I’m breathing a sigh of relief today. This past weekend we hosted a dinner party for 17 people in our cozy one-bedroom apartment. Why would we have 17 people over for dinner you may be asking yourself? Well, Sean met some amazing (and competitive) friends at school and they decided to start their own version of Dinner Party Wars. We take turns hosting a themed dinner party, complete with a 3 course meal, a signature cocktail, and a game. Sounds crazy but it’s a lot of fun. Plus the golden spatula is at stake – ok I’m a little competitive as well!
There are many different recipes for these copy-cat ‘Raincoast Crisp’ crackers floating around the internet, probably because they are so easy to make and you’ll impress your friends when you tell them you made crackers from scratch. Bonus, you can customize the ingredients and with the addition of whole grain flour and nuts and seeds they are a lot healthier than most store bought crackers on the market.
These crackers are super easy to make, but require a little planning in advance since they are baked twice like biscotti. It’s important that you allow the loaves to cool completely before you attempt to slice them into crackers prior to the second baking. I let the loaves dry out for a day or two on the counter, or if you are pressed for time you can freeze the loaf and slice them straight out of the freezer. Trust me, don’t try to slice them when they are freshly baked, you’ll end up with very thick crackers. The thinner you can slice the crackers the crispier they will be.
Ok back to our dinner party. I make these crackers as an appetizer and served them with a lemon-rosemary-olive oil marinated goat cheese and our signature cocktail. To say they were a hit would be an understatement. So, as requested by my dinner guests, here is the recipe complete with some options for making different flavours.
Cranberry Pecan Crackers
Recipe adapted from (Dinner with Julie), makes 2 loaves or ~ 8 dozen crackers.
2 cups whole grain flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper (optional)
2 cups buttermilk*
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit
1/2 cup chopped pecans or almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts or sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or dried herb of your choice
* Note: if you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by adding 2 tablespoon of lemon juice/vinegar to 2 cup of milk, allow to sit for a few minutes.
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two loaf pans with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl mix together the wet ingredients, then slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Next stir in the add-ins of your choice.
4. Divide the batter into the two prepared loaf pans.
5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and the centre of the loaves springs back.
6. Allow the loaves to cool completely. I leave them on the counter for a day or two to dry out or you can pop them into the freezer to speed up the process.
7. When you are ready to do the second baking, preheat the oven to 300° F.
8. Thinly slice the loaves using a serrated or bread knife – The thinner the better. If you’ve frozen the loaves you can slice them directly out of the freezer.
9. Arrange the slices face up on an cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the crackers half way. They should be nicely toasted and completely dried.
10. Allow the crackers to cool before storing in an airtight container.