I’ve always loved seeded crisp-bread. Crisp and crunchy it’s delicious on its own, yet pairs beautifully with an endless array of dips, charcuterie and cheese board. There is a well known brand I purchase almost by the trolley load at an upmarket delicatessen at rather inflated prices, swearing each time I reach the checkout that perhaps I should try making my own. Of course I never do. Until today, that is.
The light bulb moment? An article I was idly perusing, ironically whilst on holiday away from my kitchen, on the versatility of chia seeds. Yet another trend that has passed me by. Apart from a myriad of acknowledged nutritional credentials, it seems the binding qualities of this tiny, energy packed super-food, when hydrated, can circumvent the need to use flour when making crackers. Little known fact; each tiny chia seed is capable of absorbing up to ten times its capacity in liquid as it transforms into a sticky, glutinous substance. Look closely at the image of the pale, unbaked cracker above, its transparent sheen is courtesy of the chia seed
Now I’m pretty certain that my favourite seeded crackers contain rye and, try as I might I have never come close to even finding a recipe that might replicate them. My interest was most definitely piqued with a new challenge to myself. Using chia seeds as a building block, bake a light and crisp seeded cracker I would love to eat.
Fortunately google is my friend, there are a wealth of recipes out there, some by the earliest of adapters dating back eight or more years ago. Vegan, gluten free, soy free and nut free to boot it’s a bandwagon that has captured the imagination of many an on-line community.
Here is my version. Slightly sweet. Lightly salted. Bursting with goodness and packing a powerful punch with the inclusion of five different seeds: chia, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and linseed. Crisp, golden and crunchy. Absolutely divine. Yet delicious as they might be, I can only manage to eat a few at a time. They’re undeniably satiating. Little wonder the ancient Mayan civilisations revered chia seeds for their strength and endurance dubbing them “Indian Running Food” to fuel long journeys. Perfect iron man food for my resident swimmer and perhaps my aspiring rower.
Sweet and Salty Five Seed Crackers
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup linseed
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
PREHEAT oven to 160 C fan-forced and line two 30cm square oven trays with baking paper.
PLACE all the seeds into a large bowl and stir well to combine.
WHISK together warm water, honey, coconut oil and sea salt in a glass jug.
POUR liquid ingredients over the seeds, stir until well combined then allow to stand for 10 – 15 minutes until thick and sticky but spreadable. The chia seeds will absorb the water and bind the ingredients together. If mixture becomes too thick slowly add a little more water, a tablespoon at a time.
DIVIDE mixture in half and bake the crackers in two batches.
To Bake Each Batch
USE a silicon spatula to spread half the mixture in a thin layer (no more than 2-3 mm thickness) over the entire base of the first of the prepared trays. Make sure any holes or gaps are patched over before baking.
PLACE tray in preheated oven, middle rack position, and bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden on top.
USING oven mitts, remove tray from oven and invert cracker onto the second tray baking paper lined tray. The easiest way to do this is to place the second tray, baking paper side down, over the first and flip.
PEEL away the top layer of baking paper and with a heavy knife score the cracker into 30 individual 5 cm squares.
RETURN to oven for another 15 minutes and bake until fully dry, golden and crunchy before removing to a wire rack and breaking the cracker into individual pieces along the score lines. The centre squares of the cracker may not be as dry as those around the outer edges, I like to return them to the oven for just a few minutes longer to bake through.
ALLOW crackers to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for up to two weeks. The crackers will continue to harden and crisp up as they cool.
REPEAT process for the second batch.