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.

 

Cheerful Chocolate Cookies

Having chocolate cookies is likely going to be more cheerful than not having chocolate cookies, however these cookies may contain an extra helping of cheerfulness. I made another batch of the Gumbo File/Choctaw Spice/Sassafras Leaf powder Spicy Molasses Cookies http://transcendingsquare.com/2018/03/29/spicy-molasses-cookies-revisited/ with cocoa powder as the main flavoring in place of the Blackstrap Molasses. This time however I wrote out a recipe based on the latest experiment and my latest version of Chocolate Cookies. The calculations revealed that inadvertantly in doubling the batch I had forgotten to double the Baking Soda which is the actual leavening- agent in the recipe, as well as not doubling the emulsifier- the egg replacer, which was the Gumbo File Powder in the experiment and Golden Flaxmeal in my typical egg free versions.

For allergy or digestive intolerant patients it can be nice to have a few substitutions available in case they can’t have one they might still be able to have a different one. The Gumbo File seems to be a more potent emulsifier than the Golden Flaxmeal. The recipe worked with double the amount but still didn’t rise much even with the correct amount of leavening-. The lack of oil or butter and substitution of liquid instead makes the cookies more Brownie or Fudge like, very moist and dense- Energy Bites.

The pomegranate extract and pomegranate juice are likely giving the cookies their increased helping of cheerfulness mood boosting power, beyond the normal yum, it’s chocolate effects. If you want to try the recipe and don’t have Pomegranate Extract on hand then just substitute Pomegranate Juice; 100 percent, unsweetened organic, is what I used and it isn’t low cost – $12/32 ounces. The recipe as I made it this time used 2 1/2 cups juice – 20 ounces, and 1 1/2 cups Pomegranate Extract – 12 ounces; so the double batch, 92 cookies contain 32 ounces of juice/pomegranate peel extract. *Sweetened pomegranate juice would be fine to use, this is a reduced sugar recipe compared to typical cookie recipes. Cherry juice would probably also taste good in this recipe and also has medicinal/functional food benefits. 100 percent juice also means no water is added which could make a tart cherry juice too strong, I typically dilute 100 percent tart cherry juice with some water when I drink it as a beverage, and sometimes the 100percent pomegranate juice but it isn’t quite as tart as the cherry, consider either as somewhat of a concentated juice compared to the milder blends that are available which frequently are based on apple. white grape, or pear juice. Pure fructose can be more difficult for people with digestive sensitivities than a blend of fructose and glucose/table sugar, as the fructose can promote more gassiness occasionally. Smaller portions also can help, a fruit or fruit juice serving is typically four to six ounces and yet bottles sold as individual portions are frequently twelve to twenty ounces-recap it and save some for later.

The Baking Cocoa I used is the  “Dutched” type that is pre-treated with an alkali, similar to the Native American method of treating corn with alkali wood ash (Nixtamil flour) which increases the B vitamin content and helps protect against deficiency of Niacin and pellagra, Niacin deficiency. The process also may help preserve B1, Thiamin content and B2, Riboflavin content (Thiamin content of three sources of corn and arepas…. )(Beriberi- is caused by thiamin/thiamine – B1 deficiency,, the processing of brown rice into a polished low fiber white rice led to large numbers of people developing BeriBeri in early history of Asian food processing.  Thiamin). The “Dutched” cocoa powder is smoother in flavor and a little darker in color then cocoa powder that is not pte-treated with alkali. I don’t know if the B vitamin content is modified in the same way as with Nixtamil  corn flour — but somehow the combination of ingredients made a very dark chocolate cookie:

Cheerful Chocolate Cookies, baked and raw dough – no they are not overbaked.
The raw Cheerful Chocolate Cookie dough.
The baked Cheerful Chocolate Cookies are not overbaked but you have to flip one over in the oven to check the crust in order to tell if is is close to being baked enough – is it crisp with some increased darkness of color.

Dry ingredients, stir together in a large bowl:

  • 1 1/4 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 3/4 cup Cocoa Powder (Regular or “Dutched” would work similarly)
  • 2 cups Coconut Flour
  • 1 cup Almond Meal
  • 1/2 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
  • 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.)

  • 2 cups Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups Pomegranate Juice, (100 percent, unsweetened organic is what I used – with the goal of a functional/healing food in mind)

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

The Baking time is longer than for a cookie dough made with butter or coconut oil – 20-25 minutes for those became 30-35 minutes for these Brownie or Fudge like Energy Bites. I bake two pans of 24 cookies at a time and rotate the pans from top shelf to bottom shelf and turned around front to back at 20 minutes to get a more even baking. These low fat juice containing cookies then take an additional 10-15 minutes. My typical coconut oil/ butter cookies are rotated at 15 minutes and then left for another 10-15 minutes. If baking only one tray use the top shelf and rotating the pan is less important as the oven heat is directed at the top and bottom of the pan more evenly.

Most of the ingredients in this recipe may be providing beneficial phytonutrients that might help promote our own production of NRF2 which then helps promote our own anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer abilities. Health may never have tasted so good – enjoy!

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.