bagel chips Notes: You can buy these crunchy chips ready-made, but they're easy to make at home. To make your own: Slice bagels into very thin rounds and place them on a baking sheet. (They're easier to slice if they're cold.) Brush with butter or olive oil that's been seasoned with garlic powder or other herbs or spices. Bake in a 350° oven until crisp and golden.
breakfast cracker Notes: These sturdy British crackers are quite bland. Substitutes: water cracker
chips Notes: These are vegetables or grain products that have been cut into thin slices, deep-fried or baked until crisp, and then salted. They're often served with creamy dips. The British use the word "chips" for what Americans call French fries.
corn chips Notes: These are made with cornmeal, and taste especially good with chili. Substitutes: tortilla chips OR potato chips
crostini Pronunciation: cruh-STEE-nee Notes: These are small slices of toasted bread, which are often used as a base for appetizers. To make your own: Cut a baguette into thin slices, brush the slices with butter or olive oil, and bake in a 350° oven until slightly crisp. If you like, add a topping before baking. Substitutes: melba toast OR water crackers
croustade Pronunciation: crew-STAHD Notes: These crispy cups can each hold about a tablespoon of filling, so they're perfect for making tiny hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Substitutes: water cracker (for hors d'oeuvres) OR Cut small dinner rolls in half, and hollow them out, leaving only the crust. Bake in a 350° oven until crisp. OR barquette OR crostini OR Cut rounds from slices of white bread, then press them into buttered muffin cups. Bake in a 350° oven until crisp.
croutons Pronunciation: CREW-tahnz Notes: These add crunch to salads and soups. You can buy them readymade at many supermarkets, but they're much tastier if you make them yourself. To make your own: Brush cubes of crustless white bread with butter or olive, then season them with salt and other seasonings, like garlic (minced or powdered), parmesan cheese, or herbs. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and bake them in a 325° F oven until they're crisp, about 20 minutes. Substitutes: jicama (as a crunchy salad ingredient) OR Jerusalem artichokes (as a crunchy salad ingredient) OR friselle OR soup nuts (not as crunchy or flavorful)
digestive biscuit = digestive Notes: These British crackers are similar to American graham crackers, only they're more crumbly and less sweet. They're often crushed into crumbs and used to make pie crusts. Substitutes: graham cracker OR wheatmeal biscuit (in Australia)
friselle Pronunciation: free-ZEHL-eh Notes: These peppery Italian crackers are baked twice, which makes them hard and dry and gives them a long shelf life. They're usually rehydrated with water and then topped with olive oil and other flavorings like herbs, cheese, and tomatoes. Substitutes: focaccia OR zwieback OR croutons
graham crackers Notes: These moderately sweet crackers are made with whole wheat flour. They make great snacks for kids, but cooks often crush them and use the crumbs to make pie crusts. Cinnamon or chocolate flavored graham crackers are also available. Substitutes: digestive biscuit (This is a similar British product.) OR wheatmeal biscuit (This is a similar Australian product.) OR ginger snaps OR chocolate wafers OR vanilla wafers
hard bread See hardtack.
hardtack = hard bread = pilot biscuit = pilot bread = sea bread = ship biscuit = ship bread = tack Notes: Hardtack is an unleavened, unsalted biscuit that sailors used to eat while on long sea voyages. Since it's very dry, it can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. Substitutes: zweiback
Highland oatcakes Notes: These mildly sweet crackers are a good base for hors d'oeuvres, but they're higher in fat than other crackers.
krupuk See shrimp chips.
matzo = matzoh Pronunciation: MAT-suh Notes: This cracker is served during Passover to symbolize the unleavened bread the Jews ate during their hasty exodus from Egypt. To conform with Jewish dietary laws, matzo producers can't use leavening agents like baking soda or yeast. But they're still able to give the crackers a bit of airiness by baking them in extremely hot ovens, which causes trapped air bubbles in the dough to expand. Substitutes: cracker bread
melba toast Notes: These thin, crisp slices of bread are often used as a base for appetizers or served with soups or salads. When crushed, they make an excellent breading for meat or fish. Substitutes: Cut French bread into very thin slices and bake at 400° for a few minutes until very dry and crisp. OR zwieback OR croutons OR water crackers
pappadam = papad = poppadum = pappadom Pronunciation: PAH-pah-dum Notes: These tortilla-shaped Indian crackers are made with chickpea or lentil flour. Before you serve them, you need to fry them in very hot oil or heat them in a microwave oven until they puff up and become crisp. You can then break them up and serve them with curried dishes, or use them like tortilla chips. They're sold in Indian markets. Substitutes: cracker bread OR shrimp chips
pilot biscuit See hardtack.
pilot bread See hardtack.
potato chips = crisps Notes: These are very thin potato slices that have been deep-fried and salted. They're crisp and just sturdy enough to dunk into a creamy dip without breaking. They come in many flavors, including barbecue and sour cream. The British call them "crisps," and use the word chips for French fries. Substitutes: bagel chips OR pretzels
pretzel Pronunciation: PRET-zel Notes: Pretzels are ropes of dough that are usually shaped into knots, sprinkled with coarse salt, and browned in an oven. They can be soft and breadlike or hard and crunchy. Soft pretzels, also called bread pretzels, are often served with mustard, while crunchy pretzels are eaten just the way they are. Substitutes: potato chips OR rice crackers
rice cake Notes: These crunchy snacks are relatively low in fat--and flavor. They come in different flavors, like caramel, cheese, ranch, and apple cinnamon. Don't confuse this with mochi, which is also sometimes called rice cake. Substitutes: popcorn
rice crackers Notes: These addictive Japanese snacks are available in many large supermarkets. Substitutes: potato chips OR pretzels
Ritz® cracker Notes: Produced by Nabisco, these are the best-selling crackers in the United States. They're high in fat and sodium, which makes them a tasty foil for cheese or peanut butter. Cooks sometimes crush them and use them as a pie crust or topping for casseroles. The crackers are also used to make the filling for a mock apple pie, which contains no apples. Reduced fat and low sodium versions are available. Substitutes: water cracker
rusk See zwieback.
saltine cracker = saltine = soda cracker Notes: These salty crackers are very crisp, and they're great for snacking. They're often made into tiny sandwiches with cheese or peanut butter in the middle. Substitutes: water cracker or Ritz cracker
sea bread See hardtack.
ship biscuit See hardtack.
ship bread See hardtack.
shrimp chips = krupuk = Indonesian chips Notes: These Indonesian chips are made with tapioca and different flavorings. Before serving them, you're supposed to fry them in hot oil for a few seconds until they expand and become crunchy. Look for them in Asian markets. Substitutes: pappadams
soup nuts = mandlen Notes: These matzo meal crackers are used in soups or ground into crumbs. Substitutes: farfel OR matzo meal OR croutons
tack See hardtack.
tortilla chips Notes: These are tortilla wedges that have been deep-fried or baked. They're often served with Southwestern-style dips, like salsa and guacamole. Substitutes: corn chips OR potato chips
Triscuit® Notes: These crunchy crackers are made of woven strands of whole wheat. They're often used as a base for appetizers, though some devotees eat them straight. Reduced fat and low sodium versions are available. Substitutes: Ritz® cracker OR water cracker
water cracker = water biscuit Notes: These crunchy crackers have little flavor, making them a neutral foundation for spreads and appetizers. Substitutes: saltine OR Ritz cracker OR Triscuit
wheatmeal biscuit Notes: This is Australia's answer to America's graham cracker. Substitutes: graham cracker OR digestive biscuit (in Great Britain)
zwieback = rusk Notes: These are slices of bread that have been baked a second time, making them crisp and dry. Toddlers use them as teething biscuits, while adults add them to soups. Substitutes: Graham crackers (crumbs work equally well in many recipes)
Copyright © 1996-2005 Lori Alden