A tasty alternative to deep-fried snacks!
A friend from the southern United States recently taught me about one of her state’s most popular snacks: Alabama fire crackers. These highly seasoned, sometimes re-baked crackers appear at so many meals – from fancy buffets to casual cookouts – that they’re almost ubiquitous. She said she even crumbles them to use as croutons and her family won’t eat soup without sprinkling some on top. I’ve adapted the recipe to make them less fiery than is traditional but you can easily increase the heat if you prefer. I also chose to use whole wheat saltine crackers, to make them a little healthier. Feel free to use your favourite gluten-free crackers if you wish. I like to enjoy them as a flavourful snack – they’re a great alternative to potato chips and perfectly packable for lunch boxes too.
- 2 sleeves whole wheat crackers (use unsalted ones if you can find them)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 packet dried ranch dressing mix (2 tablespoons/1 ounce/28 g)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like things really spicy)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Line crackers up standing on one edge in a container with a tight lid.
- Whisk together canola, ranch dressing, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and pepper. Very slowly, whisking again as needed to keep the spices from settling at the bottom, drizzle this mixture evenly over the crackers.
- Put the lid on the container and let crackers marinate for 20 minutes, gently flipping the container over every 5 minutes, giving it a very gentle shake each time to distribute the coating.
- After 20 minutes, bake as below, or simply transfer the crackers to a clean airtight container.
- This step is optional but makes for extra-crispy crackers: after the crackers have been in the container for 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 250F. Remove the crackers and spread out in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets. Scrape out any of the seasoned oil remaining in the container and drizzle it evenly over the crackers. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking trays before transferring to an airtight container.
- Unbaked crackers will keep at room temperature for one week; baked ones will last for two weeks.
Makes approximately 80 tasty crackers.