These Toasted Baguette Croutons Are Better Than Most Crackers

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Baguette slices make better crackers than most of the store-bought options. Vicky Wasik

If there's one thing I'm guilty of, it's overlooking the obvious stuff. Or, at least, the stuff that seems obvious to me. I've been making these baguette crackers for years, and I always figured that everyone knew about them. Then one day I was helping my mother-in-law prepare for a party, and she was short on crackers. I grabbed a baguette, whipped these up real fast, and voilà! I didn't think it was a very impressive trick, but everyone else acted like I'd just pulled rabbit pâté out of a hat.

Not only are these easy to make, they're better than most of the store-bought cracker options out there, which often taste stale and lifeless even immediately after you open the stay-fresh packaging. These are kind of like homemade Melba toasts, with way more personality.

The steps couldn't be simpler:

First, slice the bread. Even a crappy supermarket baguette, like the one pictured here, turns into excellent crackers, or croutons, or toasts, or whatever you want to call them. I like to cut on a slight bias to get more oblong pieces.

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Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. You don't have to saturate them, or even coat them evenly: As long as they're somewhat consistently drizzled, the oil will spread itself out as they bake in the oven.

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If you really want to be fussy, you can use a pastry brush to apply the oil, but I never bother with that.

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Then season the bread slices on both sides with salt and pepper.

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Toss them in a 350°F oven and bake, rotating the sheet front to back and flipping the toasts halfway through, until they're browned and crispy.

Now...um...does anyone have any of that pâté?

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