Hors d'oeuvres have always a pathetic interest for me; they remind me of one's childhood that one goes through wondering what the next course is going to be like - and during the rest of the menu one wishes one had eaten more of the hors d'oeuvres.~ Hector Hugh Munro
So it's Wednesday, and I haven't blogged all week. Or all of last week for that matter. If you'd wanted to look for me, you would likely find me on Instagram, I'm there - every single day :). Taking photos with the handphone and posting them is an instant act, it's extremely easy and there's no need to write words, many words to describe your post. No wonder it's addictive. Maybe I'm just getting lazier with this blog, who knows?
Unfortunately, if you don't have an iDevice to play around with, you'll have to keep on missing me until I come on here again and we can hang out and stuff. Yes, life's a bit unfair like that.
And why did I bother even mentioning Instagram (IG) for those of you who aren't interested or don't really care for it? Because this recipe - Whole Wheat Raisin Rosemary Pepita Crackers - was inspired by one of my pals on IG called @thebobbycaudle. Okay, his real name's probably just Bobby Caudle without the 'the', but that I'm not totally sure. What I'm sure about though is that one of his delicious food posts made me run straight to the kitchen to create these amazing crackers!
Clockwise from top left: Nigella seeds, rosemary, raisins and pepitas
There are many ardent food-lovers lurking on IG, and honestly, they, we, okay... I, tend to post up many, many meals that we've seen, made and consumed on a daily basis. Taking out a phone in a restaurant or public place and hovering it over your plate for a shot is a far less embarassing process than taking out a hefty SLR camera to do the same thing, you know? I do most of my 'hovering' at home and even have a colorful breakfast series up on IG where I post my daily morning meals. Check it out at @divabreakfasts if you're interested ;).
Anyway, Mr. Bobby Caudle had prepared an hors d'oeuvres platter using these savory-sweet Trader Joe's Raisin Rosemary Crisps and by the time he finished describing the ingredients on the box to me (yes, I shamelessly asked!), I knew exactly what to do.
If you wish you could eat more whole foods without breaking your budget, these homemade crackers are for you. I've promised some friends that I'll post up the recipe and I’m finally dishing it out. When you think about the typical cracker, they're usually thin and salty so the key to good, crisp crackers is to make 'em really thin! And not too salty, if you're thinking healthy as well. You can substitute the flours in the recipe below with gluten-free flours, you simply need to experiment and play around with the measurements a little. I've also used olive oil in place of butter, it contributes to the crispness of the crackers, plus you can snack on these babies with less (much less) guilt.
The original Trader Joe's crisps also contained flaxseeds and sunflower seeds but I had neither and therefore substituted them with pumpkin seeds and Nigella seeds, which have an onion-y flavor. You can get the latter at many Indian food or spice stores, they're commonly known as blackseeds. You can experiment with other spices and seeds... right this very moment cumin and garlic just popped into my mind!
From the way everyone at home appreciatively munched on these, I would say this homemade cracker recipe will satisfy even the pickiest cracker eater. They have interesting flavors that blend well together, they're not bland, not too salty and not too sweet either. Just nice... Served with something creamy like goat's cheese or Brie, they become just that bit naughtier, and a whole lot nicer!
Whole Wheat Raisin Rosemary Pepita Crackers
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Nigella seeds (blackseeds)
2 tablespoons raisins, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup water
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (pepitas), coarsely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Combine the whole wheat flour, plain flour, rosemary, raisins, Nigella seeds, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil and using a fork, mix the oil thoroughly into the dry mixture until it looks like large crumbs.
2. Add the water in 3 batches to adjust the dough consistency. Mix well until combined and dough forms, but only as long as necessary for the most tender crackers. Dough should be firm but not sticky when you form it into a ball. Add small amounts of whole wheat flour as necessary to adjust to this texture.
3. If you have a pasta machine, divide the dough into 4 portions and roll into thin, flat sheets. I usually go up to the second or third last setting on the machine. If it’s too thin, the dough will tear easily.
4. If you don’t have a pasta machine, don’t fret because you can roll these by hand! Use parchment paper, a lightly greased cookie sheet or a non-stick silicone baking mat. Roll each of the divided dough to your desired thinness right out on the paper, sheet or mat after flouring it lightly.
5. After the dough sheets are rolled out, sprinkle the chopped pumpkin seeds over each sheet and gently roll over the sheets again with a pastry roller to press the seeds in (no, do not put these through the pasta machine again!).
6. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each. If you want all beautifully square crackers, you can trim the edges square. (Note: be sure not to cut your silicone mat).
7. Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers on the edges brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely – even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast! To make them extra crispy, I turn them over after 8 minutes and bake them for another 2 minutes in the oven.
8. Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a rack; they cool quickly. They will crisp up as they cool and stay crisp for many days, but are best stored in airtight containers.