If I don’t have a batch of raw crackers or flat bread around, I am at extreme risk of snack attacks. You know what I am talking about. The attacks that an apple or an orange can’t curb. The attacks that find me riffling through the cabinets for something crunchy and satisfying. The attacks that can lead me to less than desirable food.
Raw crackers are tasty and nutritious. Best of all, just a few quickly satisfy that craving and are so filling I never over-eat them. I also know that I am getting great nutrients, not just empty calories when I eat them.
For this recipe, I wanted to use incorporate kale as I am a huge kale fan. I have also been a little obsessed with making a raw cheese cracker so out came the nutritional yeast (great for a cheesy flavor).
To top it off, I decided to do an experiment. I pulled a bit of dough out and baked it in the oven. Why? Because I am often asked how to make raw recipes (that require dehydration) in the oven and I can’t answer the question. Since this is raw blog, my recipes are developed to be eaten raw. I do not test them for baking times but I decided to experiment with this one just to see what would happen. The rules for dehydration and baking are different (see the FAQ page).
The baked version.
Please know that baking raw recipes destroys a lot of nutrients. Since these recipes are made with healthy, whole, pure ingredients instead of traditional unhealthy ingredients, I realize people want to try them whether they have a dehydrator or not. Plus they are gluten free.
What happened when I baked a tray? They did bake. (Please note, some things that are intended to be dehydrated won’t bake correctly.) I baked them 25 minutes at 200 degrees on the convection setting, flipping once. The result? The taste, when compared to the dehydrated raw crackers was seriously lacking the lovely fresh, intense flavor of the dehydrated crackers.
I had friends try both versions, and the consensus was always the same. The baked crackers lost some flavor (not to mention nutrients). And the kale, instead of tasting like vibrant, fresh kale, tasted, well … baked.
It is interesting to note that I photograph food in many top restaurants. Increasingly I have been seeing dehydrators in quite a few of the kitchens. As chefs search for ways to coax the best flavors out of food, they are increasingly turning to methods like dehydrating.
It makes sense that the dehydrated crackers have more flavor. But, if you don’t have a dehydrator, and it is not important to you that the crackers are raw, you can experiment with the recipe. Just put your oven on the lowest temp (using convection helps) and keep an eye on it until it looks crisp and done. You will probably need to flip it once for proper drying. If you didn’t have the dehydrated crackers to compare them to, they are definitely passable.
For this recipe, I decided to include a little photo tutorial that covers the process of making these crackers. You will see one of my methods rolling and cutting the crackers.
“Cheezy” Kale Crackers (recipe follows pictures)
To prepare the kale, strip the leaves from the stems.
A salad spinner is a great way to rinse and dry the leaves.
Chop the almonds until fine in food processor.
Add nutritional yeast, coconut flour and spices. Stir to combine.
Finely chop kale and add to almond mixture and stir well.
Mix in the flax/water mixture. I often do this by hand. SO much easier.
Form 1/3 of the “dough” into a rectangle on a non-stick dehydrator sheet. You can also use parchment paper.
Place another non-stick sheet over the “dough” and roll out 1/4-inch thick.
Peel off the top non-stick sheet.
Cut into strips. This is my favorite cutter. You can find it here: Pastry Cutter
Trim off the excess and set aside to roll out with the next sheet.
Cheezy Kale Almond Crackers
- 1 cup ground flax
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups almonds, soaked over night, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 cup Raw Coconut Flour
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp chipotle
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
1. Mix together ground flax and water. Set aside.
2. Place almonds in food processor and process until finely chopped. Remove to large bowl.
3. Finely chop kale. I do this in the food processor, also.
4. Add nutritional yeast, coconut flour, smoked paprika and chipotle to the chopped almonds. Mix well.
5. Stir in kale.
6. Add flax/water mixture. Blend well. I use my hands at this point.
7. Spread 1/4-inch thick on non-stick sheet (see above for my method). Score into cracker sized pieces and dehydrate at 145 for 30 minutes. Decrease heat to 118 and continue to dehydrate until done (approximately 8 hours*) turning once or moving to screens halfway through dehydration. You want these very dry.
*Dehydration times can vary widely due to different dehydrators and humidity. Read about why we start dehydration at 145 here: FAQ. Yes, it stays raw.