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Birdie, Want a Wheat Cracker?

by Lori on March 24th, 2011

Baked crackers

Polly the parrot may be happy with any kind of crackers, but my pet cockatiel Birdie has a more discriminating palate. Wheat Thins are the only crackers good enough for her. Today I am baking a batch from scratch, but will they pass the Birdie taste test?

Birdie and bell

Birdie came to us from a friend, who had Birdie for a few years when she decided to also get a cat. You can probably imagine what happened next. Think Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird. My friend’s cat is even black, and Birdie is bright yellow. However, in this story the bird isn’t quick enough to outsmart the cat.

The Story

One morning my friend didn’t get the cage door completely latched after feeding the bird. Later that day, she returned home to find both bird and cat sitting on her steps. The cat looked guilty, and the bird was covered in blood. My friend called the vet immediately. The vet asked if the cat was OK, assuming the bird was a goner and the cat may be choking on it.

After a check up, Birdie was deemed fine minus a few tail and wing feathers. My friend’s husband, however, was no longer fine with having both a bird and a cat under the same roof. He insisted one of them must go – the bird, the cat or him. To save a marriage and a bird, I agreed to take in the bird temporarily until a permanent home was found.

When my friend gave Birdie to me, she mentioned how much Birdie loved Wheat Thins. Throughout the bird’s recovery, I would feed her the crackers by hand and she loved it. By the time her feathers grew back, I was attached and her temporary home at our house became a permanent one.

A curious bird

The Moral of the Story

A bird in the hand may be worth two in a bush, but a cockatiel who loves wheat crackers is priceless.

Plate of crackers, take one

About the Recipe

The homemade Wheat Thin cracker recipe I made was from the blog Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. I made the recipe as described. The flavor was right on mark, but I didn’t roll the crackers thin enough to be crispy. The texture was more like a soft graham cracker than a crisp Wheat Thin.

The Cast of Characters

Paprika, take one
Wheat flour is the foundation of this recipe. Paprika and vanilla spice things up a bit, much like Tweety and Sylvester do in those Looney Tunes.

The Play-by-Play

Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and paprika.
Paprika, take two

Cut in the butter to form coarse crumbs. I used a food processor. You can use a pastry blender if you like.
Just add butter

Mix the water and vanilla into the flour mixture to form the dough. If you are using a food processor, pour the water and vanilla into it and pulse it a few times.
Adding water and vanilla

Divide the dough into four pieces.
Balls of cracker doug

Roll the dough into thin strips. I used my pasta roller set on the first setting, but next time think I’ll try the second or third setting to make them thinner.
Preparing to roll crackers

With a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into cracker-size squares.
.

Transfer the crackers to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Unsalted crackers, take five

Sprinkle the crackers generously with coarse salt.
Salted crackers, take two

Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp.
Crackers in the oven

Recipe: Homemade Wheat Crackers

Summary: Wholesome cracker with wheat flavor

Ingredients and Instructions

For the complete recipe, please visit Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

The Footnotes

  • About the rolling: For crispy crackers, roll them as thin as possible. I used the first setting on my pasta roller, and they were about ¼ inch thick. Next time I think I’ll use the second or third setting to make them even thinner – and crisper.
  • About the seasonings: I wouldn’t change a thing. The ingredient proportions in Tracey’s recipe are an exact match in flavor to the store bought Wheat Thins.

Baking time (duration): 10 minutes

Number of servings (yield): 8 (about 48 crackers)

Meal type: snack

My rating: 3 stars: ★★★☆☆ 1 review(s)

I would have rated it 5 stars if I had rolled them thinner to make them more crisp. However Birdie is a bit more finicky. She wouldn’t even touch them, so I am guessing her rating was 0 stars. That’s OK. It just meant more for me.

Additional Resources

Here are a few other wheat cracker recipes I found before deciding on Tracey’s version. Like Tracey’s recipe, they all seem to be based on the same recipe from King Arthur’s cookbook. If you try these other variations, let me know what you think.

Do you bake homemade treats for your pets?

2 Comments
  1. Poor birdie! First she gets her feathers ruffled, then she holds up her nose to the wheat thins. “He insisted one of them must go – the bird, the cat or him.” That line made me chuckle.

    Definitely should try it again and make them thinner. I bet this has potential.

    • I definitely want to give it another go. I think going up a couple of more settings on the pasta roller will get them thin and crisp enough.

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