Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Seedy Crackers

Hi there!
I've been making these crackers for a good 4 months now and it seems like I ought to share them; particularly since I took them to every holiday gathering I attended. [Gluten- nut- egg-free things are always popular at parties.] People kept asking for the recipe and now, finally, I'm passing it along to the masses.*  Yes, I realize it's now past the holiday party season, but you can still make these, just for you.  They're an exceptionally flavorful snack all by themselves, but they're also great with cheeses or hummus, or tapenade.  The best thing about these pretty little crackers?  They're even easier to make than my go-to wheat crackers.

I first made them for a meat and cheese picnic because I wanted to have a second type of cracker to compliment with my usual crackers, and came across this recipe from a very nice GF website.  I wasn't actually planning to go sans gluten, but I liked the premise of the recipe.  Once I went gluten-free, though, I decided I may as well go nut-free, and once I started getting seedy, it just made sense to use flax seeds instead of eggs, which makes these babies quite vegan... but they don't taste vegan [if you know what I mean], so they're popular with just about everyone.

Gluten-free things need a little extra help holding things together, which is why the inspiration recipe used egg.  The flax seeds work as an egg substitute because they contain a good bit of mucilage, which is a clear gelling agent found in almost all plants that absorbs water and binds it into "mucilaginous gel."  [Cacti and other succulents have lots of mucilage.] Grinding the flax exposes the mucilage and mixing it with water lets it goop everything together. Fun, huh?

Recipe: Seedy Crackers

The dough is pretty sticky, so you definitely want to roll it between parchment and plastic.  You could omit the sesame seeds entirely, but I think they add interest.  I've also added poppy seeds and mustard seeds and nigella seeds.... just keep the solid-seed content to 1/2 cup.

1 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds [pepitas]
2 Tbs flax seeds
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (divided use)
1/2 cup sesame seeds (white, black or a mix)

Combine pumpkin and flax seeds in a food processor and process to a coarse meal.  Add water and 1/2 tsp kosher salt and continue to process until it forms a uniform, thick paste.  Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F
Stir in sesame seeds.  Divide dough in half and roll each between a piece of parchment paper the size of a cookie sheet and plastic wrap. Roll as thinly as possible; each half should just about fill one cookie sheet. [If you get a hole, just mash it back together and roll over it again.] Use a straightedge and a pizza wheel, pastry cutter or sharp knife to score into squares or rectangles.  Sprinkle each sheet with 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Separate the crackers as soon as  you can handle them.  Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
If any of the center crackers aren't quite crispy, return them to the oven for another 2-4 minutes.  Be sure to check at 2 minutes to make sure they don't get too dark.

Tip: You can buy cheap sesame seeds in much bigger quantities at Indian / South Asian stores.

*I jest. I realize my long absence has probably reduced my readership to single digits... Love you, Mom!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, you're back! Congratulations on the Hybrid and thank you for the new recipe. It looks yummy and I may make it this weekend.