I have made hardtack before (shoutout to my 8th grade Civil War project) but never like this. Whereas traditional hardtack is a last-forever cracker made up of flour and water and meant to sustain people through battles and month long voyages, this Swedish Oatmeal Hardtack combines shortening, butter, and sugar along with the addition of oatmeal, buttermilk, and salt. The result is a slightly sweet, slightly salty, crisp cracker with a crumbly texture.
I really enjoyed how easy this recipe was to make. I was able to make the hardtack without any electric mixing appliances. To start the dough, I creamed vegetable shortening, unsalted butter at room temperature, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, I whisked together unbleached all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, and old-fashioned oats (The original recipe calls for quick-cooking oats, but I thought these worked just fine. To make the old-fashioned oats more comparable to quick-cooking oats, you could pulse them in a food processor and give them a quick soak before adding them to the dry ingredients.) I added the dry ingredients as well as buttermilk to the creamed mixture to form the dough.
I refrigerated the dough for thirty minutes and then divided it into thirds. I rolled one-third of the dough out at a time on a greased cookie sheet. Next, I docked it with a fork and used a pizza cutter to slice it into cracker-sized portions. I baked each batch at 325°F for 12 minutes.
I thought this recipe was a success! After making this, I do have a few tips, however, that might help if you decide you to make these crackers. Firstly, I had a hard time getting my dough to reach the corners of the cookie sheet because my rolling pin kept hitting the edge of the pan. I think the back of a jelly roll pan is much better suited to this recipe as it will allow you the room to roll your dough out as thin as you like. Also, I would suggest upping the temperature of the oven to 350°F or so to ensure crispy, honey-brown crackers. (Be sure to check them around 7 minutes to make sure they aren’t cooking too quickly if you decide to do this.)
The blurb in the cookbook states that these are served for breakfast in Sweden. I can see why! They are perfect with jams and spreads of all kinds. The cookbook even recommends pairing them with a savory smoked trout spread. In my house, they have already been paired with peanut butter, cheese, and the newly-acquired, rapidly-disappearing jar of Amaretto Pecan Honey Butter I bought last week (seen on the spoon in the first picture).
You can find out who else made this recipe and what they thought here!