Friday, January 28, 2011


In honor of Kansas Day, tomorrow, I looked up a recipe that was quite common in the early days of Kansas. It is still made today but many people refer to it as Hardcrackers. This will be hard so you will probably want to eat it with hot broth or soup, coffee, tea or with your morning mush.

Not many people have this recipe around anymore. It kinda went out of style when our current day's saltine crackers came onto the market. I still remember my grandmother talking about how good the flavor was. I came across this recipe in a book that we purchased at Dodge City's Boot Hill and Front Street in 2008 when Bill Kurtis and Michelle M. Martin brought their The Prairie Table Cookbook out onto the market. Many of you will remember Mr. Kurtis from his TV series. We were able to spend some time with the authors which we really enjoyed. Anyway, this is just one of many recipes that are included in the book. Some of them, we have tried. Others, we will never try such as those whose main ingredient is raccoon! LOL!!! But if you are interested in trying some of these old recipes which produce food just as great as they did in the 1800s, get this book. You'll also get a history lesson that you may not have learned before. For instance, many soliders ate Hardtack as they made their way from one battle to the next. This food was easily cooked and traveled very well.

4-5 cups flour
2 cups water

Knead all three ingredients together. Roll out on a greased pan. Cut into 15 pieces. Pierce holes into the dough with a fork or ice pick. Each piece should have 16 holes in it.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip to the other side. Bake for another 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 200 degrees. Continue to bake until all moisture has been removed from the crackers which will take 8 to 24 hours.

If you are just interested in making what I will call "Softtack" or Soft Crackers, I would recommend that you bake them for 15-30 minutes and forget about the drying out process. I have not personally tried this but it seems to me that this just might make this recipe into homemade crackers that can be eaten in any way.

Remember to eat the Hardtack with something liquidy or you will be in the same shape as many soldiers were back then--missing a tooth or two.


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