If you’ve never made crackers before, you should definitely give this recipe a try. With only five ingredients, it’s a whole lot simpler than you might think, and the results are truly outstanding. I paired the crackers with a refreshing red pepper salsa because the sweetness of the dip really complements the saltiness of the crackers.

If you have patience, this is actually a great activity to do with kids. It’s a bit time-consuming, but essentially a pretty simple recipe to follow. And it’s great for kids to learn that all kinds of foods can be homemade.

Gather your ingredients. You’ll need a block of cheddar and some cold butter, as well as flour, water and salt. Grate the cheese and cut the butter into pieces. If you have a dairy food processor, throw all the ingredients in there and pulse until it comes together to form a smooth dough.

I prefer to keep my food processor pareve, so I mixed the dough by hand. First work the butter into the cheese, slowly adding flour, water and salt as the mixture comes together. The warmth of your hands should help the butter soften and combine with the other ingredients.

When the dough forms a smooth ball, it’s ready. Stick it in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare to roll the dough. I like to roll it between two pieces of parchment paper so I don’t have to worry about the dough sticking to the rolling pin. Tear off two pieces of parchment paper, the same size. Cut the dough into four pieces, and stick one piece between the parchment papers. Use the rolling pin to roll it as thin as you can.

Using a small, round cookie cutter, cut as many circles as you can from the dough. Gently pick them up and place them on a baking pan. Repeat until all the dough has been rolled and all the crackers are ready for baking.

Bake for 20–25 minutes, until they are golden or lightly browned. Baking time will vary slightly depending on how thick your crackers are. Let the crackers cool and they are ready to eat. Yum!

To make the salsa, dice the peppers and onion. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl of a food processor, and process 10–15 seconds—but make sure not to puree them!

Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Make sure to stir it occasionally to avoid burning the sugar. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1–2 hours. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Now invite some friends over (or don’t, if you prefer not to share!) and have a dipping feast. This recipe makes about 4 cups salsa and about 100 crackers.

And while they can’t be called healthy by any stretch of the imagination, at least these crackers don’t have all the chemicals found in store-bought ones.

Cracker Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp. cold butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1½ tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cracker Directions:

  1. Grate the cheddar.
  2. Cut the butter into squares.
  3. If you have a dairy food processor, stick all the ingredients in there and pulse until combined.
  4. If you’re doing it by hand (like I did), start by working the butter and cheese together. The heat of your hands should help the butter mix.
  5. Add in the flour, a bit at a time, along with the water.
  6. Keep working the dough until you have a nice, smooth ball.
  7. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  8. Roll the dough as thin as possible, cut circles, and place on a greased pan.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 20–25 minutes for crispy crackers, 15–20 if you prefer them slightly soft.

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 5 red peppers
  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt

Salsa Directions:

  1. Dice peppers and onion.
  2. Put them in the bowl of your food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Do not puree them.
  3. Pour all ingredients into a strong pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to make sure the sugar doesn’t burn.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and cook 1–2 hours.
  5. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Yields: 100 crackers, 4 cups salsa

Have you ever made crackers before? How would you compare them to store-bought?