Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oat-Anything Crackers

Yesterday was a complete baking disaster. I found a recipe for a pomegranate pound cake that sounded (in theory) delicious. It had lime zest, vanilla, and pomegranate combined in what sounded like a wonderful summer cake. I have now discovered the awful texture that pomegranates create in baking. If I really thought about it, I would have realized this before baking, but I was too excited to try out the new recipe. Moral of the story: those really hard little seeds in each pomegranate bite means you have horrible, hard, unappetizing morsels throughout your cake. Lesson learned, I think I'll stick with using just the juice from now on.

This morning was a different story in the baking world. My friend sent me a link to a Heidi Sawnson oatmeal cracker recipe that sounded, and looked, so good. And, surprise, surprise, I couldn't find dark rye flour in the regular grocery store or the health/natural food store. So I got home and did a quick search to see if there was another type of cracker that might do that trick. All I can say is YUM! I found a recipe for an oat cracker (not quite oatmeal, but close) that was easy to make, easy to adjust to your flavor preferences, and perfectly crunchy. The basic recipe only calls for 5 ingredients, which you most likely have at home right now. I added some poppy seeds and dried rosemary to pack in more flavor (how can you resist a homemade rosemary cracker).

You could pretty much add any flavor combination you'd like to these crackers. If you're unsure of what flavors work well with crackers, this link is a great basic guideline for what spices/herbs compliment different foods. Just look in the bread section and it will probably work well in a cracker. These crackers make a wonderful snacking cracker, but aren't really strong enough for dipping anything chunky. I spooned some macadamia pesto (sadly not homemade) on top and had my first round of lunch at 11 this morning.

My suggestions for making these crackers is to make sure the crackers have a golden look once they're baked. Golden means they'll be really crispy. I got impatient with a few and took them out a little too early and they lost their crunch once they cooled. The original recipe calls for a 20 minute bake time, but mine took 35. Also, if you're having a hard time blending everything into a fine, powdery consistency, keep scraping down the sides of your blender. I even ended up moving the whole blender in different angles to get as many of the oats and nuts ground up.  

Adapted from
Makes about 50 crackers (think wheat thins size)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: up to 35 minutes

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional and interchangeable)
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, chopped (optional and interchangeable)

Preheat oven to 325°F/160°C. Grease two baking sheets well, or place parchment paper on baking sheets and coat with cooking spray. Combine the walnuts, oats, salt and baking powder in a blender and blend until they are the consistency of cornmeal. Don't forget to make sure the sides and bottom are also getting ground up. Stir in the milk, rosemary and poppy seeds. Using a spatula or frosting knife, thinly and evenly spread this mixture onto the baking sheets.

Begin baking process. Ten minutes into baking, take the baking sheet out of the oven and score the dough into the shapes you'd like your crackers to be. Put back in oven and continue to bake until golden. If the crackers on the outside brown quick, take them out and keep baking the rest.
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