Easy Almond Crackers

The Recipe: Easy homemade crackers made with almond meal (also called almond flour) or a mix of almond meal and pecan meal or almond meal and flax meal plus pantry ingredients – that's right, naturally gluten-free and no hard-to-find ingredients to invest in. Using nut flours instead of wheat flours means the crackers are low-carb but contain protein too.

I like to carry crisp, peppery Easy Almond Crackers and DIY Power Balls along on trips for quick, sustaining whole-food snacks. For those who follow Weight Watchers, Whole30 or paleo regimes, these are your crackers! And if you don't? No problem, they're just easy to make and taste good.

And for the bakers who follow Kitchen Parade, especially those who haven't baked since the holidays, it just feels good to be back in the kitchen to bake again, albeit without sugar and flour.

Easy Almond Crackers, crisp, peppery gluten-free crackers made with almond meal, also pecan meal, flax meal. Whole30, vegan. For Weight Watchers, just #PP2.

OUR WORLD IS SO-O-O SMALL!

One of the world's great wonderments is that travel, media and the online world invite connections with real people from all-ll-ll across the world.

Case in point. Last summer, I attended a photography workshop.

In Finland.
Led by Meeta, born in India, now a photographer, stylist and writer living in Germany, whose parents live in Dubai.
Joined by Simone, a photographer and food blogger from the Netherlands.
Workshop participants came from Scandinavia, Europe, North Africa, even me from the U.S.

Twas a miracle of the modern world!

Ever since, I've followed Simone's Kitchen as she experiments with Whole30, I Quit Sugar. Guys will especially appreciate Dude Food Tuesdays, when Simone's husband Tom takes over the kitchen: think protein and guy-cooking sensibility. So again: a modern miracle, that you and I learn from the goings-on in a kitchen in the Netherlands. The Netherlands!!

Who's familiar with the Whole 30 eating plan? The idea is to set your sights on following the Whole 30 definition of a whole-food diet for 30 days. Honestly? Not everybody makes it.

It's a very conscious, conscientious way of eating. You need to really pay attention. You need to plan ahead. You really need to cook. That said, if you already eat a diet of vegetables, fruit and healthy protein, there's less adjustment. And it's totally worth it.

Whole30 appeals to me because it puts the kabosh on not only wheat and legumes and refined sugar but all processed foods. If you need a little mayonnaise? Oops, you can't just open a jar, so either skip the mayo or make it. If you want crackers? Ooops, that box in the pantry is off limits so go without or just make crackers.

Luckily, making mayonnaise is easy. And making crackers is easy-easy too.

ALANNA's TIPS Play with the meals! The first batch of Easy Almond Crackers, I was short on almond meal so supplemented with pecan meal. Another time, I used some flax meal. Turns out, that first almond-pecan mix is my favorite mix! When made with 100% almond meal, the crackers are the most tender: read "easy to break". Play with the seasonings! I like using an Italian seasoning mix but also had really good luck using those savory meat rubs that seem to collect in the spice cupboard. The only thing is, if the seasoning includes salt, use your judgment on whether to separately add salt or not. The crackers "do" need to be slightly salty – and generous pepper is really important – but it's easy to both over-season and under-season. Play with other flavorings! One batch made with 100% almond meal, I added some leftover orange zest, it added a great undertone.

EASY ALMOND CRACKERS

Hands-on time: 15 minutes up front, 5 minutes to finish
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes six to eight dozen small crackers
  • 1-1/4 cups (150g) almond meal
  • 1/2 cup (100g) pecan meal, flax meal or more almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons seasoning – Italian seasoning, any savory spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt (omit if seasoning has salt)
  • Four or five grinds of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons water

Set oven to 300F/150C.

In a large bowl, combine almond meal, pecan meal (or other meals), seasoning, salt and pepper with a spoon.

In a small bowl, stir together olive oil and water. Pour into the first bowl and stir to combine. The dough will be thick but not especially sticky.

Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment, the "right" thickness is the exact size of a sheet pan.

(Here's how I do it, it took a little figuring out. On the counter, cut a piece of parchment slightly larger than a sheet pan. This piece will actually go in the oven – easy, easy clean up! Cut another piece of parchment (waxed paper will work here too or I use this re-useable non-stick "super parchment") that's the exact size of the sheet pan. This second piece will be the "measuring guide" but won't go into the oven. With your hands shape the dough to run almost the length of the long side of the bottom parchment, top it with the smaller parchment. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough right to all four edges of the top sheet, no less, no more. If you need to tear off a place where there's more than enough dough to patch a place where there isn't enough, no problem. The dough is really easy to work with, don't overthink this step.)

Score the crackers. Remove the top piece of parchment. Use a pizza cutter to cut the crackers, about an inch wide and two inches long. With scissors, trim the bottom piece of parchment to fit the baking sheet.

Gently slide the parchment onto the baking sheet.

Bake the crackers until crisp, about 25 - 30 minutes. (In my bottom oven, 28 minutes is the magic timing.)

Let the crackers cool a bit, then gently break apart into individual crackers. Store in an airtight container, preferably in the refrigerator.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Per Cracker (if eight dozen, if six dozen): 17/23 Calories; 1/2g Tot Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 12/16mg Sodium; 1g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points .5 & WW Points Plus 0/1.
Per Four Crackers (if eight dozen, if six dozen): 70/93 Calories; 6/8g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 48/64mg Sodium; 2/3g Carb; 1/2g Fiber; 0/1g Sugar; 2/3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2 & WW Points Plus 2.
Adapted from Herb Crackers from the Dutch food blog Simone's Kitchen.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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