For the first time in Daring Baker history, we were all been handed one unique challenge that required absolutely no modifications to make it vegan, or even gluten-free, if you so desired. Finally, hundreds of skilled and passionate bakers putting down the butter and eggs to make a vegan treat! Exciting as that prospect sounded, I have to admit I wasn’t crazy about the idea of making lavash crackers. After all, crackers are crackers, and how hard is it to make crunchy, unleavened bread? Thus, I made my first critical error of underestimating this seemly simple recipe.
You see, I had never made crackers with yeast before- And why would you? Most crackers are more like savory cookies, sometimes with a pinch of baking powder or soda thrown in to lighten things up, but certainly not enough to give the dough lift. Unaccustomed to this extra element, I’m certain I let those unbaked diamonds sit for too long and therefore let them begin to rise. As a result, my crackers came out puff, crisp on the outside, but slightly soft on the inside; Much more like toasted pita bread than delicate crackers, crunchy through and though.
Such care that is necessary to go into these most basic snacks! Sadly, this was already my second attempt, having failed miserably to make my original batch gluten-free, and I wasn’t about to start it for a third time. With the oven tied up by innumerable batches of cupcakes and muffins for events, this semi-soft biscuit would have to do. Luckily, it tasted pretty darn good, despite its textural flaws. Flavored with toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, and a generous pinch of garlic powder, it hardly needed any accompaniment to be enjoyed.
Of course, the challenge also called for a dip to go alongside these savory morsels, so I decided to pair my crackers with a caramelized onion dip. Dead simple and endlessly versatile, this ended up being my favorite aspect of the assignment. Whether it was spread on toast or mashed into a twice baked potato, this stuff was worth slogging through the uncooperative crackers, and then some.
With a base of tofu, it even has decent nutritional value, and far more protein than your average onion dip. Give it a try; even if the crackers aren’t the best, you won’t even know when you dip them in this!
Caramelized Onion Dip
3 Medium Onions, Diced
3 Tablespoons Margarine
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Salt
Black Pepper, to Taste
1 12-Ounce Package Extra-Firm Silken Tofu
1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
Set a saute pan over medium heat and begin by melting the margarine. Add in the oil once the margarine is liquefied, and then dump in all of the onion, tossing to coat. Turn the heat down to medium-low, and continue to cook gently for 40 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Incorporate the spices and salt, cooking for an additional 10 minutes until amber brown and nicely caramelized. Slide the onions out onto a plate and let cool.
Pull out your food processor and completely puree the tofu, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary so that there are no lumps remaining. Blend in the mustard, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast. Finally, add the caramelized onions, and pulse to combine, making sure not to over do it so that you still have nice chunks of onions.
Transfer the dip into an air-tight container, and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld together and intensify. Serve at room temperature.