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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Homemade Grain Free Crackers Recipe- Seed or Nut Based- Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free

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Almond based crackers, with onion topping
I must admit, I'm not the most "professional" food blogger. While I really like many recipes that I share here, some of them being staples in my house... some of my recipes aren't things I make all the time- some of them I've only ever made once. I share them because people ask me for the recipes even after the first time, and since I know that unless I write it down to immortalize it, there is a high likelihood that I'll never remember to make that dish again, let alone how I made it exactly... so I write it down as I am making it, and if it comes out great I share it, and if not, I either make notes for the next time, how to adjust it, or I just trash the recipe.

Then there's recipes like this. Recipes that I haven't just made once, but actually have made many, many times, trying endless variations to see what works best, what the different possible ways to make it are, etc...  
And then when I share it at long last, I feel like I'm sharing a masterpiece, because I know this recipe is absolutely ah-may-zing!

I made these crackers for an event where I needed to make for the masses- so many many people have a chance to sample these, and I got rave reviews. Quite a few people told me I should sell them, and I'm trying to decide if my arms are strong enough to make these in large enough quantities to sell (last time I made a quadruple batch, my arms were sore for the next few days from all the rolling).

So... now what exactly are these?

Grain free crackers.

Well, they can be grain free but don't have to be- I've made these with endless variations, and one of the alternatives is with buckwheat flour, and I'm sure it would work with wheat flour as well...
I based mine off this recipe that I found, but as you can see, I changed it a lot.

So, before I get to the specifics of the recipe, let me explain the various ways I made this:
You start off with 1 cup of ground nut or seed meal. I made it first a few times with ground sunflower seeds, then made it once with almond meal and once with peanut meal. Why all these variations? Because as much as sunflower seeds are the cheapest "nut" round these parts, too many of them give me a stomach ache so I won't be making them much with sunflower seeds. Almond meal is more expensive than sunflower seeds, but the taste of the crackers is pretty much identical... almost cheesy, to be honest.
Peanuts are another cheap option for "nuts" here, and they work well in this recipe, but the taste isn't as good as the sunflower or almond meal- they don't have that cheesiness. Don't get me wrong- they aren't bad at all with peanuts- just if I had to choose between the three for taste reasons alone, I'd chose the other, but peanuts are a great option for this recipe. I haven't tried with cashews or other nuts, but I'm pretty sure they'd work well as well.
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Sunflower seed crackers with poppy seed,
sesame seed, onion, and garlic toppings

Ok, so you start off with the nut/seed meal, then according to the original recipe you're supposed to add chia seeds. But chia seeds are expensive round these parts, and I knew that chia seeds' mucilaginous property allows them to work as an egg replacement, the same way flax seeds work as an egg replacement, so I decided to make these with ground flax seeds instead of the chia- and they worked beautifully. But you can use chia seeds if you don't want to use flax.
However...
The last time I made these crackers, I accidentally left out the ground flax seeds. Whoops! Well, I actually chanced upon a cool discovery- they work fine without the flax seeds or the chia seeds! They just ended up a bit wetter so I used more flour, but hey- if you can't use either seeds, there's no problem- just add more flour!

Now, on to the flour. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup tapioca starch, but potato starch is cheaper round these parts, so I decided to use that instead of tapioca starch- works just as well. You can also use corn starch.
However, since these starches are pretty much empty calories, I decided to see if I could make it with a mix of green buckwheat flour and potato starch instead of pure starch- and yes, that also worked well- I just used 1/3 cup of each, not just the 1/2 cup that I'd used if I were using only starch. I haven't tried it with other gluten free flour mixes but I'm sure they'd work as well, and if gluten isn't an issue for you, I'm sure you can use 1/2-2/3 cup wheat flour in this recipe.
Just note- remember where I said above that I left out the flax seeds by accident? When I did that, I used 2/3 cup potato starch, not just 1/2.

Basically- the rule is this- add your liquid and flax/chia if using to the nut meal, then add your flours/starches/whatever, a little bit at a time until perfect. If its too wet, add more flour, and if you end up adding too much flour and it's too dry- add a bit more water, no problem.

And then toppings!

Passover is coming up, and if you celebrate the holiday, this recipe is a great Passover friendly recipe.

Homemade Grain Free Crackers Recipe- Seed or Nut Based- Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free

Ingredients:
1 cup ground seed/nut meal (sunflower seed meal, almond meal, peanut meal, etc...)
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds or chia seeds (optional)
1/2 cup-2/3 cup potato starch or tapioca starch (more if not using the flax or chia seeds) OR 1/3 cup potato starch plus 1/3 cup green buckwheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon vinegar- I used apple cider vinegar or kombucha vinegar, but any is fine
2 tablespoons water
Toppings- I used any or a combination of the following: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, onion flakes, freshly ground black pepper, etc... Feel free to experiment- I am going to try these with zaatar spice mix next, as well as shawarma spice mix, tomato skin spice mix, and taco seasoning. Think about what flavor crackers you enjoy best, and mix and match, trying to recreate that.

Instructions:
1. If you have a spice grinder, grind your nuts/seeds until they are pretty fine. If you don't have a spice grinder, supposedly you can use a food processor or blender for this, however, my food processor won't blend nuts unless you have a really large amount, so, bear that in mind. You may be able to use store bought ground nut meal but I haven't checked yet.

2. Add the water, vinegar, salt, and baking powder. Mix well.

3. Add the flax (or chia) seeds if using. Mix well.

4. Add the flour, a little bit at a time, until fully combined and you have a nice workable dough. If you see that it is too wet, add more flour. If you see that it is too dry, add more water.

5. Take the dough and divide it in half. This step is important and it is one that I did not realize until after I made a few batches. You want to roll the dough as thinly as possible, and if you try to roll out the entire batch in one go it'll be very hard to get it thin enough, and you won't even realize that it isn't thin enough until you take it out of the oven and see how thick your crackers are. So, trust me on this one- divide the dough in half first- it's much easier to roll it out that way.

6. Take two pieces of parchment paper and put half the dough between the two. Roll the dough out very very thinly- even if you think it is thin enough, it probably won't be so thin.
And then once you got it thin enough, start from the middle again and roll outward- you probably can still make it thinner.
Don't worry- if you can't get it super thin that is ok, it just tastes better, and is crispier if it is super thin, but if not, it also is good. (If you want to compare- the top two pictures were taken before I rolled them out thin enough- see how thick they are? and the bottom picture is taken with crackers I was able to roll out more thinly because I divided the dough in half.)

7. Take off the top piece of parchment paper, sprinkle the dough with your toppings, return the parchment paper, and roll again, embedding the toppings into the crackers. Then remove the parchment paper.

8. Using a pizza cutter (or a knife, but pizza cutter works better) cut your crackers into pieces- you can make them into squares, smaller rectangles, larger rectangles, thin and long rectangles, etc...

9. Put your sheet of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a cookie tray, then put them in the oven at 350 until it starts to brown (or change color- if you use peanuts it'll be brown to begin with, so you just want to wait until it turns darker). Depending on how thin or thick you rolled it, this can take anywhere from 5-12 minutes per batch.

10. Do steps 6-9 again with the other half of the dough.

11. Let them cool down before serving.

12. Eat plain, with spreads, or dipped into dips like hummus.

Enjoy!

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Peanut based crackers with sesame seeds and poppy seeds, with lacto-fermented sprouted hummus.

Ever made homemade crackers? How about homemade grain free crackers? Ever eaten grain free crackers? What is your favorite flavor of toppings for crackers?
Does this look like a recipe you'd make? If so, which variation would you use? 

5 comments:

  1. These look really good and professional--doubt that I will actually make them as I don't feel ambitious enough.

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  2. Have you tried using your pasta roller to roll out the crackers?

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    Replies
    1. I haven't tried because the dough isn't really firm/strong enough.... But I was thinking about a tortilla press.

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  3. Sounds yummy! It looks like it would make a great snack and my kids are always hungry for snacks. :-)

    ReplyDelete

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