Serious Eats: Recipes

Bread Baking: Fire Crackers

[Photograph: Donna Currie]

If you know just one thing about my cooking style, it's probably that I'm intent on cooking from scratch. I make my own bread and yogurt. I often make my own pasta and flatbreads and tortillas. I've made sauerkraut. If it can be made at home, I want to try it at least once.

But there are some things I don't mind buying. While I've made barbecue sauce, I'm fine with buying ketchup. (We use so little of it that we need the industrial preservatives so it can last long enough for us to use it all.) And sometimes I find a product that is so good for what it is that I see no sense in trying to make it. Hotheads Pepperspread is a recent discovery. It's made from jalapeƱos, but it's not your typical salsa or pickled jalepeno. As the name suggests, this stuff is a spread. The best I can describe it is that it's close to the consistency of a stone-ground mustard.

Tips on Making this Recipe...
by hand-kneading »
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As a substitute, you could cook some jalepenos, peel them, remove most of the seeds, and blend them up, but it wouldn't be exactly the same. The jar lists vinegar and spices as ingredients, but I have no clue what's really in there. All I know is that this stuff is oddly addicting. And of course, I've been working on using it in bread recipes.

Hot bread might not be the next great thing, but spicy crackers are pretty darned good. In this recipe, there's just a hint of the Pepperspread (did I mention that a little goes a long way?) so it gives the crackers just enough heat that you feel it creeping up on you, but that the spice-averse would probably be fine as well. Eat one cracker, and it's not spicy at all, but keep on eating, and you can feel the heat building.

If you want an even spicier cracker, you could add more Pepperspread and cut back a bit on the water.

These would be a great appetizer with a little cream cheese and a garnish, but I've been eating them plain. This recipe makes enough to fill a baking sheet with crackers, but if you need more, you can double or triple the recipe.

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