RECIPE: Cranberry-Pecan & Rosemary Crackers
I'm having my family over for Thanksgiving for the first time in years (I lived in Canada for ten so that's my excuse) and wanted to do a few extra special things. One of which is make my own crackers to serve my marmalade with. I was going to purchase some of those expensive raisin, rosemary, pecan crackers (you know the one's) in the fancy box but I figured, heck, I can make my own! Plus I'm frugal. (Sounds better than cheap, right?) Anyway, I found a couple recipes and mixed and matched. I didn't have the mini loaf pans required so I improvised with muffin tins. Worked pretty well but you do get some waste. Mind you, we nibbled on the scraps while the crackers were toasting so nothing actually went to waste.
On their own, these crispy, slightly chewy, aromatic and very flavorful crackers are delicious. But they are the PERFECT companion to my Orange-Cranberry Marmalade and a schmear of fresh (or aged) goat cheese. The only laborious part is the actual slicing. I sure wish I had my mother's electric bread slicer! That would make this a breeze. Aside from that, these are very easy to make. (Recipe to follow).
CRANBERRY PECAN & ROSEMARY CRACKERS
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup roasted golden flax seed, ground
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
2 cups buttermilk
2 TB honey
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
3/4 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup dried cranberries, plumped
6 - 4" x 2 1/2" mini-loaf pans
or 12 cup muffin pan
Preheat oven to 350˚.
Since I didn't have the mini loaf pans I used a muffin tin, buttered. Worked just fine but I think the mini loaf pans would produce far less scraps. But then, what would I nibble on while I waited for the crackers to bake??
Butter muffin tins or loaf pans and set aside.
In a small bowl, plump up the cranberries in very hot water for 15 minutes while you prep the rest of the batter.
Next, toast the pecans and sunflower seeds by spreading them out on a rimmed baking sheet and baking for 7-8 minutes in the oven giving them a stir half way through. When fragrant and slightly golden transfer to a cutting board to cool a bit. Then roughly chop.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the dry ingredients making sure there are no lumps. Then fold in the cranberries and nuts. Lastly pour in the buttermilk and honey and stir to combine.
Fill the muffin tins equally (they will come just to the top) or, if using loaf pans, pour equally into the mini loaf pans set on op of a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes in the muffin tin and about 30-35 minutes in the loaf pans. Or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the tops are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and place muffin tin on a cooling rack for five minutes. Then turn out the muffins and cool completely on the rack. If using the loaf pans, remove from pans and cool loaves on the rack completely.
When completely cooled place the loaves/muffins in a freezer bag or container and freeze until solid. It could take a few hours so I just left them overnight.
When you're ready to make the crackers preheat oven to 300˚. Remove one or two muffins/loaves from the freezer and slice with a serrated knife about 1/8" thick. Place the slices on baking sheets (ungreased) and bake for about 12-15 minutes on one side. Then flip over and bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and transfer crackers to the cooling rack. When totally cooled place in an airtight container. They will keep for several weeks. That is if you don't gobble them up first!