Seed and Nut Crackers

Serve with toppings

As I don’t eat much bread, I like to have savoury biscuits on hand for a quick meal or snack – it’s so easy to grab a few and throw something yummy on them.

If you’ve never taken the time to read the ingredients of mass-produced, shop-bought savoury (or sweet) biscuits though, I really recommend you do so. If you’re anything like me and/or even vaguely health-conscious, you’ll probably be horrified by what’s in them.

So I decided to come up with my own variation of savoury biscuits, made entirely of healthy ingredients – seeds, nuts and herbs. This recipe is a combination of several versions I came across when I was researching how to go about it, and I personally love it. It’s high in nutrients and fibre, with no gluten in sight. The biscuits feel like clean food when you’re eating them and in my humble opinion, they taste better than shop-bought.

The recipe is very versatile as you can use any herbs and in fact also vary the proportions of seeds and nuts, although I’ve found these quantities work quite well. If you prefer not to use eggs, you can use apple purée instead to help bind it together.

The process does require a few pieces of equipment and if you have the real thing, great. You will definitely need something to grind the seeds and nuts with – either a grinder or a strong blender, unless you want to go about it the old-fashioned way and use a mortar and pestle, in which case you’ll need a fair amount of elbow grease. If you don’t have a rolling pin though, you can use any strong bottle with flat sides.

A silicon mat is really first prize for the rolling part of the proceedings, and if you have two of them, even better – then you can use them on the top and bottom. If you only have one silicon mat though, that’s fine as you can use wax paper for the second layer.

If you don’t have a silicon mat at all, you might be able to get away with a double or triple layer of wax paper on the bottom, but I can’t vouch for the results as you might have some difficulty transferring the dough to the baking tray.

I’ve had people try them plain and really enjoy them but I personally like them with different toppings. You can use anything that takes your fancy, savoury or sweet – the only limit is your imagination!

Ingredients

  • ½c raw almonds
  • 1c raw sunflower seeds
  • ½c flax seeds
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg or 1 apple
  • 1-2T olive oil
  • Dash of water
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (optional)
  • Fresh herbs like chives, rosemary or thyme (optional)
  • Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

Method

Prepare a large baking tray by cutting a piece of baking paper to fit it (note that baking paper is not the same thing as wax/grease-proof paper). Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.

Grind up the almonds, sunflower seeds and flax seeds in a grinder until they are mostly well ground, with a few nubbly bits left.

Grinding almonds

Ground almonds

If you have a small grinder, you may need to do them a bit at a time (hint: the flax seeds take the most grinding, so do the others first).

Grinding flax seeds

Ground flax seeds

Put all the ground seeds in a bowl and add the salt and herbs, if you’re using them.

Ground seeds, herbs and salt

Mix it all together.

Mix seeds, herbs and salt

If you’re using an egg, whisk it.

Whisked egg

If you’re using an apple, peel and chop it up into chunks, along with the garlic.

Peel and roughly chop apple and garlic

Then put the apple and garlic into the grinder/blender and whizz them until they reach purée stage (you may need to add a dash of water).

Apple and garlic in blender

Pureed apple and garlic

Add the egg and chopped garlic, or the apple and garlic puree, to the seeds along with the olive oil and mix well. You may need to add a bit more olive oil or a dash of water here too to get it to form a soft but workable dough.

Add egg (or apple)

Soft dough forming

Once you have an approximate ball of dough, divide it in half. Lay down a silicon sheet and put half the dough on it.

Put half the dough on the silicon sheet

Push it together and down with the heel of your hand.

Push dough down with the heel of your hand

Cut a piece of wax paper to the approximate size of the silicon sheet, and lay it on top of the dough, wax side down.

Cover with a piece of wax paper

Using a rolling pin, very gently roll the dough flat to a thickness of about 2 – 3mm all over. Carefully peel off the wax paper.

Rolled dough once wax paper is removed

Carefully flip the silicon mat with the dough upside down onto the tray with the baking paper (if shouldn’t fall off). Using a knife if necessary, gently ease the silicon mat away from the dough.

Ease silicon mat away from dough

Now roll out the other half of the dough in the same way, trying to roll it to a shape that will fit on the remaining space on the baking tray if possible. You can use the same wax paper again on top, just watch it carefully as it sometimes tears a bit on the second usage and needs very careful peeling away.

Both halves rolled

Once you’ve transferred the second lot of dough to the baking tray, sprinkle with seeds if you’re using them and press them slightly into the dough. Cut the dough into squares or rectangles.

Sprinkle with seeds and cut up

Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until the dough is starting to looked toasted underneath, then use a spatula to lift the pieces onto a rack on a baking tray. Return to the oven to allow the crackers to dry out further.

Lift squares onto a rack

Bake another 10 – 15 minutes until the crackers are crisp (break one to test it), then remove from the oven. Cool on the rack and when the pieces are completely cool, store them in an airtight tin.

Serve with:

  • Chicken liver paté
  • Guacamole (mashed avocado)
  • Cheese and marmite
  • Butter and honey
  • Cream cheese and roasted veg or sun-dried tomatoes
  • Hummous and roasted veg
  • Cream cheese and smoked salmon

 

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© Alexandra Lawrence and Inspired Nourishment, 2014

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