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A cracker is a flat, dry baked food typically made with flour. In UK English, crackers are sometimes called water biscuits, savoury biscuits or biscuits. Flavorings or seasonings, such as salt, herbs, seeds or cheese, may be added to the dough or sprinkled on top before baking. Crackers are often branded as a nutritious and convenient way to consume a staple food or cereal grain.
|Place of origin||Various|
|Main ingredients||Flour, water|
Crackers can be eaten on their own, but can also accompany other food items, particularly as or with appetizers - such as cheese or meat slices; dips; or soft spreads such as jam, butter, or peanut butter. Bland or mild crackers are sometimes used as a palate cleanser in food product testing or flavor testing, between samples. Crackers may also be crumbled and added to soup. The modern cracker is somewhat similar to nautical ship's biscuits, military hardtack, chacknels, and sacramental bread. Other early versions of the cracker can be found in ancient flatbreads, such as lavash, pita, matzo, flatbrød, and crisp bread. Asian analogues include papadum and senbei.
The holes in crackers are called "docking" holes. The holes are poked in the dough with something pointed, such as a fork, to stop overly large air pockets from forming in the cracker while baking. Crackers come in many shapes and sizes - round, rectangular, triangular, or irregular.
In American English, the name "cracker" usually refers to savory and/or salty flat biscuits, whereas the term "cookie", or "biscuit" in UK English, while similar to a cracker in appearance and texture, means it is sweet. Crackers are also generally made differently: crackers are made by layering dough, while cookies, besides the addition of sugar, usually use a chemical leavening agent, may contain eggs, and in other ways are made more like a cake. Crackers sometimes have cheese or spices as ingredients, or even chicken stock.
Mock apple pie is made using Ritz (or similar) crackers.
Cracker brands include Bremner Wafers, Captain's Wafers, Cheese Nips, Club Crackers, Handi-Snacks, In a Biskit, Town House crackers, Ritz Crackers, Stoned Wheat Thins, Triscuit, TUC and Wheat Thins, among others. Such crackers are sometimes spread with cheese, pâté, or mousse.
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