As a certified cheese lover, I’m always on the lookout for a good, hearty cracker. I grew up with Triscuits (and you can’t beat a Triscuit with a slice of sharp cheddar) and Carr Water Crackers, and the occasional Rye Crisp but I promise, there’s more to the cracker world.
A couple of years ago, while shopping at Whole Foods I sampled these amazing crackers called Rainforest Crisps- an amazing fruit and nut crisp that had my heart and foodie sensibilities doing backflips. These weren’t just any crackers, no. These were crisp, loaded with nuts & fruit & spice and I knew I’d found the cracker ‘Holy Grail’. Not to mention how pretty they were and with all the nuts and seeds, healthy too!! I was in love.
Except for the price. $7.99 a box for less than two dozen crackers. What on earth? They’re even more expensive on Amazon, from $12 to $15 per box. They were delicious and I bought them from time to time when visitors were coming to stay but I knew there had to be a better way.
Thank God for the internet and copy cat recipes!!! I found several recipes for Fruit & Nut Crisps, all similar, but the original source seems to be Dinner With Julie and I’ve kept the recipe pretty much the same with a few alterations. (In another world, I’d likely be a tinkerer, always seeking a way to make something a little better, a little more my own.) But kudos to Julie for her creativity!
The recipe for Fruit & Nut Crisps is super simple and I’ll give you a bunch of combinations in Kate’s Tips below the recipe.
I’m not doing my Fruit & Nut Crisps gluten free but there’s no reason why you couldn’t use a good gluten free baking mix like King Arthur Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Mix. The crackers will turn out fine! However, I am using only organic flours as it’s not always the gluten everybody has troubles with but often it’s the Glyphosate in the pesticides used that’s causing so many health issues for so many people. Here’s an article from Mercola.com explaining it better than I ever could.
I love how easy and economical it is to make a big batch of Fruit & Nut Crisps. They make a snazzy and delicious hostess gift anytime of year but especially during the holidays when everyone is on sugar overwhelm. They pair perfectly with cheese (I like to add a tiny dollop of jam or raw honey) or peanut butter or good old plain butter. I keep catching my husband eating them just plain! Enough talk. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
- 2 cups flour–I use 1 cup Einkorn flour (see Kate's Tips below) and 1 cup sprouted spelt flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 cups buttermilk–It's easy to make your own. See Kate's Tips below :)
- ¼ cup coconut or brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup whole flax seeds
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup dried fruit (I used dried cherries & figs)
- ½ cup nuts (I used pistachios)
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Stir together the flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the buttermilk, coconut sugar and honey and stir several times.
- Add the dried fruit, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.
- Pour the batter into two greased loaf pans or 6 mini loaf pans if you have them. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springs back when touched. Remove from the pans and cool completely.
- Wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm. Slice as thin as you can, between ¼ and ⅛ inch and place slices on an ungreased cookie sheet.
- Preheat oven to 325° F. and bake about 15-20 minutes. Flip slices over and bake 15-20 minutes more. Each cracker should feel crisp and be golden brown. If not give it a few more minutes.
- Cool and store in an airtight container.
Combos for Fruit & Nut Crisps
To the 1 cup of assorted seeds, add any of these combos or make up your own:
- ½ cup dried apricots,½ cup dried figs, ½ cup chopped hazelnuts, 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
- ½ cup raisins or cranberries, ½ cup figs, ½ cup pecans, zest of one orange
- ½ cup chopped dates, ½ cup golden raisins, ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup dried figs, ½ cup cranberries, ½ cup hazelnuts
- The colder the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. Mine wasn’t frozen solid so my crackers were closer to the ¼ inch.
- The original recipe says it yields 8 dozen. Honestly, unless you are a ninja slicer you’re going to get closer to 6 dozen.
- If you use the mini loaf pans your crackers will be more square than if you use bread pans like I did. I want to get these: Mini Loaf Pans, 8 Wells
- Since this makes more than one loaf, slice and bake one and keep the other in the freezer until you need it.
- Einkorn Flour is an ancient strain of wheat like our ancestors ate. Modern wheat has been hybridized to death and has truly become an almost unrecognizable form of Frankenwheat. I love that Einkorn Flour doesn’t spike your blood sugar. If I’m going to use wheat in a recipe, this is what I use. Your crackers might not rise as much but they’ll be healthier
- It’s easy to make your own buttermilk! I don’t usually have it lying around so the way to do it is simple. Just add one tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar to each cup of milk. Let it sit for ten minutes and you’re good to go!
- Feel free to use whatever nuts you like, macadamia, almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc. The same goes for seeds. Whatever combo you like should work, just make sure you keep it to one cup.
- For the dried fruit, I like to buy cranberries or cherries that are sweetened with fruit juice rather than sugar. Here are the ones I use: Eden Organic Dried Cranberries and Eden Selected Dried Montmorency Cherries
- Loads of different spices can be used in this recipe. Instead of rosemary, try cinnamon, cardamom, curry, cayenne, basil, thyme, oregano or candied ginger. Experiment and have fun!