Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Success is... a crispy, healthy, gluten free cracker

Did I mention these crackers are vegan too?

It’s interesting how when the balance within the body shifts, our cravings shift. I have always been a craver of sweet things, not salty things. My sister was the one who craved salty snacks, like potato chips. Not me, no ma’am. Give me cookies or give me nothing.

But lately, I have been wanting something salty and crispy to snack on. I really believe it is because the balance of everything in my body has shifted; similar to how pregnancy can alter a woman’s cravings, I believe that the shift I have created in my body as a result of the healing process has somehow changed my cravings. Oh, I still crave sweets, don’t get me wrong (just see my post on ice cream, for example), but just not as much as I used to.

Since the gluten free cracker options available to purchase ready-made are pretty devoid of any nutrition and some contain soy, dairy, potato starch and other ingredients I am working to avoid (and, not to mention outrageously expensive), I was determined to create a recipe for some relatively healthy gluten-free crackers.

This was met with some trial and error.

I began searching the internet for recipes, both gluten free versions and gluteny versions. I found none which suited my purpose (many called for yeast, for example), but I used them as templates.

My first attempt came out way too bread-like and with an unfortunate flavor. My second attempt came out with a delicious flavor, but still too bread-like. My third attempt (like Goldilocks) seemed to be juuust riiiight.

And, I think it might be thanks to Zora’s help!

I used sorghum flour, almond flour, and ground flax to add some fiber, protein, and other nutrients. This is the basic recipe, but feel free to add sesame seeds, herbs and spices, and anything else you want to make your crackers yours!

Crispy Gluten-free Crackers:

½ cup sorghum flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

¼ cup almond flour

¼ cup ground flax, soaked in ¼ cup warm water for about 5-10 minutes

1 teaspoon coarsely ground sea salt (I used a mortar and pestle to crush the large granules I have on hand)

2 teaspoons grapeseed or olive oil*

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Roughly 2 tablespoons warm water

Mix together the flours and the sea salt, blending well. Add the flax mixture, apple cider vinegar, and the oil and begin mixing. Mix until a course, pebbled mixture forms. Add the warm water, a small bit at a time, just until the dough comes together. Knead the dough in your hands until the dough is even textured and shape into a ball. The dough should be moist, but not sticky. If it is too sticky, add more flour.

Place half of the dough on a parchment-paper covered cookie sheet. Flatten the dough with your hands a bit and place another sheet of parchment paper on top.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough so that it covers the entire sheet. Roll it out paper thin. And I mean paper thin. Carefully peel off top sheet of parchment paper. Either use a knife to cut the crackers into squares or wait until they are cooked to break them into irregular pieces.

Bake at 400F for about 15 minutes, until the crackers turn golden brown and crispy.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Store completely cooled crackers in an air-tight container or plastic bag. They will probably stay fresh for about a week, but I have never had them last that long! I usually eat them all up by then!


*the oil really flavors these crackers, so use an oil you like the flavor of.


glutenfreeforgood said...

Lauren — these crackers look awesome! I know what you mean about wanting something crunchy and crispy. I've made gluten-free graham crackers before, but I'm not sure it was worth the effort. :-)
Your recipe looks a bit more doable. Thanks!

Rachel said...

Lauren, I tried a variant of these gf crackers and they were a hit with my family. No leftovers. I blogged about it on the Crispy Cook if you care to see how I tinkered with your original recipe. Thanks for posting it.

cab said...

Looking forward to trying these. I really miss Potato Soup with Saltines. Thanks

I have some GF recipes on my site and more to come.

Anonymous said...

Is there another flour that could be used in place of almond flour because I am extremely allergic to almonds?

Thanks! I'm so excited to find your cracker recipe. I can't remember when I last had a cracker. :)

Lauren Denneson said...

I am not sure what to substitute for the almond flour... are you allergic to all nuts? if you aren't I would suggest another nut flour, such as hazelnut. Coconut flour might work too, and will add a bit of sweetness.

The Gluten-free 'Dish' said...

I just found your blog and look forward to reading more in the future. Thanks for the recipe.

Kim said...

Wow, these look fantastic! I've been trying cracker recipes with varying degrees of failure and success too - these look too good to be true! Since I'm allergic to all the tree nuts except cashews (weird), I'll probably try using ground cashew meal or ground sunflower or pumpkin seeds instead of almond meal. thanks for sharing - I just came across your website, I don't know how I never had seen it before, since I'm a big GF blog follower and a blogger myself! I love your cooking style and your recipes look fantastic; I'm excited to try them out!

Kim -

Kennedy said...

hello, can anyone suggest a gluten-free cracker recipe without a nut flour? we recently realized that my boyfriend is allergic to gluten, but we live in peru and we can't get most alternative flours here, and definitely not nut flours. what qualities does the nut flour have that i would need to look for?

we have quinoa, amaranth, corn and tapioca flour, and i use lots of oats as well to subsitute. we have been able to bring xantham gum from the states.

gracias for your help :)

Lauren Denneson said...

Hi Kennedy,
thanks for your question! I have had other readers suggest ground sunflower or pumpkin seeds (which you can do yourself if you have a blender) - see the comment above yours. The nut flour definitely adds flavor and texture. I would go for something you like the flavor of and perhaps add a teeny bit more oil (since nuts also add fat). If I only had your list of flours to choose from, I'd use 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/4 cup tapioca, and 1/4 cup amaranth. I'd flavor the crackers with rosemary or something to hide the bitterness of the quinoa. I would try an egg in place of the flax and adjust the moisture content by maybe adding more tapioca flour if needed. Maybe some other readers have other advice?
Good luck! and, let us know what you find out!

Anonymous said...

OH WOW... I just made these and can honestly say YUMMY!!!! Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe. :) I think the next time I make these (because there certainly will be several next times!) I will cut back to 3/4 tsp of salt. Amazing crackers... I can't wait to play more with this recipe!

Nikki said...

I can't wait to try these! I was wondering if you could offer some advice for alternative flours. I am trying to shift to a more alkaline diet so sorghum and tapioca don't fit in so well. Also, I'm generally trying to avoid flax seeds due to rumored bad things about them. Options I have are: almond, amaranth, buckwheat, coconut, garbanzo beans, millet, mung beans, pumpkin, quinoa, sesame, soy (trying to keep to a minimum) and sunflower. There are many lists, some with conflicting info, I got these from here:

I fully intended to add chopped sunflower and pumpkin seeds because we love those! Thanks!

Lauren Denneson said...

Nikki - that is a puzzle. I would say that your best bet is to use some combination of almond flour and quinoa flour... I haven't done that much experimenting with these. However, I would check out Karina's kitchen and Elana's pantry (I link to both of these wonderful gluten free cooks on my site) for their versions of crackers. I don't know how crispy they are, but I remember they use mostly almond flour in their crackers. Hope it works!!

cindigo said...

Thanks so much for this. I was on another site and made the recipe with my own gluten free spin before I found yours. The first batch is in the oven, and we'll see how well my creativity did in about 20 minutes.

Yours look amazing and I can't wait to try them. I was really gluten free for a long time and felt great. Over the past year I've been back sliding and this week, I'm back on the wagon and feeling much better.

I bought some wheat free crackers at Whole Foods. $8 for a tiny bag. The crackers in your picture look exactly the same!


Anonymous said...

Your cracker recipe sounds really good. But, I have to add, anyone with a cat in the house, has to be a really nice person!! What a cutie!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this recipe. I love, love it! Added some cracked pepper to one batch and some herbs to another. Fantastic.

Natural Chef Lisa Barnes said...

I just made these and they were pretty good! I think the trick is to roll them SUPER thin, because the crispier the better for sure. The middle ones I broke, flipped and stuck back in to toast for another 5 minutes, and that helped. Next time I would add some fresh herbs and lemon zest I think....

Janelle said...

I just made them--they are WONDERFUL!!!!!!! I followed your recipe exactly with the addition of 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and a light sprinkling of sea salt on the top. Mmmmmmm. I will be making these again soon!

Anonymous said...

These are really good.........wonder if they are all going to make it to the party???

Anonymous said...

I just made them and they were delish. so far we can't stop dipping them in our hummus!