Another year and another Christmas come and gone. Hopefully you had a great Christmas. I did. It was the first year my daughter really understood (I think) what was going on. She had been asking for a “dolly” for months, and of course she got it. Funny thing is, it is the present she has played with the least. Of course, I can’t forget the food. I cooked for my husband, his Mom and sister and my finicky toddler. I made ham, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, and Brussels Sprouts. Yummy! Leftovers went pretty fast.
With all the hubbub that is Christmas, it’s easy to forget that another major holiday is just around the corner. Not that I really celebrate New Year’s very much (or very wildly) anymore. But I do like cooking a nice meal and hanging out with loved ones, ideally playing some sort of board game and maybe having a couple of beverages. Of course, to accompany those beverages, one needs snacks. And there is nothing better than a few types of cheese, maybe some nice cured meats and fancy crackers to serve it all with to snack on.
These crackers were my absolute favorite when I lived in Canada. Sure they were a bit on the pricey side, but they were relatively easy to find and so, SO good! Here in Wisconsin, you can still find them occasionally, but at an even heftier price tag ($8/(small) box, really???) and because they’ve traveled so far, many wind up crushed. So imagine my excitement the other day when I was browsing through one of my favorite cookbooks the other day and saw a recipe for a very similar looking cracker. I made them ASAP. I changed up the recipe just a little bit, to make them more like my favorite flavor – Cranberry Hazelnut Crackers. The result was excellent!
Before I needed cheap and high quality access to my favorite addictive crackers, I never would have considered making crackers from scratch. I mean, who does that, right? But seriously, it’s hardly any more difficult than making muffins. You just mix up the batter as if you were making muffins, then pour it into a loaf pan and bake. Where things get a little different is in the second baking stage. The most difficult part is cutting the loaves up super thin. For this you will want a good quality bread knife. Then the slices get baked again, which is when they turn into crackers.
Although I really like snacking on these just plain, I highly recommend serving them with cheese. They’re especially good with soft cheeses to counter balance their very crunchy texture. Plain or herbed goat cheese is my favorite. Definitely add them to your New Years eve cheese platter – but hide some away for yourself too. They will be gone fast!
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups buttermilk
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 cup dried cranberries (see note)
- ¾ cup whole hazelnuts (see note)
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup flaxseeds, ground
- 2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 8x4" loaf pans with canola oil.
- Stir together whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl or large measuring cup, stir together buttermilk, brown sugar and honey together. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just combined.
- Add cranberries, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, Parmesan and rosemary and stir until just incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool slightly in pans, about 5 minutes.
- Remove loaves from pans and allow to cool completely on a wire rack, several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice loaves very thinly using a sharp, serrated knife. Spread slices in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake until almost completely crisp (crackers will continue to dry and crisp while cooling). Cool on a wire rack then store in an airtight container or bag.
*Recipe adapted from Whitewater Cooks at Home