Friday, June 28, 2013

Garlic Parmesan Flax Seed Crackers

Have you tried the Garlic Parmesan Flax Seed Cracker recipe in GOOD FOOD? I make it at least every two weeks, simply because it smells so great, tastes so good, and provides that "crunch" we tend to miss when we get the junk food out of our lives.
This recipe can be tricky to make. Over the past 6 months or so, I have developed a somewhat easy method for preparation, and I thought it might be good to share it with you. If you read ALL the tips below, I know it will help you.

For those who do not have the book, here is the recipe.

1 cup flax seed meal
1/3 cup Italian Parmesan cheese, grated (To be on the safe side, I use a cheese that is a product of Italy ONLY)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 400 F.
1) Mix all ingredients together.
2) Spoon onto sheet pan which is covered with a silicone mat or greased parchment paper.
3) Cover the mixture with a piece of parchment or waxed paper. Even out the mixture to about 1/8 inch. I find a straight edge, like a ruler, works well. I also use a rolling pin and that does a good job of leveling the dough. The important thing is not to let it be too thin around the edges or that part will overcook before the center firms up. So after you spread it out, go around the edges with your finger and push the thin part inwards to even it up.
4) Bake until the center is no longer soft, about 15-18 minutes. If it starts to get more than a little brown around the edges, remove from oven. Let cool completely - it will continue to crisp up.
5) Break into pieces.

Note: Some cooks rolled the dough into balls and then flattened them with a cup measure.

I mix all the dry ingredients together, add the water and mix it all together. This forms a "ball of dough" which I form into a rectangular disc and place on a silicone baking pad in the middle of a cookie sheet. (If I didn't have the silicone pad, I would place the "disc" on a sheet of parchment paper big enough to cover the cookie sheet.) Then I cover the disc with another sheet of parchment, again big enough to cover the cookie sheet, and I roll out the "dough" between the two sheets with my rolling pin until it is approximately 1/8 of an inch thick. The rolled product covers nearly all of the cookie sheet. Rolling the dough between the two sheets allows the rolling pin to glide evenly without sticking, so getting it to 1/8 of an inch is much easier. Then I simply remove the top sheet of parchment, and bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes. I set my cook timer for 15 minutes, and then WATCH the sheet of cracker VERY carefully, and AS SOON as the edges become dark, OUT of the oven it comes.

Here's another hint. Sometimes, when the outer edges are beginning to brown, the middle is not quite done. What I like to do, once the giant cracker has cooled, is to take the "softer" middle of the cracker and put it back in the turned-off oven. This helps to dry that middle so it will be nice and crunchy.

One of these giant crackers is supposed to be broken into smaller pieces and served with hummus or some other dip. In my family, this almost never happens, because breaking off pieces of the giant cracker is so irresistable when it is cooling, half of it is gone before we know it.

Maybe I should prepare two recipes.