As I head into the third month of "big school" for our 5-year-old, it's time to get creative with his lunchbox. He really likes omelettes, green beans, cucumbers, sandwiches or wraps, leftover mac and cheese, and all kinds of fruit. Since I avoid buying anything in disposable packaging for his lunchbox, I thought we'd try making our own crackers. I'm always looking for ways to boost nutrition, of course, and these also fit that bill, since they're made of seeds.
This is an *extremely* straight-forward recipe. There are six ingredients, and that's counting the flax seeds twice (once ground, once whole). This week I've cooked a number of recipes from the Food 52 cookbook simply called Vegan. These crackers are also gluten-free, which is a duo that rarely goes together in baking - without eggs or wheat flour, binding can be difficult - but author Gena Hamshaw clearly knows what she's doing, since they held together wonderfully.
This was a fun recipe to throw together on a lazy Sunday. The batter needs to sit for an hour to thicken, and then spends a few hours in the oven (mostly with the oven off), getting nice and crunchy. So while the crackers take a while in total, almost all of the time is hands-off. We baked these and then went for a walk after turning the oven off, and when we came home they were the perfect snack. I made this hummus for dipping them.
For a couple more homemade, high-nutrition cracker/bread snack options, I make these excellent seedy crackers from Laurie David's wonderful book, The Family Cooks, for all of my kids' birthday parties. The same book contains a great recipe for gluten-free nut bread which I've made several times. Little kids will love helping make both recipes, as they are easy, one-bowl batters. Nuts and seeds are wonderful foods for children's growing bodies, and I try to include as many as I can in Cash and Polly's diet.
Sesame Flax Crackers
adapted from Food 52 Vegan
- ½ cup ground flaxseeds (from about 1/3 cup whole)
- ½ cup whole flaxseeds
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup water
- 1½ tablespoons tamari
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, stir and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. The mixture will thicken and become spreadable.
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with a silipat mat or parchment paper.
Transfer dough to baking sheet and spread evenly. Using a pizza cutter, score the dough into about 35 crackers.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until lightly brown. Turn off the oven and let crackers dry in the warmth, 2-3 hours more. Remove from oven and break into pieces.
NB:We found the 40-45 minute baking time led to crunchy crackers on the edges of the batter, but softer, chewier ones in the middle. Polly loves the softer ones, and I prefer the crunchier kind. To get them all crunchier, you could try separating the crackers after scoring them - I think they are sturdy enough to handle it - and increasing the baking time by 5 or 10 minutes until they are all more browned.