I don’t even remember the first time I made these crackers, but I do remember why. Several years ago I was perusing a health food site and stumbled on some information about raw blanched almond flour. It sounded too good to pass up so I ordered a bag of it: a 5-lb. bag. At that time this particular brand was the only source and you had to order it in bulk. I felt pretty lucky to even get it.
When my order arrived I was agog at how huge the bag was. My first thought was what on Earth was I going to do with all that flour. Keep in mind this was before the gluten-free craze and there was just a wee bit of information available on how to use it. I think I let that bag just sit in my refrigerator for a good two weeks before I finally got up the nerve to use it. Seems so silly now.
My first recipe using this new fangled flour was a version of my Italian Style Pizza with Quinoa Crust. That turned out great for the Parmesan Cheese topping but this flour was still on probation. What else could I do with it? What about crackers? Crunchy crispy crackers. But first I had some discovering to do.
I started to experiment and quickly learned that my amazing almond flour isn’t like grain flour in any sense of the word. It needs to be appreciated for what it is and used on its own terms. I think a lot of people looking to blanched almond flour as a flour substitute make this mistake and end up disappointed with the results. It took some time and a lot of practice to get in sync with my almond flour and learn how to use it correctly. Once I did, it was fairly smooth sailing with only a few bumps along the way.
Here are a few observations I’ve made over the years when using blanched almond flour. There’s a lot of information available online and in books now, so I suggest doing additional research if you’re going to be using it a lot.
Almond flour is obviously mealy (like all nut flours) which means it won’t work in recipes that need a super smooth and light consistency (like a very fine cake or sauce). No matter how long you blend or process it, it won’t ever get fine enough for the grittiness to go completely unnoticed. Understanding this will part help you a lot when it comes to making baked goods. Expect your recipes to be heavier and more solid with some texture.
Blanched almond flour (like other nut flours and nut meals) also doesn’t swell or bind like dry grain flour. Part of that is because there’s no gluten. But mainly it’s because of the fat and moisture content which both weigh it down and tend to cause separation. That means in order to get some lift (for your baked goods), you’ll have to increase the amount of the raising agents (often doubling the amount recommended). The moisture content also means you will need to control the amount of liquid you use very closely: too much and your recipe will be soggy and not bind at all; not enough and it will crumble and fall apart.
Another interesting characteristic of blanched almond flour is that is doesn’t have that strong almond flavor. That’s because the skins (which contain most of the flavor) have been removed. Whole almond meal will give you more of the flavor but then you’ll get more moisture and weight too. The subtle taste and appearance of the blanched almond flour can work in your favor if you are looking to bury it in recipes as a neutral base. But if you are thinking that a houseful of almond aroma is at hand when baking with it, or that you can simply omit that almond extract now that you have the real thing, you may find yourself a little disappointed. It’s not built that way. Once the skins are removed, a good dose of the aroma goes as well. Again, that can work in your favor if you are looking for a subtle and versatile flour.
Another thing to keep in mind when using almond flour is that your baking pans will need to be generously greased or lined with parchment paper before baking, or your recipe will most likely stick to the pan. Once baked, your recipes should cool before loosening carefully with a knife and flipping or removing. The almond flour makes your recipes a bit more fragile and can cause them to collapse, especially when warm. When making these crackers, I used a spatula to remove the crackers from the cutting board because that was when they were most fragile. Once dehydrated though, they held together just fine. It took me a while to uncover the mysteries of using this flour, and a little longer to succeed in using it. I can’t say I’ve mastered it yet but I certainly feel a lot more comfortable with my almond flour now than I used to.
One recipe that blanched almond flour really shines in is crackers. Almond crackers are ridiculously easy to make and need just a few ingredients. For these crackers, I included fresh rosemary (for its wonderful woodsy scent and anti-cancer properties) and nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor). I also mixed in some psyllium seed husk to lighten them up enough to get some crunch. The psyllium seed also helps bind the ingredients. Almond flour was the perfect backdrop for these crackers, giving them the body, texture and neutral flavor I wanted.
I then married these golden gems with a robust oregano hemp dip. The dip is creamy and smooth and reminded me a little of bleu cheese because of the subtle bite. The combination of the these crackers and dip is irresistible; a meal in itself and one that you can enjoy anytime. For the gluten and grain-free connoisseur, almond flour crackers are a welcome treat. I hope you’ll cherish and appreciate your almond flour as much as I do, and enjoy using it in these fragrant and lively crackers.
This recipe is raw and gluten and dairy-free.
Rosemary “Cheese” Crackers w/ Oregano Hemp Dip
Rosemary “Cheese” Crackers:
When rolling out the dough, you can make the crackers into whatever shape you want.
The blanched almond flour I used was more grainy than usual and worked fine for me. If you want smoother crackers, grind the flour in a nut/coffee grinder before using.
You can omit the nutritional yeast if you want, the crackers will still taste great.
You can substitute the blanched almond flour with finely ground raw macadamia nuts.
- 2 cups blanched almond flour (preferably raw if you can get it)
- 2 – 4 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 Tbsp golden flax seed oil or other oil of choice (optional)
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup psyllium seed husk
- 1/4 tsp ground paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Add all dry ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir until well blended.
- Add the wet ingredients and press with a fork, almost kneading it until it’s similar to dough. It won’t be sticky like dough but should adhere enough to form into a ball.
- Add between two pieces of parchment paper.
- Roll out with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness. I used two lightly greased solid dehydrator sheets which worked fine.
- Use a cookie cutter or other cutting utensil to create the crackers. Gather up extra dough roll out, and cut again until all the dough has been used. I ended up with 24 crackers.
- Place crackers onto a mesh dehydrator sheet.
- Dehydrate at 115 degrees until you get the consistency you want. I usually dehydrate for about 20 hours or until they snap. You can also bake at 350 degrees for 20- 30 minutes on a lined or greased cookie sheet.
- Remove and serve immediately or store refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
- Yields about 24 crackers.
Oregano Hemp Dip:
I like my dip on the more pungent side so I use lime juice. Hubby prefers it with lemon juice. I would suggest using a little lemon juice first and experimenting from there.
- 1 1/3 cups shelled hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
- few fresh oregano leaves or 1 tsp dried oregano to taste
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp sea salt to taste
- pinch of ground black pepper or ground cayenne
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender.
- Start out blending slowly, gradually building speed until the mixture is smooth. You may need to occasionally stop the blender to scrape down the sides.
- When ready, serve immediately or store refrigerated up to 5 days.
- Yields 1 cup.