Hazelnut Cranberry Crisps
Everyone seems to be baking up delicious goodies these days in preparation for the holidays. I feel my pants getting tighter just looking at it all. While there are plenty of recipes for cookies and other sweets out there (and everyone has their family favourites), I thought it would be nice to provide a baked treat that is a little less on the sweet side. Whenever these crackers are served, people can’t believe they are made from scatch and there are always requests for the recipe.
If you live in Canada, there is a chance you may have a $7/box addiction to Lesley Stowe’s amazing Raincoast crisps. They are certainly my favourite cracker on the market but I can’t justify buying them too often. So this recipe comes in handy and may save you a few pennies this holiday season. Making crackers is similar to making biscotti in that you make a dough, bake it, slice it and bake it again. This recipe takes some time but it is by no means difficult.
I chose hazelnuts and cranberries for this version because they are festive and local to British Columbia but there are countless tasty combinations. How about fig and olive, pecan and rosemary, date and cinnamon? This recipe has proven to be quite adaptable, so feel free to play around a bit with different flour and flavour combinations.
These crisps are highly addictive. I will admit there was a lot of quality control “taste testing” today while I was baking these and writing this post. I think I will just eat some parsley for dinner tonight, Peter Rabbit was onto something.
Hazelnut cranberry crisps go all too nicely with any kind of cheese. I chose a beautiful goat cheese from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company adorned with stunning edible flowers. A sweet reminder of warmer and brighter days.
If there are crisps left, wrap them up in cellophane bags with a pretty ribbon or in a glass jar for a homemade and delicious gift. If you are on my Christmas list you may have some hazelnut cranberry crisps in your eating future.
Hazelnut Cranberry Crisps
This recipe is adapted from a cookbook called Grazing: Portable Snacks and Finger Foods For Anytime, Anywhere by Julie Van Rosendaal and was inspired by Leslie Stowe’s Raincoast crisps. Make a large batch, bake the loaves and once they are cool freeze them to have on hand for parties or snacking.
Makes about 8 dozen crisps.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup unrefined cane sugar (Panela) or brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flaxseeds, ground
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Grease two 4″ x 8″ loaf pans and set aside. (My pans were a bit bigger than this and it worked just fine. They end up a bit longer and thinner in shape) You could also use mini loaf pans, just reduce your baking time.
In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and salt. In a smaller bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix the buttermilk, sugar and honey. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined. Add the cranberries, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds and rosemary. Stir until it just comes together.
Pour the batter into the loaf pans and bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch (they will be a bit springy). Once slightly cooled, remove from the pans and let them cool on a wire rack.
Wrap the loaves in parchment or plastic wrap and place in the fridge to really chill them. This step is really important, the cooler the loaves, the easier they are to cut very thin. You can even put them in the freezer to get them firmer.
Preheat the oven to 300F.
With a thin serrated knife, cut the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and golden. They will continue to crisp up as they cool.
It works well to bake the loaves a day ahead and then cut them and bake them the second time the following day. You can also freeze the loaves for a later date. They may need to warm up 10 minutes or so before you cut them.
Storing: the crisps are best kept in a container that is not completely airtight like a cookie tin, as they will soften up. If they happen to soften on you, toss them back in the oven to crisp them up again.
Note: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, these have been successfully made with plain yogurt.