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Can the old trick of putting biscuits (cookies or crackers to Americans) in a plastic bag and hitting them with a rolling pin be improved upon?

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are we talking biscuits, as in the fluffy, flaky southern U.S. food or cookies? –  sarge_smith Jul 26 '10 at 1:02
    
...hard thin northern U.S. food... –  Shog9 Jul 26 '10 at 5:32
    
@sarge_smith: sorry UK english speaker here. Biscuits as in American cookies. –  Tea Drinker Aug 7 '10 at 21:58
    
@knives you yankees just don't understand that those are called crackers :) –  sarge_smith Aug 7 '10 at 22:08
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I'm guessing "when in doubt, C4" doesn't apply here. Unless you're making a lot of crumbs. –  derobert Jan 13 '12 at 17:23
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10 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Generally, I've only heard of the plastic bag or the food processor.

I have seen people who just bash the packet of biscuits on the kitchen top. Jamie Oliver likes to do that with slabs of chocolate!

Otherwise use a heavy duty snack-lock bag or else wrap the plastic bag in a tea towel.

It helps to have a small hole for the air to escape.

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If neither a rolling pin or food processor are available substitute a wine bottle or large can of juice.

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Or a cast-iron fry pan. –  derobert Jan 13 '12 at 17:17
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Has anyone tried this with a wine bottle? I have no idea how likely it is to break... –  Mien Jan 15 '12 at 19:04
    
I have tried it with a wine bottle. Works just fine. (Works great as an impromptu rolling pin for actually rolling doughs, too, if you cleanly remove the label) So long as you're not bashing the thing against the edge of a counter like a maniac, I can't imagine you'd need to worry about breakage. –  heathenJesus Mar 6 '12 at 22:00
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Can the old trick of putting them in a plastic bag and hitting them with a rolling pin be improved upon?

Why? It's quick, easy, and effective. If you're looking to avoid wasting a bag, then the food processor works well enough... But then you have a food processor to clean!

One suggestion: use a heavy rolling pin. I have a marble pin that's too awkward for most pastries, but works great for this: I don't really have to "beat" so much as just drop lightly and then roll...

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I prefer to put them in the food processor and pulse until I get the desired consistency.

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I was making some lemon slice recently, and broke up my Marie biscuits by hand into small pieces and then whizzed them up in a foot processor for a bit. If you don't have a food processor -- maybe try gently breaking them up in a mortar and pestle?

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I think the method can be improved the following ways but I don't have much call for crushed cookies myself, so if any of them don't work please let us know. Anyway, seems that what you need to cruch cookies/biscuits is some sort of crusher, something to prevent crumbs from flying all over your kitchen, and an easy way to transport the results around your work area.

In the original the plastic bag serves the purpose of the crumb catcher. You could use cheesecloth or a clean tea towel as a crumb catcher but those options don't seal and they pose a problem for the transportaion issue so I would say the plastic stays as the best of that part of the equation.

As the crusher, I find a rolling pin to be a poor one. Low curved surface area on your crusher just isn't what your looking for. I would suggest reaching for the best thing for pounding in your kitchen - your cast iron pan. It's heavy and nice and flat with a huge surface area, perfect for all you crushing needs.

Of course, we may not need even that, if your cookies are safely in a bag. You could just slam the bag into the counter top until you're left with the proper consistency. That seems labor intensive though, but maybe theraputic as well.

Also, a food processor like everyone else said is a great option.

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The problem I've encountered using a cast-iron pan is the flat bottom aligning with the flat cookie and cracking but not crushing. Of course, almost anything will eventually produce fine crumbs given enough time and effort - as you note, even just pounding the bag will do. But I like the smooth, curved rolling pin because it rolls - you can get consistency by taking a few passes over the rough-crushed crumbs without missing anything. A grooved (lefse) rolling pin might be an interesting alternative for producing larger but still even crumbs... –  Shog9 Aug 9 '10 at 4:24
    
That makes a lot of sense. I guess it entirely depends on what you need the crumbs for and how even they need to be. I know that when I need bread crumbs I often use the back of my knife to start the crushing action and finish with something heavier, but cookies are so much denser I don't know if that would help at all. –  sarge_smith Aug 9 '10 at 6:36
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I put the biscuits in a bowl, and mash them with a potato masher. It works well.

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I just put them in an air-tight bag and instead of being such a drama queen and bashing the bag, I roll over them with the rolling pin. Quicker, cleaner and much quieter :)

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Other suggestions (mentioned here):

  • Use a potato masher
  • Put them in a bag, then drive over the bag a few times with your car
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Put the cracker in a plastic glove. Then chew the glove with your mouth. The cracker broke into very fine, good looking, pieces.

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This is a bad idea. If you are talking about disposable gloves, those are usually coated with a fine dust to prevent sticking together. It has a latex plastic-y taste and is probably not the best for you. And probably can hold up to your chewing. If its the thick heavy duty rubber gloves... it probably isn't the most sanitary to stick in your mouth... –  Jay Jan 13 '12 at 15:10
    
Unless this was a joke... i can't really tell... –  Jay Jan 13 '12 at 16:51
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