Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rosemary Raisin Crackers

Back around Christmas I was stocking up at Trader Joe's on horrifically unhealthy non-paleo snacks as I was about to get snowed in for a day or so and needed something in my stomach to go with the >=1 bottle of red wine I planned to drink. French onion dip and chips, a variety of cheeses, their pita crackers (which I am obsessed with, so good with some of their brie on top) and a cracker I had never encountered before, Trader Joe's Raisin Rosemary Crisps. The crackers were really good, especially with a bit of blue cheese on top. Alas, they're not so paleo-friendly.

So I was super excited when I came across this recipe from Against All Grain that was inspired by them. I decided they'd be the perfect accompaniment to the country pate and bacon jam I'm serving at my dinner club on Saturday so I set to making a test batch tonight. The original TJ's crackers have a consistency more like a melba toast than an actual cracker and while Against All Grain provides a second recipe using almond pulp that looks like it gets closer to that, I didn't feel like messing with making almond pulp on top of everything else. So, I decided to make a half batch of the ones using blanched flour, as well as a second half batch using the same recipe, but with Bob's Red Mill almond flour/meal, which is courser and still has the almond skins to see which one I liked better. By the way, I left the sunflower seeds out of both batches because I didn't have any.

Having now eaten a large number of crackers, I can say first that these crackers are incredibly easy to make (just toss a few ingredients in your food processor, pulse for a few seconds, roll out, cut and bake). They're also delicious and definitely have the flavor of the TJ's crackers. As for which one I liked better, they're both good and I think which you make depends on what you're looking for. The batch made with the blanched almond flour (I used Honeyville) was more like an actual cracker, with a very firm texture and a great snap when you broke them. No one would ever know those crackers didn't contain regular flour. The ones made with Bob's Red Mill were my preferred cracker though. They weren't as dense and had a better mouthfeel.

The latter didn't require any adjustments to the recipe, they just cooked a bit faster (I also ended up accidentally rolling them a bit thinner so that could have contributed) so I would keep a close eye on them and check them 5-7 minutes in. One other tip - when you roll them, make sure the edges aren't thinner than the rest or the crackers won't cook evenly.

And what's a recipe testing if you don't test the finished products together so I had to try both crackers with the bacon jam. It's a rough life!

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