Matzo

Passover is nearing, and though I don't observe it for religious reasons, I absolutely love enjoying this time with my many practicing friends. And the food...the FOOD! I can remember celebrating with my friend Erin's family during college, when I was first introduced to the magic of matzos and potato latkes. To this day, I'm continuously intrigued by the simplicity of matzo crackers, which I bake throughout the year. This quick 30 minute process results in light and crispy perfection time after time.

I use Mark Bittman’s basic Olive Oil Matzo recipe and tweak it slightly by adding into the dough a variety of flavor-rich, texture-friendly seeds. Some favorites: poppyseed, hempseed, crushed sunflower seeds, and sometimes even flax seed. I also use various types of finishing salts (in this case rosemary meyer lemon Sel Gris!) to switch it up and keep it interesting.

Adapted from Mark Bittman
Ingredients


2 cups all-purpose flour*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon poppyseed (or a combination of any other desired seeds)
Finishing salt (optional)

*For a healthier version, you can do 1 cup whole wheat flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour. But doing 100% whole wheat doesn't really work out for matzos because the more wheat flour you use, the less that addictive airy texture of the matzo prevails.

Directions

1. Heat oven to 500 degrees.

2. Put flour, salt, and olive oil into a food processor. After mixing, add 1/2 cup water. Continue to pulse until dough forms a firm ball (it should not be sticky).

3. Cut dough into six small balls — this is easiest if you cut the ball in half, then half again, then into thirds, and so forth. On a well-floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll each patty into a circle. At this point you can choose to leave them as-is, or make them smaller. If you'd like them smaller/more cracker-like, take a very sharp knife and cut into whatever shapes you desire — shoot for rectangles, but if you're anything like me, the shapes will be irregular! The dough should be very thin, but without holes.

4. Transfer the pieces of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets (or sometimes I line with parchment paper), sprinkle with your desired finishing salt if you like, and bake for about 2 to 3 minutes. They can burn very quickly, so you have to keep a close eye on them since oven temps vary, especially in different climates. Once they begin to puff up and brown, flip them over and cook for another minute or so on the second side. Repeat until done, let the crackers cool completely.