Saturday, April 19, 2014

Orange-Kissed Seed Crackers

Do you own more cookbooks than you can possibly cook your way through in this lifetime?  I have a large bookshelf devoted entirely to cookbooks, and due to space limitations, I treat myself to a new book only once a year or so. I recently bought Vegetarian Everyday solely for their Orange-Kissed Seed Crackers, a recipe definitely worth breaking my moratorium on cookbook purchases.

These seeded beauties satisfy my cravings for salty crunchy snacks, not to mention that they’re rich in protein AND are gluten-free too.  Even if you binge on these, you’ll still feel more energetic and won't suffer carb-coma as you might after gorging on a big bag of potato chips or a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers.  (Not that I would know anything about that, ahem…)

I’d never made crackers before, but these couldn't be easier.  If you are also a cracker-making novice, here’s the perfect way to start. 

The recipe is flexible with the variety of seeds you choose.  Sunflower seeds always make me happy, as do a combo of white and black sesame seeds.  Ground flax seeds add antioxidants and omega-3s.  (Why not?)  Almond flour and sea salt round out the mixture.

Olive oil and water bind the mosaic of seeds into a loose batter that will spread out thinly on baking sheets.

Halfway through the baking time, the crackers are brushed with an orange-honey glaze and sprinkled with more toasty seeds before a second stint in the oven.  I love the recipe’s description of “orange-kissed”, as they have just a hint of citrus smiling upon them.  

The challenge is waiting for them to cool once they’re out of the oven, but you’ll be rewarded for your patience once you bite into these shatteringly crisp and toasty delights.  And if you’re feeling particularly generous and can bear to part with a few, these seeded crackers lend themselves well to being wrapped in festive packaging and given as a wonderful hostess gift, which was how they were originally introduced to me.  (Thank you, Lorra!)  I assure you, your gift recipient will be most appreciative! 

One Year Ago: Minted Sweet Pea Mash
Two Years Ago: A Spring Top Ten List
Three Years Ago: Esalen Kale Salad
Four Years Ago: Asparagus Pasta

Slightly adapted from a recipe in Vegetarian Everyday: Healthy Recipes From Our Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl

The original recipe calls for equal measures of sunflower, sesame and hemp seeds, but since I didn’t find hemp seeds easily, I’ve amped up the quantity of the other seeds.  I threw a few black sesame seeds into the mix for a bit of extra color, but you can use all white sesame seeds if that’s easier. You can use amaranth or quinoa flour if you prefer to make a nut-free version. 

¾ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup white sesame seeds
¼ cup black sesame seeds
1/3 cup flax seeds, ground
1 scant cup ground almond meal (or amaranth flour or quinoa flour)
1-½ teaspoons sea salt
¼ cup olive oil
1-¼ cup water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat the oven to 300°F.  Line two rimmed baking trays with parchment paper or non-stick baking mats.

Combine all the seeds together in a large mixing bowl.  Scoop out about a half-cup of the seeds into a small bowl, reserving to sprinkle on top of the crackers.

Add the almond meal, salt, olive oil and water, stirring to combine thoroughly.  The batter will be very thin.

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared baking sheets, using an offset spatula or a table knife to spread into a very thin rectangle on each sheet, approximately 12” x 14”.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the fresh orange juice and honey in a small bowl to make a glaze.  (I warmed the honey a little to help it blend with the orange juice.)

Remove the baking trays from the oven.  Brush the orange glaze evenly over the two rectangles and sprinkle with the reserved seeds.  Use a thin sharp knife or a pizza cutter to carefully cut the crackers into 2-inch squares.  Return to the oven and continue to bake for 30 minutes until the crackers are crisp.

Let the crackers cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes approximately 30 large crackers.

1 comment:

Kasia S. said...

Looks so healthy and yummy.. I also try to go through my cookbooks, so many hidden gems on those pages!