Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Herbed Almond Crackers ~ Grain-free, Gluten-free, and Paleo!

Let me get right to the point. This cracker . . . this gluten-free, grain-free, delicious, wonderful, well-keeping, amazing cracker is my latest favorite thing to come out of my oven. I'm not kidding. And I'll be honest with you, I wasn't sure where we were headed at first.
Personally speaking, I'm not on a gluten-free, grain-free, or vegan path. But as a runner in mid-training cycle, I do try to make my carbs count. And I'm always on the lookout for good sources of protein so I don't have to pretend I like snacking on water-packed tuna. That's right, I snack. I like snacks; snacks make me happy. Bad snacks, ugly snacks, snacks engineered by robots make me less happy.
These crackers, therefore, absolutely send me. Why? First of all, they're so good I have to hide them from myself. Actually, not really, but I do have to ration them or I'll eat them all (it's not a huge batch, but still). Second, they're easy to make. No, seriously, they are. Third, they're good for you: nuts, seeds, a little olive oil. Did I mention that they're incredibly good? They have this hard-to-describe texture that's so, so addictive. Imagine some really delicious nuts seasoned with your favorite seasonings but in a cracker form. Mercy.

And if you happen to know someone who is on a gluten-free (or grain-free or paleo or primal), well . . . you better make two batches because you are about to become that person's new BFF.
Herbed Almond Crackers
  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of za'atar* or your favorite blend of herbs or spices
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling, optional
  1. Combine almond meal, salt, za'atar, and sesame seeds in a medium mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together water, egg white, olive oil, and sesame oil. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until a stiff dough forms and all dry ingredients are moistened.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll out to an even thickness of about 1/8 inch. Transfer parchment-covered dough to a sheet pan and remove the top piece of parchment. Use a pizza wheel or a pastry wheel to trim the uneven edges of the dough, then cut the sheet of dough into cracker-size squares.
  3. If desired, sprinkle crackers with kosher salt and place in oven. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let crackers sit inside oven for an additional 10 minutes, until golden. Remove baking sheet from oven and let crackers cool completely before storing in an airtight plastic container.
Recipe Notes
  • You can purchase almond meal (also called almond flour) or make your own. To make it, just process blanched whole or slivered almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Do not overprocess or you'll end up with almond butter.
  • Za'atar* is a wonderful Middle Eastern spice blend made up of roasted thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. I purchase mine loose, from a bulk jar, at the health food store. If you purchase it prepackaged, checked the ingredient list carefully ~ some brands may include wheat flour.
  • Feel free to experiment with other herbs and spices. Chili, curry, rosemary, herbes de Provence, and cumin are all good choices.


Missy said...

These look wonderful ~ and you know who will like them too. I love Za'atar seasoning. Hope you and your family are doing well. Miss you very much.

Sandy Smith said...

Missy!! I hope she does like them. :) I miss you too ~ I think of you all the time. Drop me an e-mail sometime!!

Jessica's Dinner Party said...

I'm dying to try these at home! I've been eating a lot of cracker-esque carbs like those sold by Wasa, but wouldn't it be better to make my own at home??! Thanks!

In Krista's Kitchen said...

I'm going to have to take a stab at making these! My fiance likes to fancy himself as a paleo-dieter (even though I'm certain that no one at fruit gushers back then), and he is getting tested for celiac disease soon. Whether or not he needs to stop eating gluten, I'm going to make these anyway!

Sandy Smith said...

Krista ~ Fruit Gushers ~ hahaha! Let me know what you think if you try these. I have a few friends who are either GF or paleo so I do lots of adapted recipes. These crackers are one of my faves. :)

Sandy Smith said...

Jessica ~ I hope you try them ~ so easy to make and really yummy. Plus you can customize them with whatever flavors you enjoy. :)

Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

Those look great!

megi said...

These look fantastic! I am bookmarking this recipe and will definitely make it this weekend. Thank you for sharing.

AnjasFood4Thought said...

What a wonderful recipe. The nuts, the za'atar. Beautiful!!!!! Will make these very soon. Thanks for sharing.

Mel H. said...

Just made a batch of these... they are fantastic. I can't wait to start experimenting with other seasonings.

girlichef said...

I'm convinced! Although I'm not on any of those paths, either...I see no reason why I shouldn't enjoy those foods and have a few good---and one excellent---recipe under my belt ;) Bookmarking!!

mdawg said...

I found this recipe via Serious Eats. I made them--they're amazing. I'll definitely be adding your blog to my bookmarks! Thanks!

Sandy Smith said...

So glad you liked these! I just made another batch . . . :)

Thanks, too, for taking the time to comment!


AgentJenny said...

Sounds really yummy! I'm definitely going to try these!

resistantnikki said...

These look fantastic! Been obsessed with gluten-free crackers lately. Just linked to this post from my blog.

Thanks for sharing!

Amanda said...

I made these yesterday and I absolutely LOVE them. I left out the za'atar and instead added a tiny bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. I also swapped 1 tbsp sesame seeds for flax seed. And to make things easier (or "rustic" ha), I just baked it as one big sheet and then just broke it into pieces after cooling. I am loving these with cheese, cottage cheese and preserves, and on their own with tea. Thanks so much for the recipe!

EAT! said...

So glad I found this recipe. I have a personal chef client that is always asking for new crackers to try and this will be perfect.

Unknown said...

I am currently in the process of making these and have not been able to get a dough from 1 egg white and 2 tbsp of water in the recipe, it is still very dry and does not stick together at all. What do you suggest?

Sandy Smith said...

Hmm. I haven't had trouble getting it to bind. Have you added the oil? What type of almond meal are you using? If it's too coarse (home ground), you might have trouble.
Anyone else have suggestions?

Anonymous said...


Looking forward to try this recipe. :) How long will they last and would they be fine to put in the freezer?

Sandy Smith said...

These will last in a tightly sealed container at room temp for about a week ~ more if the room is cool, less if it's July-in-Texas hot. They freeze very well and take only about 5 mins to defrost completely.
Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy them!

Mommy2Oli&Ali said...

Just made these, super awesome.

Anonymous said...

These came out so tasty, thank you for posting!!! I didn't have parchment paper, but a well greased baking sheet seemed to do the trick, though I doubt I got as perfect squares as I may have with the paper.

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