They're easier than you might think. 


Finding the perfect holiday present can involve everything from guesstimating a person’s sweater size to predicting whether a decorative box will align with someone’s personal aesthetic. There's a lot of uncertainty. So this holiday season, go easy on yourself. Give your loved ones something so undeniably good that you won’t have to stress or second guess. Give them food.

No, we’re not suggesting that you wrap a bag of Doritos and tie the package with a bow, though that doesn't sound terrible. We’re suggesting that you make something tasty, beautiful, and handmade. Justin Chapple, Food & Wine's Culinary Director, has a ton of memorable gift ideas. His latest genius creation? DIY Wheat Thins.

On the most recent episode of Mad Genius Tips, Chapple demonstrates how to make the homemade version of the iconic snacking cracker using a combination of whole wheat flour, bread flour, wheat germ, and barley malt. The wheat germ and barley malt syrup add an intense wheat flavor to the dough. Chapple mixes two kinds of flour because he wants to lighten up the whole wheat flour, which is quite dense. The bread flour adds a necessary lightness to the texture.

Of course, Chapple has a few nifty Mad Genius Tips for making this recipe:

1. Before measuring out the barley malt syrup, coat the measuring spoon—on both sides!—with nonstick cooking spray. This way, instead of adhering to the spoon, the sticky syrup will slide right off, into the mixing bowl.

2. To help roll out the cracker dough as thinly as possible, stack three to four rubber bands (the kind that hold vegetables together at the grocery store) on both ends of your rolling pin. Roll and re-roll the dough until you feel the rubber bands hit the table top—that’s how you know when you’re done.

3. When cutting, Chapple recommends using a ruler and a pizza cutter, using the ruler as a straight-edge along the dough while cutting a successive line with the pizza cutter. Then, use the ruler and the cutter in the opposite direction to form squares.

Whether you wrap them as a gift or snack on them right from the baking sheet, these DIY Wheat Thins are sure to please. As Chapple says, “They’re thin, they’re crisp, and they're mad genius.”