Cheese Crackers

My mom has a knack for finding addictive snack foods for Nolan. His latest obsession is the cheddar cheese crackers from Outside the Breadbox, a Colorado Springs gluten-free bakery. They are very tasty, but he can go through a $5.99 bag of them in an hour or two if permitted, and I don’t think they are made with organic ingredients, which concerns me with regard to the dairy products particularly. So after he polished off the crumbs of his last bag this weekend, I set about making a grain-free organic alternative.

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I’ve been making a lot of crackers with flax meal and/or almond flour lately, so it was time to mix things up. The recipe I chose this time uses high-protein chickpea flour, and I adapted it to include a percentage of carrot flour as well–I have started making this by dehydrating carrot pulp from juicing and then blending it to dust in my Vitamix. I had heard that the high fiber content makes pulp flours an adequate substitute for coconut flour in many baking recipes, and figured that this would be as good an opportunity as any to test it out.

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Turns out, the carrot flour works great, and the taste it imparted to this recipe was very subtle compared to the dominating flavors of chickpeas and cheese.¬†As a bonus, the color of the carrot flour reinforces the “cheesiness” of the crackers, which could be a trick in your arsenal if you have a picky eater who only likes orange-looking cheddar cheese.

The finished crackers are somewhat nutty and savory from the chickpea flour, but their main flavor will come from the cheese you select, so make sure it is one you really love! Since the process of baking will destroy any beneficial enzymes and the majority of fat-soluble vitamins in the cheese, you may want to prioritize the organic quality aspect for recipes like this one, and save the spendy raw grassfed cheeses for snacking plain.

Cheddar-Chickpea Crackers

8 oz sharp Cheddar cheese, preferably grassfed (shred or cut in small cubes)
2/3 C garbanzo bean flour
1/3 C carrot flour (or use all bean flour)
4 T grassfed butter
3/4 tsp unrefined salt
2 T cold filtered water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients except water in a food processor; pulse until crumbly and uniform. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough ball.

Turn out from the processor onto a silpat or parchment paper sheet and roll out until as thin as you can get it. (I found this dough forgiving and not overly sticky, but best to roll gently and watch for tearing.) Score with a butter knife into squares, or cut into shapes with a cookie cutter if you are feeling fancy.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown around the edges and mostly firm. (They will firm up more slightly as they cool.) Break apart into individual crackers if you scored them, and store in an airtight container–assuming they don’t all get eaten right off the tray!

Source: Adapted from The Jolly Tomato.

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