When I roll out the dough for cookies or crackers, it comes out smooth and uniformly thin. I have done this at least a hundred times and I pride myself on being able to create a sheet without bubbles, tears, or creases. Then I carefully cut out shapes with a knife or cookie cutters, tenderly lifting each one onto a baking sheet.
This same dough, in the hands of seven children armed with kid-sized rolling pins, will look quite different when they are the ones doing the rolling and cutting. And this is why I decided to be a teacher.
Nothing is more satisfying that seeing them focus on the task at hand, giving their best effort and attention to the task at hand.
I visit each one, checking their progress, giving words of gentle encouragement where needed:
“I see you’re rolling the pin back & forth really quickly. Can you try rolling more slowly? That will make the dough more even and thin which makes for a tastier cracker.”
“Your dough looks perfect! I think you can start cutting it into shapes with your knife now.”
“Yes I see that crease in the dough but you know what? We can roll over it and it will disappear!”
Each cracker finds its way onto the parchment-lined baking sheet and into the oven. No two shapes are alike, many of the edges are jagged, and the overall appearance of the crackers can best be described as “scrappy.” But most important, they are gorgeous. They make my heart warm and glowy because I am so proud to be in the presence of all this hard work and enjoyment.
This is why we slow down and make things with our own two hands. This is why we take the time to teach our children how to do things from scratch.
After the crackers have cooled we set out tiny cups of whipped cream cheese and hummus. Then we pass out the crackers so the chefs can taste what they’ve made. They love them and would eat a whole plate full if they could. They revel in eating their handiwork…smiles and cheerful crumbs everywhere we turn.
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. cold water
Add all dry ingredients to a food processor and pulse to blend. In a bowl, whisk together egg and oil. Slowly add egg & oil to flour mixture while pulsing. Dough should form a coarse meal. Add water a spoonful at a time and pulse to blend each time until the dough comes together into a single ball.
Form dough into a thick disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 mins. Then roll out dough on a floured surface to 1/8 in thickness and cut into desired shapes. Cookie cutters work well or you can just cut out squares, rectangles, or triangles with a knife or ravioli cutter.
Transfer dough shapes to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-20 minutes or until browned around edges. Check frequently as cooking time varies based on the thickness of your dough.
Let cool and enjoy with your favorite cheese or dip. Keeps up to one week in an airtight container or 2 months in the freezer.
Try sprinkling dried rosemary, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds over the dough. Roll over them with a rolling pin to set them into the dough, then proceed with cutting out your shapes.