Lucky Comestible 5 (4): Grain Free Hazelnut-Cilantro* Crackers

* Or use another favorite herb.

[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I'll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I've recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days.  For this fifth edition, I'm focusing on cilantro. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. This is the fourth entry on cilantro.]

hazelnutcrackerstack

My mom was many things:  a sweet person, a sentimental person, a docile person, a loyal person; but one thing she most definitely was not, was a morning person.  Because of my dad’s unique hours (he didn’t drive a car for the first 38 years of his life, so he would take the bus to his butcher shop** each day, a ride of about an hour–necessitating a 5:30 AM wakeup six days a week), this meant my Mom, too, was required to arise at the same ungodly hour each day.  Her responsibility was to grill Dad’s breakfast toast, pour his tea, and pack his lunch.

The second he was out the door, my mother would retreat to the bedroom and fall back on the bed, unconscious within seconds, only to emerge about three hours later looking–well, as if she needed some sleep.  My sisters and I learned at a tender age that we were on our own when it came to breakfast. 

Like most of my friends at the time, I fancied cold cereal and milk above all else in the morning.  Cap’n Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Lucky Charms, _______ [insert your own sugar-filled, wheat-based choice here], but on Saturdays, the CFO and I allowed ourselves a supreme treat:  saltine crackers slathered with peanut butter, and a tall glass of chocolate milk, which we made ourselves while my mother slept.  We’d tiptoe down to the basement (where my parents had installed a second TV) and sit on the olive green vinyl hide-a-bed watching Saturday morning cartoons for hours (well, about three hours, that is, until Mom woke up) while we munched happily, leaving a trail of crumbs in our wake like the famous Grimm siblings.

When I got older and eventually had my own kitchen to run, I lost interest in saltines, and any other crackers.  Crackers were one of those foods I never really thought about in the “SAD [ie, Standard American Diet] old days,” when I still consumed wheat, meat, sugar and aspartame. I can recall serving appetizers of smoked oysters, cream cheese and a wedge of lemon on Triscuits when I threw dinner parties in my 20s, or setting out a tray of Ritz, Stoned Wheat Thins and Water Crackers next to a hunk of cheese.  But otherwise,  crackers were off my radar. I mean, why would you choose dry, flavorless crackers when you could be scarfing muffins, scones or biscuits? You see my point.

hazelcrackerwpate2

[Slathered here with some raw Almond-Veggie Pâté]

So I surprised even myself by how much I enjoyed these thin, crispy wafers.  Perhaps it’s the fact that I haven’t had a “true” baked good (ie, something made with flour, sweetener and, ideally, some form of chocolate) in 5 months, since I started the ACD.  Or maybe my tastes are just evolving.

Naw.

 In any case, these were even a hit with the HH , who pronounced them “really tasty” (not a man of many words, that HH).  The texture, while crispy and slightly crumbly, is nevertheless rich, like a butter cracker or shortbread; yet they stand up well to toppings and spreads. 

I enjoyed them with a slather of raw almond-veggie pâté, but because the cilantro isn’t very pronounced (great for you cilantro-phobes out there), they’d even work with nut butter for breakfast.  You could easily eat some while watching cartoons–but I wouldn’t recommend pairing them with chocolate milk.   

** Yes, the irony is palpable.  I talk about his occupation vis-à-vis my dietary choices here.

[For those of you who prefer sweets to crackers, here's the latest review of Sweet Freedom--check out the "Muffin Wars" between SF and JOVB versions!]

hazelcrackerplate1


Other posts in this series:

Other Lucky Comestibles:

Last Year at this Time:  Zucchini and Pineapple Mini Loaves (featuring a now-cringe-inducing Michael Jackson reference!)

© 2009 Ricki Heller

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Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, these look so awesome. Cilantro and chickpea flour are two of my favorite things ever, so I’m really excited to try these. Thanks, Ricki!

  2. Ricki, LOVE THOSE CRACKERS!!!! Brilliant.

  3. The hazlenuts must add such a depth to the crackers! I definitely love this (with parsely, I think…). And I definitely grew up loving the saltine-peanut butter-chocolate milk thing (I’m kinda craving some right now, actually!).

  4. Great story. I can just imagine you and your siblings making such a mess in the kitchen, and loving every moment of it. I used to love flavorless, saltine crackers a lot as a child too. Now I barely ever eat crackers, unless they are full of flavor (which very few are). Your recipe sounds awesome, those are my kind of crackers!

  5. I can’t even put to words how amazing those look. I could munch on crackers and dip/spread endlessly, but I don’t have the patience to make them myself very often, especially considering how quickly I’d go through them. These would be such a treat!

  6. oh! and gluten free. thank you, they look SO great.
    xo
    kittee

  7. I could tell similar stories from my childhood. My mom never talked in the mornings. I am the same but I try to talk :)
    Those crackers look reallyfantastic! I am always exited about your really creative recipes, I wish I had the time to try them all.

  8. What a beautiful appetizer. I’m keeping this in mind for my next buffet dinner party. Check out my veggie caviar on crumpet version at http://www.phamfatale.com/id_311/title_Vegetarian-Quinoa-and-Eggplant-Caviar/

  9. Yay! Love homemade crackers. These work really well raw ( ‘cooked’ in a dehydrator)

  10. yum – these look great – I have a packet of crackers or dry biscuits as we say – in the pantry for when I feel like one – they are great with dips – but I do go in waves of love and disinterest. My dad loved dry biscuits when we were little and so they always seemed something special.

  11. those look mavhalous, dahling. =)
    I will have to try those!

  12. Oh yes, the hors d’oeuvre crackers I remember so well. I did love those Triscuits! But these look so much more interesting and taste-worthy. Did you peel the hazelnuts? I always wonder what to do about that.

  13. Those look AMAZING!!!

  14. I love crackers, when they are homemade. Those look great. I love chickpea flour.

  15. I’ve been wanting to experiment with making some nutmeal-chickpea flour based crackers! These look scrumptious!

    You’re such a kitchen whiz, Ricki!

    Ps. Did you try my motherloaf yet? You really should…I had some toasted last night (I had put the loaf in the freezer to keep longer) and it was just as good as fresh.

  16. Courtney says:

    Hahaha–those are the cereals I used to *dream* about as a kid! Our “treat” cereal that we got every once in a while was honey nut cheerios…

    Those crackers sound delish! Do you think they would work with a different nut? Like maybe walnuts or almonds?

    Thanks!
    Courtney

  17. These look great! Crunchy and satisfying. I wish I had the patience to make them, considering how fast I’d eat them!

  18. These look great – I have all the ingredients except for hazelnut so I’m definitely going to try to make them. Thanks!

  19. Yummy!! Surely will make an attempt to prepare some. Thanks.

  20. ah, my fav was lucky charms ;) That is funny about your dad! These look awesome, and i’ll totally be trying them out!

  21. Heather,
    Glad you like the sound of them–let me know what you think if you do try them out!

    VG–
    Me, too! :)

    Jes,
    Parsley would work well, I think. And just writing about them made me feel a little nostalgic. . . ;)

    Gina,
    Thanks so much. These days, I, too, go for full flavor, or nothing!

    Hannah,
    They’re not really that much work (esp considering the elaborate masterpieces you whip up!). ;)

    kittee,
    Thanks so much, and thanks for reading! These days, I’m all about GF, and a girl’s gotta eat!

    Mihl,
    I’m sure your loved ones appreciate your efforts in the AM!

    Jackie,
    Thanks so much, and thanks for your comment! Your appetizers look heavenly.

    Meghan,
    Raw–would be RAWESOME!!

    Johanna,
    I wouldn’t think of saltines (or “dry biscuits”) as particularly special, but these were to me. Thanks!

    Cheryl,
    Thanks, dahling! ;)

    Andrea,
    Yes, these beat Triscuit in my books. I didn’t peel the nuts–never do, really–I’d rather have the extra fiber and nutrients than a pale-faced cracker!

    Shelby,
    Thanks!

    Daily Diner,
    Thanks so much, and for your comment! I’m coming round to chickpea flour; it seems quite versatile.

    Alex,
    Thanks so much! I’ve got the motherloaf on the list of “to make”–now just have to find time to try all the recipes I’d like to try!

    Courtney,
    Yes, I loved those cereals as a kid, too. And yes, I’m sure you could make the crackers with another nut. If you use almonds, which are quite dry compared to hazelnuts (less oily), then I’d also add maybe a tablespoon (15 ml) of almond butter or extra oil to the dough to keep it moist.

    Tessa,
    Yes, I have to admit that I did eat them all within 2 days. Great with hummus, though!

    Hana,
    Thanks so much! I’m sure they’d work with other nuts, too.

    Toddler Nutrition,
    Thanks for your comment. Hope the toddlers like them :)

    ttfn300,
    Well, who wouldn’t like Lucky CHarms? They’re magcially delicious, after all. ;) Let me know what you think if you do try them out!

  22. These look wonderful, Ricki! Love that they’re grain-free. Might try buckwheat in place of the chickpea flour, just for convenience. I’m all over having something crispy and grain-free! You just fulfilled a craving. :D

  23. I LOVE this recipe. What a great idea Ricki. And grain free too. Yum.

  24. I’m down for any type of cracker. These look great!

  25. I am absolutely going to make these and I can’t wait!

  26. such a nice alternative to those store bought crackers with the crazy ingredients!

  27. I didn’t know crackers could be homemade! Wow. I am a little behind.

    I love the idea of slathering saltines with peanut butter and drinking a side of chocolate milk. Sounds like something I would eat at that age. Both my parents and grandparents always had a jumbo container of Nestle’s Quik in the cupboard. Grandpa taught me how to stir chocolate milk properly so the sugar didn’t remain at the bottom.

    Your stories always make me miss the old family times.

  28. That’s a really good recipe for a healthy treat. I definitely love the combination of flavors. Have to give this one a try. Thanks, Ricki!

  29. I have never made crackers! I love something crispy with my daily lunch salads, but usually end up with the not so crispy rice cakes. Your recipe looks delicious and really easy to make.

    I loved all those same cereals. My mom got up and set out the cereal or poptarts. I usually had mine with a Dr. Pepper!

  30. these are beautiful, Ricki!

  31. Those look perfect! I really enjoy making my own crackers and biscuits and such. Yet another one of your recipes that I really want to try!

  32. For quite a few years now, I have been wanting to try making crackers, but never got around to doing it. I’ve had them on the mind lately, so your recipe comes at the perfect time – especially since I came home to a thriving herb garden after some time away. Can’t wait to give these a try!

  33. Wow Ricki these crackers sound and look really awesome!! I must try them. And I have a big bag of hazelnuts in the freezer that I need to find a use for. I might even make them with cilantro!

  34. I didn’t see anyone comment on this, but when making these last night, I noticed that your instructions do not say when to throw in the garlic. I don’t think it matters a lot when it is put in, but thought you’d want to know.

    These are REALLY tasty, but mine didn’t turn out as pretty as yours – I used a pizza wheel to cut mine, but your must have a built-in a ruler! : )

  35. I just found you blog today & I gave already made 2 recipes this one and the veggie burger. I am new to gf & cadidia diets, so far your recipes look the most enticing. What I like is you don’t try to make the old standards, like bread, conform to the diet you take the food we can eat & showcase it in its own way. I am snacking on the crackers right now and they are divine. The burgers will be out of the oven in moments. Thank you, I will be back.

    • Thanks so much, Claire! The burgers are a long-time favorite of mine, too. I was never a huge bread person, anyway, so I found it easier to deal with ingredients and recipes I actually like! ;)

  36. This looks amazing! I don’t have a full-size food processor…just a mini-Cuisinart. Do you think I can make this whole recipe in it or should I try to do a half batch? I also have Vitamix but am I correct in thinking it would be bad to put nuts in it with no liquid?

  37. Ok, I figured out how to do this in my mini-Cuisinart…AND…I just made an anti candida chocolaty cookie version with some substitutions like carob and coconut flour!!!!!!

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