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A Gluten-Free Cracker With a Few Tricks (and a Banana) Up Its Sleeve

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The idea for these crackers came from working on a completely unrelated project with very strict guidelines (dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free, and the list goes on)—one that took me several months to complete, instead of the one month that I had predicted. Ouch, right? But, there was a bonus for all of the hard work and frustration. A few months in—still doggedly determined to complete the assignment—I scribbled a questioning note to self in the margins of the umpteenth version of the umpteenth recipe-in-progress: “If this gets finished in my lifetime, pivot here to make delicious grain-free crackers?” (I’ll let you draw your conclusions about the lesson in all of this.)

Take a bunch of these to your picnic; be the picnic star.
Take a bunch of these to your picnic; be the picnic star. Photo by Bobbi Lin

You are probably thinking that a combo of cooked garbanzo beans, banana, and buckwheat should produce some pretty weird crackers. It doesn’t, but before I get to that, let me crow over the fact that the dough holds together—even without gluten from wheat flour, or flax meal, or xanthan gum—and bakes beautifully. And yes, the flavors—including walnuts and turmeric—work beautifully too. The crackers are tenderly crunchy, with a little flaky salt and fennel seeds on top. They are hard to stop eating. I can envision endless variations—just swap the nuts, swap the beans, and swap the spices to get a slew of new crackers with different flavor profiles. Meanwhile, the dough is foolproof: Pulse nuts in a food processor with the other dry ingredients until the nuts are the consistency of a coarse meal, and then add and process the remaining ingredients until the whole business looks like dough.

Why You Should Buy Baking Tools at the Hardware Store
Why You Should Buy Baking Tools at the Hardware Store

The biggest challenge to making these crackers might be rolling the dough evenly—from center to edge—a scant 1/8-inch thick, so that they bake evenly and come out crunchy. I have two tips for making that happen: use 1/8-inch dowels, or even your smartphone cord, as guides for rolling the dough, then remove the guide and roll the sheet just a tad thinner, making sure not to roll over the edges of the dough at any point. Finally, if crackers are not completely dry and crunchy after baking and cooling completely—slide the tray back in the oven and bake them again for a few minutes at 300° F, as suggested in the recipe! That’s all there is to it. I find these addictive and I hope you will too.

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Chickpea and Buckwheat Crackers with Turmeric and Fennel

Af749f95 c306 4400 900d aa681242d56b  alice.medrich.deborah.jones 360x360 Alice Medrich
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Makes about 60 2-inch crackers
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (165 g) buckwheat “hot" cereal (see note)
  • 2/3 cup (66 grams) walnut pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (use 1/4 teaspoon if garbanzo beans are salted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (220g) cooked, drained, garbanzo beans (chickpeas); canned (low-sodium) is fine
  • 1/3 cup (80g) mashed ripe banana (no need to mash if you weigh it)
  • Salt (fine or flaky) and pepper (from grinder)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons white or black sesame seeds
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Tags: crackers, buckwheat, picnics, cheese plates