Grain-free crackers

November 29, 2011 · 6 comments

crackers

I’ve been grain- (and mostly dairy-) free for about a month now, and have not yet died of starvation. I consider this a win.

I know, I know. First-world problems, right? Because I’m not really starving. It just feels like it some days — and it’s not like I’m that limited in what I can eat. It’s more the fact that I can’t rely on so many things that I’ve historically used as quick hunger-quenchers — those things that you just grab and snack on to quiet your belly until you can eat a proper meal. As a mother of small children, this list of things historically included:

  • crust cut off lunch sandwiches
  • crumbs from bowls of snack crackers
  • an extra piece of cheese that won’t fit onto the bread for kids’ grilled sandwich
  • the occasional chocolate sandwich cookie, eaten while kids aren’t looking

Looking at that list, I see that I’ve been functioning as nothing more than a glorified human dust-buster for my kids’ meal time messes (I’ll call it multi-tasking). You’ll notice that none of these things are inherently unhealthy (a question mark looming over the cookie)  — they are just off-limits for me right now, with all of their grain-y-ness. Which often leaves me in that dreaded position of standing in front of an open refrigerator, wishing something edible and GAPS-friendly would materialize before my eyes. Something other than butternut squash.

If I had to make a list of things I missed, things that caused me to physically ache in my abstinence — perched high upon a glowing pinnacle would be homemade pizza. I’m still making it every Saturday night for my family, and darnit if it doesn’t kill me just about every week, not to be able to eat it.

But second on that list might be crackers. It’s not that I’ve historically eaten vast quantities of them, it’s just a thing that, when you want one, there’s little that can replace it. I can’t satisfy my need for salty crunch with yet another hard-boiled egg. When you want a cracker, only a cracker will do. And while fake pizza crust is something that will never satisfy my need — a grain-free cracker is something I can make with believability.

I went through a few recipes for nut/seed varieties before finding one I liked. Many recipes call for mostly seeds — but I only like seeds in very small amounts. So I went heavy on nuts instead, and added a little extra salt, and lo and behold, we had a winner. I’ve enjoyed them so much, topped with everything from cheese (cheating! and I regretted it!) to peanut butter to our beloved Almond-Tomato Spread. They are so good, and so much better than my previous grain-based attempts at homemade crackers, I’ll likely keep them around, even after these long, dark days of avoidance are past.

 

Recipe: Grain-free Nut & Seed Crackers

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups nuts and seeds (I used about a 2-cup combo of walnuts & almonds, plus 1/2 cup combo of sunflower & sesame seeds — all should be either raw or pre-soaked & dehydrated)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbps water, as needed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º, and have two baking sheets ready. Cut two sheets parchment to fit the sheets (you will roll the dough directly onto the parchment).
  2. In a food processor, process the nuts and seeds until very fine and oils begin to release, about a minute.
  3. Add the egg, sea salt, and 1 Tbsp of water. Process until a ball forms. If dough is too dry, add another Tbsp water (dough should stick together when pressed).
  4. Divide dough into two pieces. One at a time, roll dough between two sheets of parchment (or onto one sheet, with a well-greased rolling pin) until about 1/8″ thick (or even thinner if possible).
  5. Carefully transfer dough (parchment-side down) onto baking sheets. Using a knife or bench scraper, score the dough into the shape/size you desire (it’s ok if some edges are left rough).
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate sheets front to back and top to bottom — and if possible, flip the crackers using a spatula. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, until very lightly golden (watch them carefully, the color will barely change — if they get too brown they will taste burned).
  7. Remove from oven, and slide parchment onto counter or cooling rack to cool completely (crackers will become crisper as they cool). Store in an airtight container.

Copyright © Katy Carter, 2011.

Print This Post Print This Post

This post was linked up to Simple Lives Thursday, via GNOWFGLINS.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 6 comments }

Rebekah November 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

do you feel a lot better? i think that i would be incapable of following such stringent dietary rules, if i didn’t feel exponentially better.

katy November 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I do feel better. The pain (inflammation) in my hips is about 80% gone — and from what I read about the diet, it will likely completely disappear in January when I do the cleanse/intro and slowly phase foods back in. Time will tell, but it’s been a striking enough difference to keep me (begrudgingly) eating wacky.

Nancy November 29, 2011 at 12:13 pm

How long will you be observing these dietary restrictions? It seems like you chose the most difficult season of the year to try this! Maybe Lent would be a better time as at least when your stomach is yearning or a cracker, you could use it to reflect on the suffering of Christ. Just remember, he fasted for 40 days in the wilderness. The verse after that says, “and he was hungry.” I always thought that was likely a huge understatement. I hope it is making you feel better. Well, actually, how is it making you feel?

katy November 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I’m not sure. I’ve actually been doing the full GAPS diet, with cheating (I still drink red wine, but no beer or liquor). In January I’ll back up and do the cleanse/intro, and also completely stop cheating — so no more wine, and likely no coffee, etc.

(the main reason I didn’t do the intro this fall was b/c I couldn’t realistically see myself abstaining from red wine during the holidays — sugar isn’t as hard, but wine, no way.) So Lent season will definitely see me abstaining from MUCH more. EEEK!!

Then, I could be on the full diet again for up to a year. I wish I was kidding.

punkinmama November 29, 2011 at 10:30 pm

I fear this is the direction my diet should be going in. But I’m sticking my head in the sand a little while longer…

Phyllis November 30, 2011 at 7:43 am

The crackers look tasty & I’ll add them to my growing list. I find that rolling out sticky cracker dough in a gallon zip-bag works wonders. It doesn’t stick to the pin and rolls evenly. You need 2 sheet pans, 1 sheet of parchment, a rolling pin and a gallon zip bag. I only have rimmed sheet pans so there are a few steps. Rimless pans would be easier; less flipping.
1. Put the dough into the bag and seal almost completely. Roll edge-to-edge, letting air escape thru the opening. Place the dough/bag on a sheet pan and refrigerate until firm (20 min?). You’ve got to do this step.
2. Unzip the bag and slice the bag open down the 2 sides using a knife or scissors. Peel open the bag. Slide the bag onto the back of a sheet pan.
3. Cover the dough with a piece of parchment and then the back of another sheet pan, making a “sandwich” with the pans and the dough bag. Flip the pans. The parchment is now on the bottom of the dough. Take off the top pan. Peel off the bag.
4. Cut the crackers while the parchment is on the back of the sheet pan so your knife or pizza cutter doesn’t bump into the rim of the sheet pan.
5. Slide the parchment and cut dough onto the other pan, rim side up.
Maybe I’m a klutz using the other rolling method but this way works for me. I gladly sacrifice a zip bag for a batch of crackers!

Previous post:

Next post: