(Non) Wheat Thins

Hello!

The fennel challenge has begun!  I have already decided on two dishes to prepare and have completed and tasted the first one already!  The fennel-containing dish that I made today seemed to be the safer choice of the two.  I decided to use fennel seed for this dish.  The seed can be found in the spice section of pretty much any grocery store.  I tasted a few raw seeds and the flavor seemed very familiar to me.  The flavors reminded me in some ways of Italian food and, in other ways, Indian food.  A quick internet search confirmed this, as fennel seed is commonly used in both styles of food.  The seed can be eaten raw or sauteed in olive oil so that the flavors of the seed infuse the oil.

I chose to use the whole, raw seed to flavor some homemade gluten-free crackers.  I have never made crackers before and needed a general idea of how to make this work.  I based my cracker recipe off of one that I found through the Serious Eats community (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/12/gluten-free-tuesday-easy-homemade-crackers.html).  I used almond flour (that I made myself) instead of sorghum flour because I didn’t feel like buying ANOTHER gluten-free flour and I have tons of almonds laying around.  To make the almond flour, I used raw almonds and processed them until they became almost powdery.  You don’t want to process them too long or they will start releasing their oils and then you will have almond butter (delicious, but not what you want here).

Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond flour (made with raw, unflavored almonds)

3/4 cup brown rice flour (Bob’s Red Mill)

1 Tbs granulated sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder (Clabber Girl)

1 tsp whole fennel seeds

1/2 tsp basil

1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp thyme

freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 Tbs butter (Land O’ Lakes, salted)

6 Tbs cold water

1.  Put all solid ingredients into a food processor (or you could probably just use a large bowl and mix everything with a hand mixer) and pulse for several seconds to mix.

Dry ingredients

2.  Cut up butter into small pieces (I did roughly 1/2″ cubes).

3.  Add butter to solid ingredients and pulse until the butter seems to have broken up and dispersed.

4.  Add water and process until mixture becomes dough-like (this shouldn’t take long).

5.  Pour dough onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper and spread as best you can (mine was very sticky).

6.  Sprinkle with one of your flours (I used the brown rice flour because it was much finer than the almond flour).

7.  Place another piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll until thin and smooth. If you’re like me and don’t own a rolling pin, just use any canned good you happen to have.

8.  Remove top sheet of parchment paper and cut dough into whatever shape you like with a knife or pizza cutter.

9.  Poke holes in dough with a fork (I’m guessing this helps to get heat inside of your crackers for more even cooking).

10.  Place in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven and remove once crackers are golden brown and crispy.

Starting to brown!

11.  Let cool on pan.

These crackers were incredibly flavorful and I could definitely taste the fennel seed!  They were buttery and dissolved in my mouth!  I ate this topped with some sharp cheddar cheese.  A perfect afternoon snack!  My only complaint was that they did not hold together very well, so these probably wouldn’t be the best crackers for throwing in a ziploc bag and carrying around with you.  I will definitely be making these again and also plan to use some of my leftover fennel seed in my next batch of homemade marinara sauce!

Delicious!

My next fennel-containing dish will use the fennel bulb!

Happy eating!

-c

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