Monday, December 12, 2011

Potluck Monday with Guest Valerie Comer!

Granola Crisps
Valerie Comer

Looking for something a little different to put out on a holiday tray? Try these twice-baked barely sweet crackers, reminiscent of Rainforest Crisps as sold in the supermarket. Or at least they're sold in mine, but not at a price I've been able to justify even once.

So when my daughter-in-law, Jen, made these crisps last year, I became an instant addict. They shot to the top of my Christmas baking list. These are soooo good.

Just so you know, these aren't something you can whip up last minute, but not because they take long to make. On the contrary, it's hard to imagine anything simpler. However, the loaf needs to freeze after the first baking. This batch makes about 4 dozen Granola Crispies.

I'm debating if I should tell you how many batches we made. Oh, fine. You'll be able to tell from the photos anyway. Besides, I froze them in several packages for the various Christmas parties we'll go to. It's not like I'll eat them all myself. Unless we forget to take them to one or more of the get-togethers? (Did I just say that out loud?)

ANYWAY, let's just jump in and I'll explain as we go. Here's what you need:

Preheat your oven to 350° F.

Into a mixing bowl place:
1 cup flour (we used 1/2 spelt, 1/4 whole wheat, 1/4 white, but you can use any flour you like)
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt, or milk soured with 1 teaspoon of vinegar)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup dried fruit (we used dry cherries, but raisins also work)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (whatever nuts you have)
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons flax seed, ground (Jen got this pre-ground in the bulk department)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

So, all that gets mixed together, but don't beat it till it's dead. Once the ingredients are blended, it's enough. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for about 35 minutes until it's golden brown. Pop out of the pan and cool on a wire rack, then wrap and freeze.

Okay, you don't have to freeze it, but it works best if you do, because the next step is to slice the loaf. If it's frozen, or at least mostly so, it's much easier to carve this baby into thin, even slices. I mean really, super thin. Cut the slices in half so the resulting crackers will be an appropriate size.

Lay these slices out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. The oven temperature this round is 300° F, and the time about 15 minutes. Then flip them over and go for another 10 minutes or so. Keep a close eye on your first batch, as all ovens are a little different. At the end, they should be evenly, lightly browned and dried right through.

I love cream cheese on mine, as shown in this photo. (And thanks for the opportunity to show off a couple of my favorite pottery pieces!) My husband loves smearing them with artichoke dip. What toppings do you think would be great?

Valerie Comer and her husband of over 30 years live on a small farm in Canada where they grow and preserve much of what they eat. Valerie is an avid supporter of her local food action coalition and farmers' market, where her family sells honey from their many beehives. These experiences provide the seeds for her novels of contemporary inspirational romance grounded in the local foods movement.  Valerie blogs three times a week, offering insights into her writing journey, reviewing books, and spotlighting seasonal recipes. Her fiction debuts in May 2012 with a novella in Rainbow's End from Barbour.


  1. Valerie, I've never thought of doing this. What a great way of creating our own crisps from whatever....

    Thank you so much for sharing this with us today. I'm totally intrigued by the idea!

  2. What a fantabulous idea. This would be a great snack at work instead of the junk machine. Thank you.

  3. Thanks, Ruthy and Tina. They really are delicious! I hope you make them, 'cause I think you'll love them. :)

  4. Okay, my only problem with this, Valerie, is that I would eat up all the bread before I could slice and bake!! LOL

    It looks so amazing. I'll just eat one loaf and make the crackers with the other. :)

  5. Um, sure, Missy. You go ahead and do that, but honestly? The crackers are worth it. You'll have the heels and scraps (from slicing too thin or crooked, if you're like me...) for munching single-bakes style!

    I made four loaves (I see the photo didn't tell on me after all!) My daughter-in-law took one of them, and one is still in my freezer, unsliced. One of these evenings when I have a little time I'll get the last one out and do the double-bake part.

  6. Oh Valerie, these look delicious AND healthy! I'll have to try them - although, like Missy, I'll probably have to eat one loaf as bread :)

    Can you mix and match ingredients, as long as you keep the basic bread intact? I don't have pumpkin seeds, but I have almonds...

    From December 15 on, I usually bake a batch of something every day - this will have to go on the list!

  7. Valerie, that's a great idea to keep on hand for baking later.

    I also love to eat the heels of the loaves when slicing to take to events. That might just satisfy me. :)

  8. Jan, as this was the first time I made them, I stuck to the recipe fairly closely (for me...) But I can't think why you couldn't experiment with flavors. Pumpkin seeds --> almonds would work for sure.

    In the organic section of my grocery store are three boxes of something called Monkey Toast, which looks similar. The three flavors are Pumpkin Cranberry, Apple Cinnamon, and Banana Blueberry. I'm thinking some experimentation is in my future!

  9. I think sub-ins for the dry stuff would be interchangeable, don't y'all?

    (See what being in NASHVILLE does to me???)

    I scarce recognize myself from eatin' all them biscuits.