By Laura Coffee, Marketing & Owner Services Manager, Co-op Owner
Caraway is a unique spice. While they look like seeds, the bits we use to cook with are technically the dried fruits of the plant. It is a member of the same family as carrots, cumin, fennel, and parsley. Its fruits have a strong aroma when crushed and have a flavor similar to anise. Because of this intensity, it is frequently paired with other strong flavors, like sauerkraut, rye, and certain cheeses. However, it may also pop up in sweeter preparations, like liquors or baked goods. Some people even use it as a digestive aid or chew the seeds as a way to freshen their breath. To sign up for future installments in this series and receive samples of the featured herbs and spices simply sign up through the Veteran’s Memorial Library.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 2 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing with your hands or a wide spatula until evenly combined. The dough will be too thick for a whisk or spoon. If the dough is too sticky add a sprinkle of flour and continue mixing. If it is too dry add a small amount of water and do the same. Roll the dough out as thinly as possible on a sheet of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. If you are using a smaller baking sheet, cut the dough in two batches to give you enough room to roll it out thinly. Lift the parchment paper directly onto the baking sheet and score into squares using an un-serrated butter knife. Note: Most cracker recipes will suggest that you poke holes in the crackers with a fork at this point. I intended to do that, but completely forgot. Be aware that your cooking time may be shorter than mine if your dough is rolled thinner or if you remember to poke holes in yours. Put your crackers in the oven.
Start checking for doneness around the 10 minute mark. Once the tops of the crackers no longer give when poked (mine took about 20 minutes to reach this stage), turn them over and bake for approximately another 5 minutes, removing them if they begin to brown. You can enjoy the crackers right away, or allow them to cool and store in a sealed container. They are best if eaten within two days.
If you don’t get to eating your crackers quickly and they lose their crispiness, you can repurpose them as little square dumplings. Add them to your soup or stew in the last 10 minutes of cooking for thin crackers or 15 minutes for thick ones. They will hydrate and soften in the cooking liquid.
- 4-6oz ginger soda or ginger sparkling water
- 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp caraway
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- orange slice (optional)
Crush the caraway and sugar together in a mortar and pestle until fragrant. Combine the caraway sugar mixture and lemon juice in a glass and stir until sugar begins to dissolve. Add a splash of ginger soda/sparkling water and continue to stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Place some ice into a clean rocks glass and pour the mixture through a strainer into the glass. Pour the remainder of the ginger soda into the glass through the strainer. Serve as-is or garnish with a slice of orange.
For a more ‘spirited’ version, replace 1.5oz of the ginger soda with rye whiskey.