Caponata with Endurance crackers fresh from the cooler.
Because it is fall, and traditionally (for me) a time to cleanse (curse you watermelon sangria!), I was planning to do a cleans-y post. Mostly I needed a break from apple mania and an excuse to share the Endurance Crackers that I started making this summer and that, it turns out, are something of an Internet sensation. As far as I know they originally came from an excellent vegan site called Oh She Glows. I am very un-vegan but I love vegany things so naturally these seedy babies looked right up my alley. I made them a bunch this summer, and shared them around to universal approval from kids and adults, vegans and carnivores. They are full of good stuff and free of all the usual perps—gluten, nuts, grains, sugar.
For a fleeting moment I even thought they would pass the paleo test. But noooooooooo. Apparently chia seeds—like my beloved chickpeas and black beans—don’t make the cut. The little wonder food, secret pellets of the Incas, bearer of magical running power has a husk and therefore it’s a no-go with the cave man clan. But chia seeds are key to the whole gig because they have this crazy power of gelling things together which gives the simple mix a way to morph into a legit cracker.
Long intro. Here is the recipe, with advice and tweaks from myself and other cybercrackerphiles. There is even a sweet variation below (thank you Rowdy Baker) that is pretty tasty. And paleo peeps, I have failed you again… unless…maybe…click here and see.
Original Endurance Crackers from Oh She Glows
Yields about 22-24 large crackers
½ cup chia seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pepita/pumpkin seeds
½ cup sesame seeds
1 cup water
1 large garlic clove, finely grated (I just used my garlic press.)
1 tsp grated sweet onion
¼ tsp. kosher salt (Crazy salt is darned good too.)
Olive oil for brushing, if desired
Optional: Herbamare, kelp granules and your choice of additional spices and fresh herbs to taste. (I’ve never jumped on the kelp wagon but have tried cumin, paprika and curry as well as chopped fresh rosemary, dried oregano, cracked pepper. You get the picture. One person adds a puree of six or so dates and cinnamon for a sweet version.)
Preheat oven to 325° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the seeds together. In a separate small bowl, mix the water, grated garlic and grated onion. Whisk well.
Add the water mixture to the seed mixture; stir until thick and combined. Season with salt and optional spices/fresh herbs.
Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet with the back of a spoon (or your hands) until it’s less than ¼” thick.* It may be little runny, but just keep smoothing. If it becomes too thin in parts, just patch them up. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Loosen with a long flat spatula or pizza peel, cover with another greased or parchment lined cookie sheet, and invert. Alternatively cut into smaller squares and flip. Don’t worry if it breaks in a few places. They’re crackers, right?
At this point, you can deeply score the surface into whatever size crackers you like (diamonds are shmancy. Rectangles and squares are perfectly fine.) This is also when you can go pro and brush the surface lightly with oil to make them nice and crispy.
Bake for another 30 minutes, watching closely after about 25 minutes. The bottoms with be lightly golden in color. Allow to cool completely on the pan and break into pieces. Store in a covered container. They freeze well too.
*Newbie cracker maker? Make it even easier on yourself by using two baking sheets and forming smaller, easier to flip rectangles.
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
½ cup raw sesame seeds
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
½ cup raw chia seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup water
5 ounces dark (at least 70% cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup raisins (optional)
Prepare as above through final cooking and then:
Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with the chopped chocolate. Wait a few minutes and then spread with a flat spatula. Sprinkle with raisins if desired.
When the chocolate has hardened (you may refrigerate it if you wish, to hurry it along) break into pieces and store in an airtight container.
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