Cream crackers are flat, square, crispy crackers with distinctive air pockets and a lovely creamy, savory flavor. As a kid, cream crackers spread with butter and jam, accompanied by a glass of cold milk provided the perfect supper time snack.
When I was grocery shopping at my local Kroger store here in Kentucky a few days ago, I spotted a familiar orange, rectangular package on a shelf marked “special orders.” Subconsciously, my brain forced me to stop for a closer inspection. To my delight it was indeed a package of Jacob’s cream crackers, all the way from Ireland, beckoning me from their lonely spot on that not-so-popular, strange, foreign foods’ shelf.
And so, I placed them gently in my cart, proud of myself for saving them from Kroger’s unwanted, discarded stack, and all for the bargain price of $1.99.
When I decided to write a blog post about my cracker discovery, I did a little internet research on the history of cream crackers.
I always knew cream crackers were made by Jacob’s bakery in Dublin, but part of me always assumed the recipe originated in England, like so many other Irish foods. To my delight I discovered the cream cracker is a true, Irish original, and an authentic “taste of Ireland”, and “a taste of Dublin” to boot.
Joseph Haughton, a Dublin man, invented the cream cracker in his home. The first crackers were baked commercially by William Jacob around 1885. Ever since, Irish people have been enjoying them served with cheese and other savory or sweet toppings.
Their popularity spread throughout the United Kingdom and as far afield as southeast Asia. Here in America the closest cracker is probably a Matzo.
When you bite a cream cracker a few stray flakes may fall, but they do not crumble into bits like many other appetizer crackers.
They are also perfect for thickening a clam chowder soup.
The ingredients include wheat flour, palm oil, sunflower oil, salt, sodium bicarbonate and yeast. Looks like today’s recipe may still be pretty close to Haughton’s original. I could find no additional artificial anything or hydrogenated oils on the short list of ingredients.
One significant omission for me was no mention of cream to support their famous name. Apparently, the name refers to the method in which the mixture is creamed during the manufacturing process, not an actual ingredient.
And so, when the kids are tucked in bed tonight, I think I’ll pour a glass of cold milk, butter a few cream crackers, adorn them with slices of Dubliner cheese, then savor my truly Irish snack.
Slán agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
P.S. Neither Jacob’s nor Kerrygold have ever heard of me. I just love Irish cream crackers and cheese.