roxana liked my recipe enough to make it herself but not only that, she created Cinnamon Sugar and Parmesan-Herb versions from that same base recipe. I have since made my own Herb-Cheese version but the possibilities are still endless.
For my third go with my basic cracker recipe, I decided to go with chocolate. Roxana has been sharing some wonderful chocolate recipes here lately so I wondered if chocolate would work for the crackers. I didn’t want a sugary, cookie-like cracker but rather I wanted something a little more refined. I wanted the chocolate flavor to come through but I still wanted the light texture of a cracker. I played around with the ingredients, making adjustments to account for the addition of unsweetened cocoa powder. I cut back on the salt and added just a bit more sugar to soften the edge of the unsweetened cocoa. I prepared the dough exactly the same way, practically effortless since the food processor does most of the work followed by only a few minutes of kneading the dough. No need to fear this step at all—in no time the dough becomes shiny and smooth and the wonderful chocolate hue made me feel almost confident of success.
As with the original recipe, rolling out the dough on a baking sheet keeps the dough from rolling back too much, making it much easier to work with. After pricking the surface with a fork and scoring it to create uniform squares (for easier cutting later), the oven does the rest. My fingers were crossed for 10 minutes but there was absolutely no need to worry.
These crackers are like little bites of chocolate heaven. They taste almost like chocolate graham crackers but without the cookie sweetness and they possess a smoother texture. A friend who happened to be visiting the day I made these said they taste only chocolatey enough to leave you wanting more…and more. I was lucky to enjoy a few with raspberry preserves (I love crackers and jam together) but my husband and our friend polished the rest off in no time at all.
I am very excited about these crackers and I hope I have done Roxana justice sharing this recipe here today. They are wonderful on their own, dunked in milk or with preserves but next time I think I will serve them with ice cream. I can’t wait.
Homemade chocolate crackers - little bites of chocolate heaven
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- Preheat your oven to 450°F. (For my convection oven, I bake at 425°F.)
- Using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt until combined. Add the pieces of chilled butter and process until the butter is no longer discernible in the mixture, a few seconds. With the food processor on, add the milk and process until the dough comes together.
- Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead it for about 5-6 minutes. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle more flour if the dough becomes a bit sticky as you knead it. Shape the dough into a ball and cut in half.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out one half of the dough on an inverted baking pan. I use a half sheet size pan and roll out as thinly as I can until the dough comes close to the edges of the pan. Repeat for second half.
- Pierce the surface of the dough with a fork and score it with a knife into serving-size pieces. Mine are about the size of Saltine crackers.
- Bake on the sheet pan for 10-12 minutes or until the uneven edges turn dark brown and your kitchen begins to smell like chocolate. Make sure to rotate the pan halfway through baking. I bake the dough in two batches to make sure they bake evenly but you can try baking both batches at the same time.
- Slide out the baked cracker sheet onto a cooling rack and make sure to let it cool completely so the crackers are crisp.
- Use a large knife to cut the crackers in uniform pieces using the scoring as a guide. Each half dough will make about 20-25 crackers plus the extra from the uneven edges