Armed to the teeth with various sweets and savories, the majority of our carry on luggage is typically composed of snacks. Considering this impressive stockpile, you’d think it was in preparation for a trip to a desert island or third world country. Rest assured, most won’t even be touched when all is said and done, but to ensure a happy trip, it’s critical for me to over-prepare and over-pack when it comes to the food. As soon as that plane lands 7 or 8 hours later, the biggest hurdle will be out of the way and an abundance of vegan options will again be available, but until then, there’s no telling what kind of inedible slop might be served. Sure, it may not be a big deal for some people to omit meals and go without, but trust me, you do not want to see me hungry; I do not take it well, to put it lightly. And for the sake of the people sitting next to me, I’ve learned to take matters into my own hands.
Through trial and error, I’ve found that simple snacks tend to work best in these situations; something easy to eat, not too messy, and not temperature specific. That means granola bars, rice cakes, trail mix, and crackers. Crackers are a dime a dozen really, and there are some seriously tasty options in even the most underwhelming markets these days, so why go through the trouble of making your own? Because they’re fast and simple to whip up, and endlessly customizable. Tell me, where else are you going to find smoky vegan “cheese” crackers, with just a hint of spice?
The tiny extra effort is absolutely worth it, whether you’re preparing for a long flight or just a day at home. Plus, as an added bonus, making these gave me the opportunity to play around with the latest vegan cheese product, and clean out the fridge a bit at the same time.
And if you’re not packing up and taking off somewhere, these babies are the perfect base for homemade Ritz Bitz-like cracker sandwiches (but better!) Just use a tiny dollop of leftover “cheese” spread between two crackers, and eat immediately. Unlike the originals, these are nowhere near as shelf stable- Which I happen to think is a good thing, quite frankly.
Smoky, Spicy “Cheese” Crackers
4 Ounces (Half a Container) “We Can’t Say It’s Cheese” Hickory-Smoked Cheddar-Style Spread
1 Tablespoon Whole Flax Seeds, Ground
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Cup White Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt (or 3/4 Teaspoon Table Salt)
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Sweet Paprika
1/8 Teaspoon Turmeric
Pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. Set aside.
Place the “cheese” spread, ground flax seeds, and olive oil in your stand mixer or food processor, and mix briefly to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the remaining dry ingredients, until the mixture is homogeneous and the spices are well distributed. Add this whole mixture into the mix of wet ingredients, and start your mixer on a low speed if using; pulse your food processor to combine. Allow the machine to run until the mixture comes together into a smooth, cohesive dough. It may take some time, so be patient, and do not add extra liquid to the dough.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out very thin, to about 1/8th of an inch. Use any cookie cutter you desire. I like smaller crackers to nibble on, so I used a 1 1/2-inch round fluted cookie cutter. Transfer cut crackers to your prepared baking sheets, and re-roll scraps, cutting more crackers, until the dough is used up. Bake each sheet individually for 10 – 15 minutes, until very so slightly puffy and dry to the touch. They won’t really brown, so don’t panic if they don’t become golden around the edges. Let cool completely on the sheets, and store in air-tight containers at room temperature.
Yield Varies Depending on Cookie Cutter, but Approximately 70 – 80 Crackers if Using a 1 1/2-Inch Round Fluted Cookie Cutter