When these crackers are baking the house fills with the most marvelous scents like stepping into an old world bakery. They are crisp and firm enough to scoop up some hummus yet they are not the type that will break your teeth. When people first taste them their eyes go wide with surprise at the melody of toasted flavors that dance through their mouths.
A soft nicker of disapointment escaped his velvet lips as he swallowed the last of the Easter loaf. We wiped our damp hands on our long homemade dresses and sagged in indecision.
We had been sent to the bakery to buy the Easter Tsoureki. No small responsibility considering our parents limited budget. Only on Easter do they sell these soft, sweet loaves of bread, redolent with mahlepi and masticha. A thing of beauty, each round laminated loaf is decorated with four red-dyed hard boiled eggs.
On our way back from the bakery our little feet had carried us (in what my mom would have called “the scenic route“) to the port, where we spotted a dark brown mule staring like the The French Lieutenant’s Woman out to sea. A tear sparkled in the corner of his mournful eye and ran down his cheek. Overly sympathetic I hatched a plan to cheer him up.
“A Strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sorrow.”
-Francoise Sagan, Bonjour Tristesse
I broke off a small chunk of the holiday bread and fed it to him. He gently snuffled the tidbit in my palm and chewed it gratefully. He rallied momentarily but quickly relapsed into mulish depression. So we fed him chunk after chunk until the last crumb dusted his mouth.
Our pockets bulged with the four red eggs. In for a penny in for a pound. Surely an egg would be just the thing to help him rally. We peeled the first egg and our mule friend delicately nibbled away until there was nothing left but red shells. The money spent, the bread gone, the eggs gone and our mule no happier than when we’d found him. We two girls patted our dusty friend and headed home, with empty pockets, feet dragging at the cobbled road.
“Each day had a tranquility a timelessness about it so that you wished it would never end. But then the dark skin of the night would peel off and there would be a fresh day waiting for us glossy and colorful as a child’s transfer and with the same tinge of unreality.”
Healthful, addictive, so simple your 5 year old could make them. They last for weeks in a tin if you hide them.
- 1 cup oatmeal (I mean the oats before they are cooked)
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1/8 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup poppy seeds
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup fennel seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp dried rosemary
- 3 tsp oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup aquafaba* see note at bottom of recipe
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- zest from 2 oranges
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries optional
- 1/2 tsp turmeric optional
Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here is the thing, I know there are a ton of ingredients but feel free to really pare down the number of types of seeds. All you need do is keep the ratio of wet to dry the same and make sure you include at least one muciliginous seed like chia or flax. I have used nuts in this as well with great success. Chopped pistachios are especially pretty. Also with out the rosemary for any other dried herb and you will meet with success. Imagine mint? lovely. Okay onwards to the recipe.
Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and give it a good massage. Really get in there and work it for 1-2 minutes. Now leave it to meld for a good 20 minutes.
Place parchment paper cut to the size of your sheet pan on the counter. Smear the seed mixture over it. Now place another sheet of parchment over the top and begin to convince it to become flat. Coax it with a rolling pin by pressing and rolling out towards the edges. This takes some finesse. Sometimes I rub my open hand in a burnishing motion over the top parchment and smooth it that way. Once you have it in a rectangle roughly 26" by 18". Slip it on to the sheet pan and peel off the top layer of parchment.
Place it in the center rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently place a cutting board over the top of the crackers. Flip the whole thing and place again on the sheet pan with the down side now up. Basically you want to bake it on both sides and use what ever method of flipping works best for you.
bake another 15 minutes and remove from oven. Allow to cool. Break into shards and enjoy of pack away in a cookie tin.
*Aquafaba is the liquid left over from cooking legumes. Use canned or homemade. For my recipes I always mean fairly thick aquafaba. If you are using straight from a can just reduce it by 25%, about a 10 minute simmer on the stove. It was first discovered a french tenor named Joël Roessel. An american (at least I think he is american) named Goose Wohlt picked up the torch and furthered investigations into this magical liquid. It is seriously magical, the holy grail for vegans as they could suddenly whip up meringues and macaroons and use it in all sorts of innovative ways. There is a marvelous Facebook Group called Aquafaba (Vegan Meringues Hits and Misses). They are an amazing inclusive helpful innovative bunch of people. I highly recommend you check them out.