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fennel seed flatbread crackersThe past week has seen a lot of spring related posts and articles popping into my inbox: recipes flaunting tender young vegetables, some pastel-tastic decorating ideas. Even a white (!) tarmac-scraping trouser suit stared back at my disbelieving face. But I really shook my fake fur hat-wearing head at this one, allegedly taken in Stockholm – a city not really known for its floaty miniskirt-friendly weather. Yes, I am wearing a hat indoors.

I think you will have surmised by now that it is snowing here in Edinburgh. March ruddy 19th and we have horizontal snow and sleet.

fennel flatbread crackers

flatbread crackers with beetroot ‘hummus’ – recipe coming soon

It has been snowing off and on since weekend before last. It all kicked off as my poor Miss R was attempting to get her PADI certificate while a blizzard raged above. Muggins here, along with Mr A, stood with cups of takeway tea as the snow drove straight into our faces. The occasional flash of retina-searing sun (or so it seemed in contrast) was not enough to mitigate against mild hypothermia. Despite dry suits the youngest of the would-be divers – our daughter included – were just too cold, and full of the cold, to complete the final required task. So, this weekend – with more snow predicted – the girls will trudge back up north to try and complete their training. As they are certifying in true Arctic conditions, their summer marine biology  research trip to Honduras will be as easy as falling off a log. Or rather, boat.

All of this has nothing to do with today’s recipe. I just needed to vent. As a transplanted Floridian I just don’t do cold, or this kind of horrid, sloppy, cement-sky cold. Enough already with the precipitation.

While the unremitting wintery deluge has sent many of us straight to Kayak, fantasising about catching the next flight to the Bahamas, this weather also sends some of us to the kitchen. I imagine that across the frozen north and east many a pot of soup and tray of scones is being made right this very minute. Other than star jumps in the living room, baking and pot stirring are great and productive ways to keep warm. People smile when you offer them a steaming bowl of something nice, and you get the benefit of standing over a simmering pan, or a sneakily-opened oven door. It’s a win-win situation. And these crackers are easy enough to make while a soup is on the go.

I was originally inspired to make this type of cracker when on a visit back home to Tampa, Florida. My sister took me into a chi-chi wine shop, and as we were about to leave – empty-handed as neither of us fancied a second mortgage – I saw a pretty display of crisp flatbreads. They were artfully wrapped in bundles of eight. Perfect for pre-dinner nibbles with a glass of hideously expensive wine or, in our case, a decent bottle of plonk from Red Neck Wines. I nearly screeched when I saw the hand-written, raffia-tied price tag – $8. Eight dollars for eight pieces of baked dough. I’m sure they tasted fab, but really, eight bucks?

When I got home to my trusty metric scales I set about experimenting. In a short amount of time I hit on a version that wouldn’t have looked out of place in that fancy shop. Or at least once it got its rustic wrapping. I really should have bought a pack then to have something to compare this to, but I think I probably would still have stuck to this recipe. It is easy, reliable and ripe for variation. You could sub the wee seeds for bigger, hunky ones like sunflower and pumpkin, pressing them on top rather than mixing into the dough. Or you could use chopped fresh herbs. Maybe take it another direction entirely by baking slightly thicker tongues of dough until not quite crisp and topping with roasted vegetables, or even spiced minced lamb. I have paid a pretty penny for just such a dish. Yes, I know one is paying for the ambience, convenience, packaging, service, not having to wash up. But if you fancy super-fresh, super-crisp, super-cheap flatbread crackers?… And as an added bonus the dough rolling is an amazing way to keep warm :D

I am entering this into Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours’ Credit Crunch Munch, which seems especially appropriate given the sound these make. And of course, Made With Love Mondays over at Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ With Luv, where is all homemade (have a look at Mark’s piece about Google Reader).Credit-Crunch-Munch

What’s your weather up to? Are you already up to your elbows in young asparagus and pea shoots?

PS. I have changed my theme without checking how it fits with what I already have. My index is a bit of a disaster. I shall rectify for the next post!


fennel seed flatbread crackersCrispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers

(Adapted from my recipe for Olive Oil and Lemon-Rosemary Flatbreads)

This Week in 2011: Spinach and Feta Pie; Leek & Potato Soup with Parsnip and Tarragon 

 

This Week in 2012: Greens and Squash Gnocchi with Chilli & Roquefort; Green Tea, Lime & Passion Fruit Polenta Cake with Passion Fruit Curd 

 

Miss R’s Cooking Track of the Week: Hey Now (Dot Major Remix) by London Grammar, plus their more contemplative original – a superb chill-out track 

 

Leave those pricey artisan flatbread crackers on the grocery shelf with this easy peasy recipe. All you need are some store cupboard ingredients, a rolling pin and an oven. And asbestos fingers, cos you’ll want to snatch them straight off the baking tray. 

 
225g plain unbleached flour OR refined spelt flour (I like Bacheldre and Doves Farm)
½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp fine salt
1 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds, coarsely ground (ie with a pestle and mortar)
2 pinches coarse black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
120ml warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice
Extra olive oil for painting on the dough

Flaky salt, such as Maldon, Murray River pink salt, Halen Mon

Pop the flour into a large bowl along with the baking powder and salt and give it a good going over with a large whisk. You can sift this of course but even refined spelt flour has ‘bits’ in it that stay in a sieve. A large balloon whisk is my weapon of choice when sifting chunky flour.

Now mix in the seeds and pepper before making a well; pour in the oil and water. Stir well and then knead in the bowl a few times before turning out onto a floured surface to lightly knead 20 times. It’s not super crucial but I do think it helps to develop the gluten, even for a short time. Roll the dough into a rough cylinder, wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes. Again, resting isn’t crucial but I do think it is worth doing if you have the time.DSC_0002fennel seed flatbread crackersfennel seed flatbread crackers

Roll the cylinder into a sausage shape about a foot long and mark out notches at about 4 inch intervals. Cut off one notch and roll out in a rectangle as thinly as possible on a flour-dusted surface or directly onto a sheet of baking paper, flouring the rolling pin as necessary. If it seems a bit resistant to rolling at any point, just leave it to rest for a few minutes. This allows the gluten to relax and become more elastic.

Use a knife and clean ruler, or rim of a baking tray, to neaten the rectangle and then cut the rectangle into strips, then into smaller rectangles. To keep it simple you could just make smaller notches and snip off and roll each into a longue/tongue shape (see image below). You could make it fancier by cutting with a crimp-edged cutter, or use floured cookie cutters to make shapes or rounds.

Carefully lift and place each rolled piece onto a parchment paper-lined large baking tray (unless you have rolled the dough directly onto the paper), piercing each lightly and evenly at regular intervals with a fork. Brush the entire surface with more olive oil (don’t be stingy), scatter over with flaky salt, and bake in a hot (220C/425F) oven for between 8 and 10 minute. Watch carefully. You may get a few singed ends but that’s part of the charm of these (!). Remove carefully and lay on a baking rack to cool and crisp up further. Carry on with the remaining dough. If you have a few baking trays just do all of the rolling and cutting in a one-er.

These keep really well in a airtight container. But as with most baked goods, this theory is rarely put to the test. Perfect with Super-smooth Hummus, Lebanese-style Broad Bean Hummus and Pea and Coriander Dip. See the Index for more partners.

Serves: Zillions

Variation: Try using Indian spicing – a good pinch of garam masala or mild curry powder, plus kalonji/nigella seeds, sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

Gluten-free: I have failed miserably with a crispy gluten-free cracker. Tasty yes, but crispy, sadly no. And as I see from the lack of g-f cracker recipes online, I am not the only one. There are a few good looking recipes, but they all involve more hassle and ingredients than I am willing to tackle. But, if you are interested, try this one on the Doves Farm Crispy Cracker recipe, or perhaps these nut crackers (no flour of any kind) from the always wonderful Green Kitchen Stories.

fennel seed flatbread crackers

flatbreads with my hummus

fennel seed flatbread crackers

flatbread crackers with beetroot ‘hummus’ – coming soon!

my max and mimi, last weekend

my max and mimi, last weekend

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39 thoughts on “Crispy Fennel Seed Flatbread Crackers

  1. Love your new theme, it seems to give more space and a good fresh feel, easy on the eye. The background is perfect too, gentle but interesting, reminds me of kitchen textiles so all good. Oh, and the recipe and photos tip top as usual!

    1. Thanks my lovely! It is not quite what I am wanting but for a free theme it is pretty nice. One day I would like one of the linen look ones, but by then it will all be passe I suppose. I am bummed that i don’t have a gf cracker for your Sam. But the one from GKS – the nut one – looks so amazing that i might try that even though I don’t need to for health reasons. They are so clever over there.

  2. Camilla says:

    Making crackers is still on my to do list and I think I shall have to give these a try as they look wonderful and my children get through crackers like Wallace & Gromit or maybe that should just be Wallace. Thank you for entering this fab recipe into Credit Crunch Munch:-)

    1. Thanks Camilla. And thanks for noticing my massive recipe typo. At least I didn’t get the amount wrong and have someone write in telling me how awful it all was! There’s still time for that, I guess… Pleasure taking part in Credit Crunch Munch. Fab idea, with loads of folk getting creative with the penny pinching :D

  3. Can’t wait to try these Kellie! Your cats look as fed up with the snow as we are.

    1. Thanks Linda:D Today is marginally better so hopefully we are on an upward curve with the temps. Although at this very moment there is a hail shower….

  4. Your flat bread crackers looks lovely, just like from the store.. only much cheaper :D totally agree with adding spice, smells so lovely when baking! I’ve made a gf cracker long time ago with rice flour and egg. Time to make them again with different flour combination

    1. IF they are on your blog I will have to find them as I just can’t get my g-f ones properly crispy. But I am too impatient to work that one out on my own. I may try brown rice flour and cornflour together and see how I get on.

  5. eastofedencook says:

    Oh Kellie! What a snowy mess! And yes, we have the beginnings of spring here in California! We may get a few more rainy days and our night time temperatures still dip into the 30’s but spring is in the air.

    I was astounded at how easy crackers are to make from scratch. And they are so much fresher! Your flatbread is just seductive! The seeds and herbs are stellar!

    1. That sounds a good balance: cold, easy to sleep nights and plant and people-warming days. Bliss! Please try the crackers Deb; they will hook you with their ease and crispiness. And thanks for commenting. Enjoy your lovely weather!

  6. julietfitz says:

    I forgot about these! They were so addictively delicious! I’m making them soon…or I could just wait for you to come over next month :) BTW – it’s 75 degrees here today. xo, Jules

    1. You gotta go and tease me, little sis. Well, can you make a snowman today? Thought not… Just teasing. You had my rosemary and lemon zest version, but I really like these better as they go so well with most anything. Super easy to make it you have the room to roll them out. we could roll them on your dining table, or just hijack Dad’s spacious kitchen x

  7. Poor kitties in the snow! But I’m sure they enjoy it :) And I love this recipe! What a keeper and the photos turned out amazing. I’m in awe. Thanks so much for the shout-out regarding Google Reader and for sharing this tasty snack!

    1. Unbelievably the black and white fluffy one – Max – likes the snow. At least for a little romp. He will chase and ‘kill’ snowballs for ages. I wish I had his double fur coat and hairy paws sometimes… Thanks for the sweet compliment but I really am not very good compared to most. I should detox from looking at some sites (green kitchen stories, I’m talking about you!)

  8. coastalcrone says:

    I must try these crackers! The weather here is spring-like and pushing the 80’s. My herbs are doing well and I have a few tomatoes.

    1. That sounds divine. Our evergreen herbs have persevered but I look forward to the tender ones like basil and parsley. I hope you try the crackers. Super simple but taste and look so good!

  9. Sigh…I know how you feel about that kind of weather. It does snow where I live but it’s endless grey skies and torrential rain for months in Vancouver. At least you have these amazing crackers. I’m so in awe of how perfect they look. And your photos are gorgeous.

    1. Oh we get the omnipresent grey skies and torrential rain too. I guess we should be grateful for the variety. We could just have a climate rather than proper weather. But sheesh, I do miss the predictability of living in a climate (Florida)

  10. Love the new theme! And while that photo does indeed look like it was taken in Stockholm, it was probably taken last year in one of the 6 (six!) days of summer weather we had. It’s dumping snow here right now, has been for days, and the last three weeks have been hovering between -10 and -15C. We’ve had snow on the ground since November, and I’m officially sick of it!

    These crackers look great, definitely my cup of tea. Sweden does make some fine crackers, so making them isn’t a high priority for me, but those look good enough for the effort. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Yes, we get some of your Swedish cracker delicacies here, and they are delicious. My favourite Swedish-style crackers are the super-thin rye crispbreads from Peter’s Yard, here in Edinburgh. My secret (sshh) addiction. Re the photo, the magazine said it was taken during Stockholm Fashion Week, spring collection. I guess they do that way ahead as I can’t imagine you could be paid that much to prance about in minus 15 in a miniskirt;D HAve you finished off the smoked garlic?

      1. I’ve still got a bit of smoked garlic left! It’s fantastic! Now I know what to send you – a selection of my favourite Swedish crackers! You’ll have to send me your address so I can get some on their way to you :)

  11. ann says:

    As there is no end to this snowy weather I will stay indoors and ‘go crackers’ they look splendid!

    1. Ha ha! Although it is only just above freezing today, at least we have seen a glimpse of the sun in between the hail showers. Ach well. We will be moaning about the heat soon enough. *She typed hopefully…*

  12. Sally says:

    Perfect timing – I was looking for a recipe for a seeded cracker as I’m addicted to some rather expensive artisan shop bought ones! I’ve been living in the heat so long I can’t imagine living in such temperatures…and doing a PADI course….urgh! Beetroot dip looks great – I make this a lot. Nice theme

    1. Well, I must have ESP :D Let me know if these make it into your oven. I would imagine you have to roll out dough on cool marble. Thanks for dropping by Sally. Stay cool!

  13. Hi Kellie, love your choice of new theme as well as this seeded cracker recipe. My kids are crazy on all crackers and this is one snack I always have I the house for them. I will try these out on them and they also love dip to go with their crackers. The colour of that beetroot hummus is amazing!

    1. Ah, the beetroot dip is not supposed to be red like that but the colour balance just wouldn’t cope with the deep purple! I must get to grips with Photoshop one day… Let me know if you try these :D Thanks for commenting, Laura. I hope you aren’t as snowy and cold as we are. A high of 1C today so far. Double digits seems so far away

  14. Choclette says:

    Oh yes, I’ve bookmarked this one. They look fabulous. the fennel seed sounds good and I’m thinking caraway might be nice too. I finding rolling things thinly a bit of an issue, but I’m always willing to try. I use Becheldre spelt flour, but didn’t know they did a more refined version, so will look out for it.

    Now, up in Scotland I would expect snow in March, but not down here in Cornwall – it snowed here yesterday too.

    1. We get years up here in Edinburgh when it doesn’t snow (but still jolly cold of course) but since 2010 it has certainly been more frequent. I may be wrong about Bacheldre having refined spelt as I had thrown out the bag by the time I came to write this up. But I use B for most baking.

  15. Jacqueline says:

    Bet the cats gave you a filthy look when you went out, as if the snow was all your fault.

    The crackers look wonderful. I am bookmarking this one on pinterest to try.

  16. These crackers look delightful and I LOVE crunch. Not so much, though, when it’s the crunching of snow under my fins as I make my water towards water for diving…. holy cow. BOLD.

  17. I love the new theme Kellie – very clean! Anything with fennel seeds is a winner for me and can I just say, your cats are tooooooooo cute!

  18. Oh Kellie I can imagine how bitterly cold it must have been. Hope it has started to clear up. We are currently experiencing 89% humidity which isn’t too nice.
    I’m a bit of a cracker addict but it has never crossed my mind to make them but you have certainly given me no reason not too. I adore fennel seed.
    Nice clean theme Kellie ;-)

    1. It continues thus. As of course you know cold snaps are not unusual here until spring gets under way, proper. What isn’t so usual is weeks on end of barely above freezing weather. The Isle of Arran has no power and is covered in one giant snow drift. Yikes! Anyway, hope you try the crackers one day. Blow some of your heat over here while you are at it ;D

  19. Sophie33 says:

    I made these lovely crisp beauties yesterday & loved them so much! They wre well flavoured & ooh so tasty too! :) Thanks again! x

    1. Fantastic! I’m SO glad you liked them. Aren’t they easy? Thanks so much for the great feedback. :D

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Bookmarked! Oh I can’t wait to try these! :)

    1. Yay! Thanks so much! And ta for the great comment over at javelin warrior on these x

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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