Craving a plant-based (vegan!) appetizer? A night-time nosh? A spin on the classic trashy cracker+cream Cheese+hot pepper jelly snack? Classy Hors d’oeuvre time (in other words, putting on fancy airs while getting crumbs all over one’s keyboard…..)?
Remember all that almond meal I was talking about awhile back? I believe I have found a tasty use for it in Almond Crackers. Simple, easy to make crackers. I know, I could buy a box of crackers and save a lot of effort but lets face it, most crackers are full of questionable ingredients, even organic ones. And finding vegan/plant-based diet can be hard as well. And on to it these are also gluten-free and use up a byproduct of milk making, well we have a winner!
Homemade crackers are different. They are not uniform. The edges can be crumbly. The taste is freshness. There is something to be said for knowing you put real work in to make them, instead of ripping a bag open and mindlessly munching away.
- 4 cups almond meal, finely ground
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 6 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Raw sesame seeds + fine sea salt for topping
Preheat oven to 350° and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut a third piece of parchment the same size, set aside.
Whisk the flaxseed meal and water together, let hydrate for 10 minutes, whisk until thick, beat in oil.
Add the almond meal and salt to a food processor. Add the flax/oil and run on high until mixed, it will be crumbly but saturated. Stop every 30 seconds to scrape the bottom.
Divide the mixture between the two lined sheets, evenly spread the crumbled mixture:
Cover one of the trays with the third sheet of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin or smooth drinking glass to roll it as flat as you can get it. Peel off the paper and repeat with the second sheet:
Score the crackers with a pizza wheel or thin knife into cracker shapes. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top plus a healthy handful of sesame seeds, if you desire.
Bake one sheet at a time for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on a rack, without moving the crackers. Once cool, break apart and store in an airtight container.
How many crackers? Depends on how big or small you cut yours! It makes a commercial box worth of crackers for size comparison.
I had been obsessing about serving/eating cream cheese topped with my pepper jelly and then it clicked in my mind, why not try a cashew based cream cheese? Then I could have my creamy cheese without the dairy. At first, after making it, I wasn’t so sure. The taste was strong. So I chilled it for half a day. The flavors mellowed and it thickened up. Spread on the crackers with the hot pepper jelly on top and the entire cracker transforms into a mouthful of deliciousness. I will be playing more with the cream cheese and see how it works in other recipes and try it sweet for frosting in the future as well.
Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’
- 2 cups raw cashews
- ½ cup filtered water
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1½ Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
Soak the cashews overnight in the refrigerator, drain throughly. Add them and the remaining ingredients to a high-speed blender (such as a Vitamix) and process on high until smooth, tamping as needed. Scrape into a serving dish, refrigerate for at least 6 hours for flavors to mellow.
And my Hot Pepper Jelly?
Crack a jar open and drizzle on. Then nosh away!