For many of us, the new year is a time to make a fresh start. We’re wiping the slate clean with a renewed sense of optimism for the year ahead, and we’re trying to eat healthier foods.
When it comes to reformulating our eating habits, it’s a little easier to plan breakfast, lunch and dinner. The real struggle, both in preparation and will power, comes when we start thinking about that mid-afternoon snack.
No matter the time, the reason or the season, the best kind of snack to fill you up (and keep you that way) is one filled with protein. Nuts are especially handy because they are protein-rich, portable and give us a daily dose of heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids.
The downside to nuts is that they can get, dare we say it, boring. If you’re fed up with your 3 p.m. handful of almonds, these homemade almond and flax crackers with a smoky almond spread are very much what you need.
The crackers only have five ingredients, and they are vegan and gluten-free. They’re spread on a baking sheet and dehydrated in your oven, which means no fussy rolling and cutting.
An almond spread makes them even tastier for snacking, or pipe it on top to dress these up for a beautiful presentation for a new year’s brunch or cocktail party.
ALMOND AND FLAX CRACKERS WITH SMOKED ALMOND SPREAD
By the Culinary Institute of America
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup smoked almonds
- 1/2 cup golden flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1-1/4 cups water, or as needed, divided use
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Micro herbs and edible flowers, as needed for garnish
In two containers, cover almonds with water, cover and soak overnight. Drain and set aside separately.
Heat oven to 170 degrees (see note). In a blender or food processor, combine about half the flax seeds and coriander; pulse to grind finely. Add drained plain almonds, remaining flax seeds, tamari, agave nectar and 1 cup of the water; blend to form a smooth paste.
Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Spread almond mixture into an even layer, all the way to the edges. Use back of a knife to score paste into desired cracker shapes.
Place in oven to dehydrate until dry and crisp, about 7 hours. (Time will depend on size of your pan. An 18-by-13-inch pan will take about 7 hours.)
Meanwhile make spread: In a clean blender, combine smoked almonds with remaining 1/4 cup water; blend until smooth. Season with salt.
Spread or pipe almond spread on crackers and top with micro herbs and edible flowers. Serves 12.
>> Note: If your oven won’t go to 170 degrees, set it to the lowest possible temperature, and check the crackers frequently, as they will cook faster.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 167 calories, 14 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 249 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 6 g protein.