BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Sophisticated Solo Snacking

19 Comments

Holiday season firmly behind us, the time of endless parties and merriment may have passed, but even as we enter the frigid month of January, I’m unwilling to fully surrender to that immense shift. Winter hibernation beckons invitingly, yet the inertia of both work and play pulls me forward, with little conscious decision on my part. Once the wheels start spinning, they can’t simply stop at the drop of a hat, much like my restless mind that continues to churn away. Always coming up with the perfect come-back hours or days too late, it’s the same phenomenon that provides inspiration for recipes that would have been ideal for occasions that have already come to pass.

Thankfully, a raucous celebration is not required to enjoy a slightly more sophisticated snack than the norm, and it’s probably recommended that you enjoy such a savory treat far from the maddening crowds. Bringing together the nutty, toasted notes of hazelnut with herbaceous rosemary, these simple crackers are perhaps more addictive than such a small batch should allow. Horde them if you must, because I guaranteed they’ll fly fast if served to company.

Despite the wild success of such a simple crunchy snack, it’s hard to eat many dry crackers plain. Crackers are always accompanied by dip in the best of circumstances, complimenting and contrasting the crisp texture. Inspired by the tried-and-true beet marmalade we serve at Health in a Hurry, I whipped up a golden version to serve on the side. A bit more like a chutney than a spread, the sweetness of caramelized onions and apple cider mellow the earthy flavors of gold beet in a mild but flavorful harmony. Lest that fools you into thinking this is one boring accompaniment, don’t forget about the surprising kick of cayenne that sneaks up out of the blue, rounding things out nicely.

It’s for the best that we move away from the relentless holiday demands. A few quiet nights at home with more intimate parties of one or two, with a nice, carefully assembled snack platter sound much more appealing anyhow.

Hazelnut-Rosemary Crackers

1 Cup Raw Hazelnuts
1/4 Cup Whole Flax Seeds, Ground
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespoon Tamari or Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Black Sesame Seeds (Optional)

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees, and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silpat.

Pulse the hazelnuts in your food processor until ground down to a fine meal, with as few coarse chunks as possible. It’s helpful to start with frozen nuts for the best texture, to prevent them from warming up and turning to nut butter. If they threaten to cross that line, just pause and move the bowl of the food processor into the fridge to cool down before proceeding.

Grind the flax seeds down to a powder separately, in a coffee or spice grinder. Add the flax meal to the food processor, along with all of the remaining ingredients except for the sesame seeds. Pulse to combine. Once smooth, transfer the mixture to your prepared baking sheet, and use lightly moistened hands to flatten it out slightly. Top with a second silpat or parchment paper, and roll out to about 1/8th of an inch in thickness. This second sheet will help prevent the “dough” from sticking to your rolling pin, without the need for added flour.

Score the sheet of soft cracker dough into equal rectangles or diamonds, and lightly sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Press the seeds in gently with the palm of your hand to ensure that they stick. Bake for a total of 80 minutes, rotating the baking sheet every 20 minutes to ensure even browning. Let cool completely (they will continue to crisp as they cool) and then break along the scored lines. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

If you’d prefer a raw snack, simply spread the mixture on a teflex or other non-stick sheet instead, and dehydrate until crisp. Your mileage/timing may vary.

Yield varies depending on size and shape of your crackers, but makes approximately about 4 servings.

Gold Beet Marmalade

1 Pound Gold (Yellow) Beets
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Small Red Onion, Diced
1/3 Cup Apple Cider or Unfiltered Apple Juice
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black Pepper, to Taste

First things first, roast the beets: Wrap your beets in aluminum foil so that they’re completely covered in a neat little pouch, and place them on a baking sheet to catch any potential drips. Cook in an oven preheated to 450 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes, until fork tender. Let rest until they’re cool enough to peel.

Meanwhile, heat up the oil in a medium skillet on the stove, over medium-low heat. Introduce the diced onion and stir frequently, until soften, not browned, and a golden caramel color. This will take anywhere from 15 – 30 minutes, so keep a close eye on the pan. Turn off the heat and let cool.

Introduce both the peeled beets (cut down to slightly more manageable chunks if they were huge roots to begin with) and the caramelized onions in the food processor, along with the remaining ingredients. Pulse to combine, until the beets are broken down to very small, coarse pieces, but not pureed into a smooth spread. Though the marmalade is best if allowed to chill and mellow for at least an hour, it’s perfectly tasty eaten right away.

Makes 2 – 3 Cups Marmalade

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

19 thoughts on “Sophisticated Solo Snacking

  1. Your crackers sound awesome! I think I could eat a ton of those plain. That’s probably as weird as the fact that I am looking forward to January every year, especially to the cold days. But we aren’t having any cold days yet and I am kind of disappointed

  2. I love hazelnut, Cracker made out of it even better. Yum.

  3. We just discovered the wonders of chickpea flour crackers in our house – my husband would go crazy for hazelnut!

  4. Crackers sounds so good:) :) Never seen golden beets before:) :) :)

  5. I love the idea of making something sorta special just for you to snack on. Winter can be long and you have to treat yourself well! I would munch these crackers in a quiet moment while looking at an interesting book.

  6. Sound so delicious and look amazing!

  7. Yeah, this seems like the kind of thing i wouldn’t want to share with family and friends anyway. So I think it’s better that it’s a little bit late. :P

  8. I love the little hearty crackers along side a crunchy healthy salad with lots of nuts and pesto sauce. Yum!

  9. My last post was all about how big a snacker I am. I don’t eat much gluten or wheat these days but miss the ease of crackers and dip. I am so happy to see wheat free crackers AND a beautiful and inventive dip that isn’t hummus! So excited to try this.

  10. You blow me away, Hannah, every time. Every time. You’re right, this would be perfect for a quiet night in with dear family or friends. And, to be honest, that’s my favourite kind of night, always. One day, with you. xo

  11. Absolutely delicious Hannah. Perfect for my January mantra of moderation!

  12. If I give you my address, would you send me some? ;) I bet a sweet version of these with cocoa powder would be swoon worthy too :)

    • I hadn’t even considered the possibility of a sweet version, but that is brilliant! Cocoa is such a perfect paring with hazelnuts, and I bet they would be awesome with just a pinch of coarse salt sprinkled on top… Oh man, now I -have- to try it!

  13. Yum! Love the golden beet marmalade – I have a feeling I would gobble that goodness up on everything! Thanks for sharing :)

  14. dont know which one i like better. i think the marmalade.. beet and onions yes!

  15. This is probably the most beautiful solo snack I’ve ever seen! The crackers are such a flavorful base, but that marmalade really takes this snack over the top.

  16. these crackers are devine. To me they taste more like a dessert than a cracker. Will definitely make them again and pass on the link to all of my friends.

  17. I looove beets and that beet marmalade sounds amazing! And I’m always into homemade crackers. Yumm.

  18. Pingback: Hazelnut-Rosemary Crackers From Bittersweet | Killer Bunnies, Inc

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