12.22.15 Christmas Crackers (& A Caramels Giveaway!)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- — 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.