Monday, June 15, 2015

Sublime Chickpea Crackers

I was going to call these Chick-Cracks. But then. 

Because I like to put out a lot of dips and cheese, and because we have a lot of family and friends who, for different reasons, avoid grains and/or gluten, I am always rethinking the cracker situation. 


Sometimes I’m just like, “Fuck it,” and I cave and buy the Mary’s Gone Crackers even though they cost $100 for eleven crackers. And sometimes I make a copycat Mary’s Gone Crackers recipe, which, while totally excellent, requires that you cook both rice and quinoa, and that you then press each little spoonful of dough flat with the bottom of a glass. Plus, you can only bake, like, six crackers at a time. I certainly look forward to making them constantly in retirement, but it’s just not the right recipe for this moment of my life.

Crackers, crackers, blah blah. Birdy graduated from elementary school. More crackers, less feeling feelings! Also, by the way, Reader who doesn't like how my kids look and dress and thinks to comment on it? There is a whole world of blogs out there! Maybe find one that better aesthetically suits you?
I have walked Birdy to school every day for the past 7 years, and I took pictures on our last-ever walk. We spent the walk like we always do, nibbling weeds and talking about how much we love the walk, and how funny it is that that's what we always talk about. She's joining Ben at his fabulous performing-arts charter school, and I'm psyched for her. But it is possible that at the end of my life, I'll look back and decide that this--walking Ben and Birdy, and then just Birdy to school--was the single best part of it. Crackers. 
Thus, these. I am in love with these crackers. In love! 

Wait, are we crackers? I thought we were peppers.
For one thing, they are the easiest—they are ready to go into the oven before the oven is preheated, that’s how easy. For another, I love how they taste. I’ve been seasoning them with cumin and garlic, so that they taste like a cross between falafel and poppadom, and they are crazily good and go perfectly with the middle-eastern dips I’ve been making. I’ve also seasoned them with caraway, which I love, and of course you could go the dried herb route with rosemary and/or you can add more seeds or onion or whatever you like. They are so insanely good that everybody wants the recipe—although, full disclosure, that might be because I keep saying, “Aren’t these so insanely good that you want the recipe?” But they seriously are. I no longer make them because they’re gluten-free.


The crackers are shown here with muhammara, a crazily good red-pepper-walnut-pomegranate dip. I used Heidi Swanson’s recipe, but substituted (gluten-free) almond meal for the breadcrumbs, and added a crushed clove of garlic, a la Ana Sortun in her book Spice. Garnished with walnuts and mint.

Not a great shot, no. But I brought the crackers to a party on a big wooden board, with a trio of dips, and I loved how it all looked. Besides the muhammara, I made the crazy-delicious Beet Tzatziki and the good Warm Buttered Hummus, both from Ana Sortun's book.
Michael doing clean-up crew on the muhammara blender.
Happy summer! Or almost summer.  xo

Sublime Chickpea Crackers
I lifted the bones of this recipe from here via here. Process shots are below. I usually double the recipe and bake two sheets at a time because WE CANNOT GET ENOUGH.
*Edited to add: I have since made these, the exact same way, substituting almond flour for the chickpea flour. They were delicious! More fragile and not as crunchy as the chickpea version, but excellent in their own nutty way. I'm wondering if you could use pretty much any kind of flour. I'm throwing away my rolling pin!

3 tablespoons ground flax seed

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water

1 cup chickpea flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon each cayenne and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350 and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat. I have only done these with the mat. If you have, or prefer to use, neither of these things, you could try cooking spray, but with straight-up oiling the pan, I feel like they’ll stick.

Stir the flax into the water (I do this right in the measuring cup) and leave it to thicken while you measure the dry ingredients.

Use a fork to mix together the dry ingredients, then add the flax water and olive oil and mix well.

Scrape the batter onto the prepared pan and spread it as thinly and evenly as you can. I use an off-set spatula for this, which makes life easy, but the first time I made them, I used my own wet fingers and it went medium. I think that a plain old butter knife might be a reasonable middle ground. Sprinkle the batter with coarse salt and then put them in the middle of the oven to bake. Or put them in the oven, then remember you forgot to sprinkle them with coarse salt, and pull them out quickly.

Bake the crackers until they are browned at the edges and golden all over and (you will have to surmise) crisp. This will take anywhere from 15-25 minutes. Check them at 15, and then watch them carefully: mine lift the mat up at the corners, and get nice and deeply golden, except where I didn’t spread the batter thin enough.

Leave the crackers to cool on the pan for about twenty minutes or so, then break them into pieces. If some of the crackers break not with the a nice snap but with, instead, an unsatisfying cakey tearing, leave those ones on the pan and pop them back into the (turned-off) oven for a while. I find that the residual heat from the oven is perfect for crisping up the stubborn spongy ones. 





27 comments:

  1. I'm gonna try these. And those dips. Love your recipes because they are yum and things turn out like you say they will, which makes me very happy. P.s. your kids always look SO cool.

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  2. Anonymous12:01 PM

    I missed that strange comment! But now I read it and am confused with the world! I love the way Ben and Birdy dress, they are utterly themselves! What more can anyone want? I hope my kids have the courage to keep on doing the same (as yet they do, at 10 and 8)... Ben and Birdy are beautiful.
    Angela

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  3. Anonymous1:55 PM

    Best blog ever - your kids get more adorable every day. Thank you for sharing them, recipes, books, movies - love it all! And the picture of the walk to school - sniff!

    -Amy

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  4. You had me at "falafel and poppadoms." Going to try these ASAP. And your kids rock. And mean blog commenters are just weird.

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  5. I know my ire is misplaced- Ben and Birdy have a capable grownup of their own- but I am just simmering with disgust at an adult who would make comments about the appearance of a CHILD. Maybe I have moved beyond Nice Southern Lady right into Lady with a Stick up her Bottom, but I was always taught to say something nice or nothing at all. Making comments about how an adult chooses to dress is tacky- making comments about a couple of seemingly nice kids is just mean.

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    1. Anonymous4:37 PM

      Nope, that is Nice Lady - I was also raised with "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" in England. Oh and as a schoolgirl I wore a tie every schoolday for 5 years as part of my uniform - I liked it :)
      Angela

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  6. Anonymous3:18 PM

    Birdy. Is. Gorgeous! (The crackers don't look bad either!)

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  7. Anonymous3:18 PM

    Just sitting here nursing my last 5 baby - all 5 months of here & I was just thinking of your description of Birdy as a baby as all rolls and rolls and then I check in to see she's graduating elementary school! Time yada yada where does it go?!
    Also some of us newer mummies check in regularly to give us strength to help raise children as wonderful and strong minded as Ben & Birdy and while battling them as 3 year olds is hard work I love the idea of mine turning out as induvdual as your wonderful children. More lovely tales, pictures and recipes please xx verity

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  8. Can't imagine criticizing your kids and/or their fashion. They look smashing to me. Winco Foods has a great bulk section, including a 'just add water' hummus that I think is mostly ground garbanzos. I'll try that to see if it works and let you know. I'll skip rapidly yanking them out of the oven for salt, but I'm sure I'll substitute another brain-fart step.

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  9. I can't wait to try this recipe! And I like Birdy's ponytails! Not that her hair is any of my business!

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  10. dale in denver6:31 PM

    I wore a tux to my prom - matched my dates. A few people teased my date - wanted to know if I'd be driving/paying, etc. He was a little embarrassed to be taking a girl in a tux, but we really looked fabulous. So fabulous my sister had me wear a tux as maid of honor. Birdie rocks that tux! And the short hair. And the long hair. And everything she wears! Because she knows who she is and she likes herself. Ben knows who he is and likes himself. Right on, kids. Right on, parents.

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  11. This looks yummy!

    Favorite part: "There is a whole world of blogs out there! Maybe find one that better aesthetically suits you?"

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  12. For nine years i have been reading your words and for all nine of those years i have been thinking, " i hope i can be more Newmanish this year." I. Love. You!!!

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    1. This is EXACTLY how I feel!

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  13. You are my "I'm-really-trying-here-but-sometimes-fuck-it" soulmate.

    I saw Birdie there and thought she was Ben; my "Birdie" (Phoebe) and Ben look just alike, too. Seeing those photos and the captions made me laugh and tear because I've taken similar photos and thought similar thoughts. So: crackers.

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  14. Missy McCarthy10:24 AM

    I am sitting here laughing and crying at your post. I'm thinking about what you said in the picture caption about the best time of your life... I have the same thought when people tell me how I should (not in so many words) get a grip about my sadness about my own kids growing up, and how every stage is wonderful, and.... (this one KILLS ME) how I have grandkids to look forward to... blaa blaa blaa... and I want to tell them all, what if this IS my favorite stage, time, era of my life?? Thank you for always articulating exactly what I'm feeling, and making me feel a little less lonely.

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  15. These look awesome, and totally doable, as in I think I can make them, but maybe also in the way that a naughty-minded college kid might think? (Guess I'm having a craving for, er, something crunchy...)

    In other news, wow, last walk to school. Our hearts are with you, Catherine. These days are whizzing by our ears ever faster now, aren't they?


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  16. Anonymous5:23 PM

    Well mine is 28 now and when he left his two Mom nest we had a household depression for weeks--the Moms, the dog, the cats...but they come back a lot, if you're lucky, and each stage is fascinating, lovely, and heart-wrenching for so many reasons. Your kids are wonderful, as is your attitude.

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  17. Wow, the end of elementary school. That was fast! I LOVE her graduation pic. What a great shot.

    And these chips! As soon as I figure out where to get chickpea flour, I'm going to make them. Thank you, as always for your great recipes.

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  18. You know, I have been hoping for an easy chickpea flour cracker recipe to materialize itself on the page (or screen) for years - but I didn't expect the recipe-story to be equally simple and inviting and delicious.

    Though of course, when I saw it appear right here, I did know what to expect :o)

    Smilingly and thankfully yours,

    xo

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  19. Shit. You totally killed me. I can't stop crying. And laughing -- "Go find another blog, you dumb ass." -- but mostly crying. Thank you. I love you.

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  20. These crackers were easy and delicious as advertised, so thank you. Your kids look adorable and cool, but if I thought that they looked weird in any way I would just keep my (cyber) mouth shut because that is what normal, well-adjusted adults do. That lady is dealing with her own issues, poor thing. Thanks again for the recipe, and now I'll have to go back and make every dip you've mentioned in this post, too. Because yum.

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  21. Anonymous2:36 PM

    I must have missed something... what commenter?? Usually seems that everyone around here is pretty supportive and low-key.

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  22. why do people keep referring to "THESE crackerS"? It seems to me the recipe is for a single serving, cracker singular, or so I gathered when I finished testing to see if all areas were sufficiently crisp and noted to my alarm that the "crackerS" ('cracker') were (was) gone (I ate it).

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  23. Anonymous9:37 AM

    So I just made these--they're good!--and I wanted to leave a tip for anyone who, like me, has flaxseeds but no flaxseed meal and has belatedly discovered that flaxseeds are fricking impossible to grind (apparently you can use a coffee grinder, but mine is broken). After trying several things that didn't work, I mixed the seeds with a few Tbsp of water and put them in the food processor. They didn't totally grind, but enough so that the mixture thickened up and the crackers were a success.

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    1. Anonymous9:38 AM

      which is to say, I used some of the water that you would add anyway--took it out of the cup measure.

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  24. Okay, and now I’m pretty much going to be pinning every single recipe you have! These sound great! I love crackers as a quick snack but haven’t had them in so long – you know, being healthy and all. These seem really light, and definitely guilt free. They’re also something I would feed my toddler without feeling guilty about all of the extra stuff that store bought ones tend to have.

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