12.22.15 Christmas Crackers (& A Caramels Giveaway!)

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photos by gluttonforlife

A recipe for crackers and a giveaway of my coveted caramels (vanilla and chocolate chile)—a humble offering from me to you this holiday season. Just leave a comment here by midnight on December 26th, telling me what you love best about the holidays, and you'll be in the running for a bag of these sweet treats.

Nuts 790 xxx
health nuts

The crackers are crisp, savory and addictive, tinged with rosemary and the sharp bite of red chile. This recipe is an incredibly versatile combination of gluten-free flours that lets you tinker with the ratios and the ingredients. The sweet spot for me is 1/4 buckwheat flour, 1/2 nut flour and 1/4 something else, like a gluten-free mix or oat flour. For the nut flour, I have tried almond, walnut and pecan, all with excellent results.

Flour 790 xxx
daily grind

You can make your own nut flour by simply grinding nuts in the food processor. I have a special "grains container" for my Vitamix but it's not essential. Just don't process so finely that you end up with nut butter.

Dough 790 xxx
i knead this

I fear dough. But this one is very easy and manageable. Plus, you roll it out between parchment, so there's no issue with sticking. Nothing fussy going on here!

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raw talent

After rolling out the dough (I use a French pin like this one), it gets scored, pricked with a fork, lightly brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with crushed red chile and flaky sea salt. You can ad lib here, too. Try brushing on a little melted ghee or butter and scattering seeds or herbs on top.

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crunch time

The crackers are golden and crunchy after baking and separate easily. These pointy shards are excellent for dips but rather than rolling them out in a circle and cutting wedges, you could make squares, rectangles or freeform shapes. Go wild.

Mold 790 xxx
got wood?

I've never before found a use for this intriguing woodgrain silicone baking thing I bought years ago, but I was inspired to press it into the top of the dough.

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get baked

The result was this subtle pattern. (Hey, it's no bûche de Noël but so what?!) I hope you give these crackers a whirl and find them as essential as I do. I've made a batch every week since I came up with the recipe. They are delicious with everything, from pork rillettes and triple crème cheese to salmon mousse and beet-feta dip. Consider them my gift to you.

 

And with that, I offer you my warmest wishes for a peaceful holiday. Remember to shun perfectionism in favor of an easy simplicity. This time is for you, for whatever you need it to be, whether that's quiet reflection or raucous partying—or both. It was a banner year and there are mountains yet to be climbed, so fortify yourself for what lies ahead. Thank you, as always, for sharing this space with me and for the indispenable support that a reader bestows upon the solitary writer. I send you courage, grace and all the love in my heart. xo

 

Buckwheat Crackers

makes about 24 crackers
  • — 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • — 1/2 cup oat flour, or gluten-free flour
  • — 1 cup almond flour, or other nut flour
  • — 1 tablespoon coarsely ground flax seed
  • — 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • — Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • — 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary
  • — 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • — 100ml water
  • — Red chile flakes
  • — Flaky sea salt, like Maldon

Preheat the oven to 400°F and take out 2 baking sheets.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, flaxseed, sea salt, black pepper and chopped rosemary.

In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil and water. Add it to the dry ingredients.

Bring together into a dough and transfer to a flat surface. Knead until smooth, not sticky or too dry. Add a little additional water or flour as needed. Separate the dough into 2 balls.

Place one ball between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out very thinly, but not paper-thin.

Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil and scatter a few red chile flakes and flaky salt. Cut into wedges and prick each one several times with a fork. Keep dough on the bottom layer of paper and transfer the whole thing to a baking tray.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven and cool before breaking apart.

Repeat with remaining dough.

Crackers can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

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18 Comments

Great posting. Thanks!
Cecil Brown on December 22, 2015 at 9:23 am — Reply
A new recipe to try. Spending time with family, is what I most love about christmas. Hope you have a great holiday too, Laura!
Jack on December 22, 2015 at 9:38 am — Reply
Family is what I love most about the holidays. We have our first grandchild and that really brings the joy to Christmas!
Una on December 22, 2015 at 9:38 am — Reply
Definitely will try making these crackers for New Years Eve! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Wishing you Happy Holidays! As a total foodie....gotta say my favorite part of the holidays is the food and sharing it with friends and family.
Karen on December 22, 2015 at 9:53 am — Reply
Keeping family traditions with my kids is my favorite part of the holidays, although there are a whole lot of other things to love too!
Autumn on December 22, 2015 at 10:00 am — Reply
Have a great holiday! The solstice, the days start getting longer again.start fresh into the new year! 2016 a great year for women!
trixx on December 22, 2015 at 10:04 am — Reply
I love the now lengthening of the days ...and BAKING! must try the crackers ..
Karen O on December 22, 2015 at 10:23 am — Reply
Thanks for this - the crackers look crisply delicious! Christmas is about giving generously without expecting in return. Much like blogging. What you give is what you get. Thanks for sharing so generously, and here's to a New Year filled with warmth, love, health, prosperity and sharing of the gifts we have for those around us!
Rob on December 22, 2015 at 10:57 am — Reply
Being with family. My brother and his wife live in Seattle and I live on the East Coast so it's the one time of the year we make time to get together!
Mary on December 22, 2015 at 11:05 am — Reply
It's impossible to find a simple cracker without all the unnecessary sugars and additives. I agree with you keep it simple and not so elaborate and everything will fit into place. I may just have to start with making my own crackers as part of a holiday tradition so that we have something to munch on while we decorate the tree.
thefolia on December 22, 2015 at 11:45 am — Reply
I was hoping you would share that recipe! Holidays are for sharing with family and friends all the bounty of my harvest with homemade goodies!
Diane on December 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm — Reply
Oddly enough, what led me to this post (and one of the things I enjoy about the holidays) are Christmas Crackers. But not the kind you make, the kind you pop, that are filled with hats and toys and candy. It is not really an American tradition, but one I picked up in England. I'll also try your version of Christmas Crackers!
Kym on December 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm — Reply
Lovely sentiments, Laura. Your writing is such a pleasure to read. I have no particular attachment to the holiday I grew up celebrating, but I have come to enjoy the traditions that mean a lot to my plus one in this mixed marriage. And both his and my holidays have come to be very important to our daughter, who is about to arrive to celebrate with us--she was overseas last year at this time. I do enjoy shopping for presents for the people I love, and watching them open them on Christmas morning.
zora on December 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm — Reply
Remember and reset for the future.
John Christopher on December 22, 2015 at 1:15 pm — Reply
The best part about the holidays is making lots of snacks and all the family and loved ones who spend time together!
Ali on December 22, 2015 at 6:23 pm — Reply
My family of twelve, across three generations, gathers in one place, from our various homes across the country. It's the best time of year, because we can all be together again - siblings, cousins, children, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Who could ask for more?
George Gensler on December 22, 2015 at 7:29 pm — Reply
My favorite part of the holidays is making wishes come true. I also love traditional holiday treats. And I have to watch the Peanuts cartoons. It's nice to get together with friends and family that we don't spend nearly enough time with.
Candy on December 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm — Reply
Treats! Time to chill! EAsy living!
Nan on December 23, 2015 at 9:19 pm — Reply