Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers

The thermometer sitting out on the snow-covered deck is incorrect; the needle always pointing to a temperature that stands to be a little too good to be true. Having stood out of the window for as long as my memory can trace, it is an old soul, surviving the chill of winter and the high heat of summer without complaint for decades. I like to imagine the thermometer has become an optimist in its old age, telling me the temperature I long to see while protecting me from the stark reality of winter temperatures.

Right now the thermometer tells me it's a balmy 60° F. The floorboards of the deck are obscured by hard ice and crackling snow (such a temperature certainly cannot be true), but the fabricated temperature still plays up my warm weather fantasies.

With the sun arising earlier each morning, lending natural light to accompany my breakfasts, I think my winter blues are nearing their end. It feels like the end to the dark winter season—the sun has finished hibernating and is rested enough to spend the day dancing across the sky. Even so, there is still a winter chill in the air and the first signs of spring are far from arriving.

The warmth and heat from the oven is still welcomed in my home.

The past weekend I set out to make and bake crackers. Though I've made them once before, I wanted to tackle a new set of flavors and textures. Crackers, if you may not know, are easy to prepare by hand or machine, with the act of rolling out the dough taking up the most time. Boxed crackers pale in comparison to the homespun version, as is often the case with anything bought that can be made homemade.

Rosemary has quickly become one of my favorite spices, with its earthy tones and bright green shade. I enjoy it both in winter or spring, which is perfect for me since the winter weather outside my window never quite matches the spring temperatures listed on the thermometer.

These Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers have a crunchy exterior with a soft and tender interior, mimicking the coveted texture of a perfect chocolate chip cookie. Made with a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flours, the crackers are flavored with fresh rosemary, cracked pepper, and coarse sea salt. These salty crackers truly pack a punch of flavor. While they would shine with a wine and cheese tray (and impress those lucky enough to give them a try), I ate them plain and by the handful. These crackers didn't last more than 5 hours in my home.

One Year Ago: Yeasted Waffles

Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers

Yields 4-6 dozen 1-1/2-inch round crackers

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
3 tablespoons butter, cold
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
Coarse sea salt and cracked pepper, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).

In a food processor, pulse together flours, baking powder, salt, and rosemary. Blend in the butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add egg and milk and pulse until a dough forms. Alternatively, whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your hands, and mix in the rest of the ingredients until a dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until 1/8-inch thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cutter, cut out rounds and place on a baking sheet. Alternatively, use a pizza cutter to cut crackers into 1-inch squares and transfer to a baking sheet. Continue until dough has all been used. Sprinkle on sea salt and cracker pepper, to taste. Use a fork to make a few holes per cracker; this will prevent the crackers from rising in the middle and to bake evenly. Bake for 10-14 minutes, or until crackers are lightly browned.

Best eaten the day prepared.