Monday, May 21, 2007

Half-Baked Flax Seed Crackers

Flax seed crackers have begun appearing in shops and restaurants devoted to raw food, or “live foods” as they are known by some devotees. I remain personally committed to cooking, but I have had some thrillingly delicious raw things at places like Quintessence, Counter, and Caravan of Dreams. So far, I haven’t tried this at home. Raw food demands a very labor-intensive cuisine, since you must provide with brute force, high technology, or time the civilizing influence that high heat miraculously brings to almost all food-products. In this sense, raw food is not really raw at all, at least not in the structuralist sense.

Even if you do cook on the high side of 116 degrees Fahrenheit, the upper limit for the raw food-folks, flax seeds are worth trying. They may even be miraculously healthy.

This recipe is adapted from Charlie Trotter’s Raw. My version is not raw; I baked these in my oven on a low setting rather than in a dehydrator as the original recipe directs. I almost never learn about a new kind of kitchen appliance without knowing deeply in my soul that I must have one of my very own, but somehow, I am perfectly willing to make due without a dehydrator for the foreseeable future. These crackers are easy to prepare. You just need to give them time for one long initial soaking and two stretches in the oven.

Flax Seed Crackers

You will need two half-sheet pans, or the equivalent, and two full sheets of baking parchment. Fold each of the parchment sheets in half, and lay one in each of the half sheet pans.

1 ¼ cup flax seeds

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or roasted chile powder

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon garam masala

Soak the seeds in two cups of water eight hours or overnight. Combine all the ingredients in a processor and grind for several minutes. Scrape half of the batter onto each of the prepared half-sheet pans, and use an offset spatula to spread the mixture 1/8 inch thick over the baking parchment. There will be just enough to cover two half-sheet pans. Place in a very low oven (about 200 F) for twenty minutes. Then turn off the ovens and leave the sheets in the warm oven overnight. In the morning, unfold the parchment, refold it with the flax seed sheet in the middle, and peel off the part stuck to the giant cracker, which will now have a texture sort of like fruit-leather. Cut it into cracker shapes (I used a pair of scissors) and lay the crackers on the remaining half of parchment. Bake at 200 for another twenty minutes, turn off the oven and leave the pans inside until dinnertime, or until you need to use the oven again. The crackers will become very thin and crisp.

These crackers go very well with hemp seed hummus, classic hummus, chicostle salsa, or this hemp seed tabouli (translation pending)

Sweetnicks will be rounding up other miraculous preparations.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Allison said...

I have made flax seed crackers and like them quite a bit. I am not a raw "fanatic"- These days I think whole foods are more important to me. Flax seeds, "half baked" or not, are healthy and with the right seasonings make great crackers. Thanks for the photos and the post

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

In looking for a recipe for my first attempt at making flax crackers, I ran across yours. It looks wonderful, easy, and I can't wait to try it! Thanks for the easy instructions, and I'm looking forward to them.

1:48 AM  
Blogger Alison Levitt MD said...

Sounds delicious....Just wondering if baking the crackers made with flax seeds kills the enzymes and also
how does it affect the omega-3s?

4:33 PM  

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