Nothing ruins fabulous cheese like a bad cracker or toast. The cracker flavor can overpower and distract from the cheese or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, contribute nothing to the flavor sensation you were hoping to achieve with a expensive wedge of artisan cheese.
Recently I attended a dinner party where I tasted the most amazing cracker, called Raincoast Crisps. They were filled with small nuts and seeds, were perfectly toasted, and acted as a rich canvas for some goat cheese and dried dates. I ate them slowly, using much restraint to appear as the proper dinner guest who “nibbles” rather than “inhales”, but the idea of how well they would pair with other soft cheeses increased my determination to go out and buy a whole box to eat in one sitting.
I am told they run about $9 a box, which honestly seems worth it to me for how much I enjoyed them, but they are very hard to find outside of Canada. In Oregon, they are carried solely at Whole Foods. That doesn’t work for us because we are currently boycotting Whole Foods due to their interactions with New Seasons Market, our local and wonderful natural food store chain. If you want to read more about that, go to the New Seasons Market Blog. In the mean time, I am crisp-less.
After some digging online I found a recipe on a site called Vitamin Daily that tries to replicate the Raincoast Crisp. It wasn’t perfectly the same and if Lesley Stowe starts wider distribution I would be happy to purchase their crisps. Still, this recipe made one hell of a cracker! I’ve never made crackers from scratch and it was surprisingly simple and economical, with my ingredients bought in bulk coming to about $3 total. Here is the recipe:
Combine in a bowl:
1/2 C white flour
1/4 C flax or wheat germ
1/4 C sesame seeds
1/4 C poppy seeds
1/4 C sunflower seeds, chopped
1/4 C pecans, chopped
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brown sugar
In a saucepan, over low heat, for less than one minute, combine:
1/4 C buttermilk
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
Gradually add wet ingredients to dry until dough just starts to hold together (you may not need all the liquid or may need a pinch more flour). Roll as thinly as possible between two sheets of parchment paper and bake on a cookie sheet in slow oven (250 degrees) for one hour.
After 30 minutes, take off top sheet of parchment paper.
When one hour is up, turn off oven with crisps still inside and forget about them.
You’ll arrive home at 6 p.m. to a sheet of perfect crisps to break into bite-sized pieces.
After I was all finished, I made myself a plate of the fresh crackers, some goat cheese and dried dates. We settled into a movie with some NW microbrew and enjoyed a long evening of comfort. I’m embarrassed to say just how much goat cheese I ate, so maybe I’ll just say the crackers made me do it?