Make these at least a day ahead for the best flavor and texture.
Note: Buckwheat hot cereal is uncooked raw buckwheat groats milled to a medium coarse meal. Instead, you could use raw (not toasted) buckwheat groats processed to a meal in a food processor or Vitamix. I used Bob’s Red Mill Buckwheat hot cereal. —Alice Medrich
about 60 2-inch crackers
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons
(165 g) buckwheat “hot" cereal (see note)
(66 grams) walnut pieces
fine sea salt (use 1/4 teaspoon if garbanzo beans are salted)
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups
(220g) cooked, drained, garbanzo beans (chickpeas); canned (low-sodium) is fine
(80g) mashed ripe banana (no need to mash if you weigh it)
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat a non-convection oven to 350° F. (Adjust the temperature accordingly for a convection oven).
Put the cereal and walnut pieces in the bowl of a food processor and process until the walnuts are the same texture as the cereal. Add the baking powder, salt, turmeric, cumin and pepper and pulse to blend. Add the garbanzo beans and bananas and process to a soft sticky dough.
Put a sheet of parchment paper the size of a baking sheet on the counter in front of you. Put half of dough on the parchment and pat it into a rectangle about ½ inch thick. Place a sheet of wax paper or cut-open plastic bag on top and roll the dough (with a straight, not tapered, rolling pin) into a rectangle slightly less than 1/8 inch thick (reality check: your Phone cord is 1/8th thick)—or about 9” by 13” (or the equivalent). Peel back and remove the wax paper. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Score (all the way through) with a bench scraper or a knife to make square or rectangular crackers. Sprinkle the surface evenly with a couple very small pinches of salt—crushing flaky salt between your fingers as you sprinkle to eliminate huge flakes. Sprinkle the surface with half of the fennel seeds, then half of the sesame seeds. Grind a very small amount of pepper over it all. Roll very gently over the surface to adhere the toppings. Slide the parchment onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the second half of the dough and remaining toppings.
Bake crackers for 15 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through the time. Remove sheets from the oven and turn the oven down to 300° F. Separate the crackers on each sheet and return to the oven until golden brown, 8-12 minutes (rotating the sheets again).
Set trays on racks to cool. Cooled crackers should be crispy and crunchy, not at all chewy. If necessary, return them to a 300-degree oven for 8-10 minutes—twice-baked crackers are often the best of all!
Once cool and crisp, store crackers in an airtight container.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).