Cookies are great but so are crackers


Poma Bread – not quite a cracker, a little like Pita Bread. This is the last few of try number two at making crackers.

 The Gumbo File works so well as an emulsifier in the Molasses or Chocolate Cookies that it likely would help hold a crumbly cracker together too. If and when I set up my kitchen again here is a draft version of the cookie recipe as a potential cracker recipe – the exact amount of water/soup stock that would be needed would need to be determined by the texture of the dough.

Crackers are rolled out and cut into shape or pressed very thin before being baked. Some leavening with baking soda is traditional in the popular white flour square “Soda” crackers that are served with soups or topped with sliced cheese or other toppings. The gluten protein found in wheat flour and a few other flours forms a fibrous fabric like structure in a kneaded bread dough or cracker dough. Gluten free baking requires some other type of fiber to help form the fabric like structure that traps bubbles of air from the baking soda leavening long enough to be baked into an airy crisp texture. Whether or not Gumbo File could help serve the purpose would be an experiment. Gluten free crackers tend to be crisp and flat with only some airiness depending on the type of ingredients used.

Try number two is the same basic recipe as follows except I didn’t use any coconut oil or extra water. For liquid and added oil content I used a 13.5 ounce can of Organic Coconut Milk – full fat version, creamy instead of watery, 14 grams fat/2 grams carbohydrate per 1/3 cup. Try number two was baked in an oven set at 375’F for 20-30 minutes, Switch pans from top to bottom rack at 20 minutes bake time. Let cool on a wire rack and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator – they have a taste and texture similar to Pita Bread except are more the size and shape of crackers. Gluten free baked goods tend to fall apart more easily than gluten products and don’t hold air from leavening as well. When I try the recipe again I will go with the shorter bake time rather than attempting to get a crisp dry cracker – the recipe is not producing that quality but does make a moist square flat bread that is good with hummus bean dip or peanut butter type spreads.

Basic Cracker recipe draft

*Try number one worked basically. I had less coconut flour on hand and made up the difference with more of the other flours to equal a similar amount and I added about 3/4-1 cup of coconut oil and 1 1/2 cups water to make a cookie like dough. Making a single batch with half the ingredients would be easier to shape. I pressed rounds of dough flat in extra almond meal and they puffed slightly but remained moist inside with a skillet cooking. A longer slower baking might make them more cracker like instead of like a moist flat bread. Extra water in the dough to make a thinner batter would likely work for pancakes.

– the use of cardamom is somewhat of a pepper replacement and whether I used it or some other savory seasonings could be modified for a variety of cracker flavors if the basic recipe worked.

Dry ingredients, stir together in a large bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups Coconut Flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Almond Meal
  • 1 cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cardamom Powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

Emulsifier step- gently heat Pomegranate Extract or Juice to a simmer in a saucepan then remove from heat and stir in the Gumbo File Powder.

  • 1 1/2 cups Pomegranate Extract or Vegetarian Soup Stock or Water (If Pomegranate Extract is not used then add 4 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice later – when the rest of the liquid is added. Baking Soda requires an acidic ingredient in the recipe which Pomegranate Extract provides.)
  • 6 Tablespoons Gumbo File Powder

Wet ingredients – in a another large bowl combine the thickened warm emulsifier liquid with the Brown Sugar and then stir in half of the remaining juice. Reserve part of the juice to add to the dry ingredients after first mixing in the emulsifier/sugar mixture. (This method is more like making a cake than a cookie, you combine small amounts of the liquid at a time for a smooth cake batter that is not over-stirred. In a kneaded bread dough or traditional Soda Cracker recipe the goal is to fold the dough repeatedly in somewhat regular motions and directions in order to ‘weave the fabric’ of the gluten structure. In gluten free baking without gluten the fiber network is not as regular and gentle handling and folding might support some leavening air bubbles but the traditional kneaded structure is not really possible. The goal with cake batter is to gently support a more delicate sponge like texture for air bubbles without a tough fabric dough formation.)

  • 2 1/2 cups Vegetarian Soup Stock or Water
  • (4 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice if Pomegranate Extract is not used)

The dough should be moist and able to be rolled or spooned into a sticky round shape that doesn’t crumble – a soft playdough-like consistency.

Sprinkle a counter top with some brown rice flour and roll the dough into a thin 1/8th to 1/4 inch thick sheet and cut into squares – or roll spoonfuls of dough into rounds and then flatten on a surface that is sprinkled with brown rice flour or sprayed with oil using a flat glass or plate. Place the crackers on a baking sheet that is covered with oil or sprinkled with brown rice flour. Brush the surface of the crackers with a lightly salted water mixture. Bake at 400’F for about 20 minutes, rotating the pans at a half way point, or until crispy.

Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. While I am a Registered Dietitian it is not intended to provide individualized health care guidance. Please seek an individual health care professional for the purpose of individualized health care guidance.


Orange Buckwheat Cake tastes a little like rainbows

This is a quick bread with ratios similar to a rich muffin or cake like brownie. Oat flour may have traces of gluten but it helps reduce the crumbliness of buckwheat, millet and corn flour products.
  • I have been focusing on developing recipes that use less commonly used ingredients that are rich in phospholipids and other nutrients. Rotating in more unusual ingredients into the weekly or monthly diet adds trace nutrients. Coconut and walnuts add variety to the types of fats in the diet. The saturated and mono-unsaturated fats benefit the diet by improving the ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids but without having to add animal based fats. Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found more in oily seeds, while olive oil has a higher ratio of mono-unsaturated fats and coconut is rich in saturated fats. Walnuts are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids to the point that excessive daily use could lead to problems with blood clotting and bruising easily.
  • The fat content of a meal also is needed for the stomach to tell the brain that the meal was satisfying and that eating could stop.
    Variety and moderation are the essential factor to a healthy diet. Using a variety of whole food ingredients in the daily diet boosts intake of trace nutrients and other phytochemicals. Many important antioxidants are also the actual pigment colors in the plant.
  • Taste a Rainbow” of fruits and vegetables is a campaign that some school lunch programs have embraced. The changes in the school lunch program had been anticipated since 2009. Registered Dietitians in larger school districts have been revamping menus since then. Student participation has been encouraged with sampling days where new vegetables or other foods are available for everyone to try even if they brought a sack lunch.
  • Produce requirements have doubled from requiring that 1 and 1/2 servings of fruit and vegetables be offered per meal to 2 servings of vegetables and one of fruit (roughly- the numbers are listed in cups).
  • The following article adds that “French Fries” that are served in school cafeterias have been baked for years and frequently are sweet potato fries. According to the following article in the magazine, Today’s Dietitian, deep fryers are not generally found in school kitchens. :  [New Standards Unveiled for School Lunches – Soon Kids Will Be Eating More Fruits, Veggies, and Whole Grains, by Lori Zanteson,  todaysdietitian Vol,. 14 No. 5, p 14]
Trial Three showing the interior texture. I ran out of frosting.

Orange Buckwheat CakeTrial 1
Makes one 8 inch by 8 inch pan, bake at 350’F for about 35-40 minutes
***This combo is good but a little dry and stringy. Commercially purchased Coconut Pecan Frosting was the perfect finish which led to Trial Two with raisins and walnut additions.

1 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Oat Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Coconut Flakes
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
2 Eggs
1/2 stick/ 4 Tbs Butter melted or 1/2 cup Oil
1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 cup Apricot Nectar or Orange Juice

Trial one and two = lots of cake to eat.

Orange Buckwheat Cake – Trial Two – I’m aiming for a variation of Carrot Cake. the coconut by itself stands out as an odd stringy texture that suddenly needs to be chewed more than the rest of the quick bread. When carrots and coconut are used with raisins or chopped nuts the combined textures and shapes blend into a mixture that makes chewing expected and more natural.

1.  Let soak while gathering the other ingredients:    Trial Three – the raisins were a little odd but the level of moistness was better.)

5.5 oz can Apricot Nectar                             2/3 cup Orange Juice

1/2 cup Golden Raisins                                 1/2 cup Coconut Flakes

1/2 cup Coconut Flakes                               1 cup chopped Walnuts or Pecans

1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

2. Whisk Dry Ingredients together:

1 cup Buckwheat Flour                               3/4 cup Buckwheat Flour

1.2 cup Oat Flour                                       3/4 cup Oat Flour

1/2 cup Sugar                                             3/4 cup Sugar

1/2 tsp Salt                                                  1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder                             1/2 tsp Baking Soda

3. Beat the eggs and oil and then add to the flour along with the soaking fruit and nut mix.

2 Eggs                                                        2 Eggs

1/2 cup Oil                                                  1/2 cup Oil

1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract                           1/2 tsp Orange Oil Extract

1 tsp Vanilla Extract                                     1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Bake King cake pans with sliders. eBay

4. Bake in a 8 in by 8 in square pan for 45 minutes or  in two 9 inch round cake pans for about 35 minutes or when they pass the clean knife blade test and the center springs up lightly when pressed.

*** I put Trial Three in two cake pans. The batter is excessive for one pan but a little short for two. Trial Four, eventually, will test a larger batch size of Trial Three to better fill two cake pans with no other modifications to the ratios or ingredients. It’s good just short and dense.

My mother used the Bake King cake pans with a center slider. Buttering or oiling the pan and then sprinkling that with flour is the traditional method for improving the chance of getting the cake out of the pan unbroken.

Some bakers trim the edges and flatten one layer before frosting.

PS – The orange extract is good with the strong flavor of the buckwheat but just the vanilla would probably also be good. I  used Apricot Nectar in Trial One and Two because it is less acidic than orange juice. If using orange juice substitute 1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda for the 1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder. The Baking Powder has an acidic component that would be unnecessary if Lemon Juice, Buttermilk or Orange Juice are used in the recipe.

PPS: The orange juice plus baking soda worked very well in Trial Three.

PPPS: This type of frosting is traditionally used on German Chocolate Cake and only the top of the layers are frosted. The crisp edges would not be trimmed away when using Coconut Pecan Icing.

  • Ovenex Cake Pans with Sliders -[link] a brand that seems comparable to Bake King. The center of the cake pans have a slider attached that cuts the cake loose from the bottom of the pan. The center of Trial Two stayed behind as I removed the cake from the square pan.