SnacksOctober-November 2012

Gluten-Free Amaranth Crackers


Spicy and a little sweet, these zesty crackers have an addictive Southwestern flavor that marries deliciously with guacamole, tomatillo salsa, and mild, creamy dips. The cheese or vegan cheese sprinkled on top of the crackers is optional.

1 cup amaranth flour
½ cup cornstarch + 2 teaspoons for rolling
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup water, more as needed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
½ cup grated, tightly packed cheddar cheese or dairy-free alternative, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the amaranth flour, ½ cup cornstarch, baking powder, sugar, chili powder, cumin, sea salt and garlic powder.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms into crumbly dough. Knead and squeeze the dough in the bowl until it comes together into a smooth ball, about 10 strokes. If the dough seems a bit dry, add a sprinkle of water to bring it together.

4. Dust a piece of parchment paper with 1 teaspoon of remaining cornstarch. Place the dough on the paper and pat it into a rectangle measuring 4x6 inches. Dust the dough with the remaining 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Cover the dough with a piece of plastic wrap and roll it out until it is about 1/16-inch thick.

5. Remove the plastic wrap on top. Trim the edges and cut the dough into rectangles measuring 2½x1½ inches. Save and reroll the scraps. Using a bench scraper or spatula, transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them closely together.

6. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds and cheese (if using) over the crackers, pressing firmly to adhere to the dough.

7. Place crackers in preheated oven and bake for 14 to 15 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets once from top to bottom and from front to back while cooking, until the crackers are browned at the edges and crisp to the touch (under-cooked crackers will be quite pliable when you try to bend one).

8. Cool the crackers on a rack and store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

Each cracker contains 46 calories, 2g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 2mg cholesterol, 97mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 1g protein.

Ivy Manning is author of Crackers and Dips (Chronicle Books).

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