A cracker is a baked food typically made from flour. Flavorings or seasonings, such as salt, herbs, seeds, and/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.
Crackers can be eaten on their own but can also accompany other food items, 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. A precedent for the modern cracker can be found in nautical ship biscuits, military hardtack, and sacramental bread.
The holes in crackers are called "docking" holes. The holes are placed in the dough to stop overly large air pockets from forming in the cracker while baking. Crackers come in many shapes and sizes - round, square, triangular, etc.
In American English, the name "cracker" is most often applied to flat biscuits with a savory, salty flavor, in distinction from a "cookie", which may be similar to a "cracker" in appearance and texture, but has a sweet flavor. Crackers may be further distinguished from cookies by the manner in which they are made. Crackers are made merely by layering dough, and cookies may be made in many of the same manners a cake would be prepared. Crackers sometimes have cheese or spices as ingredients, or even chicken stock. Crackers are typically salted flour products.
Mock apple pie is made using Ritz (or similar) crackers.
Cracker brands are myriad, and 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.
Arare, small Japanese rice crackers
Cheez-It crackers made by Kellogg
A bowl of oyster crackers
Japanese Senbei rice cracker with seaweed topping
Triscuit shredded wheat crackers
Beaten biscuits are a relative of crackers
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