Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
24 Mar

Crunchy Primal Crackers

primalcrackers1What is it about dip that makes it so irresistible? The creamy and spreadable texture? The comforting flavor? For whatever reason, kids love to dip (and eat dip) and so do adults. Just because you’ve purged your pantry of crackers and chips, doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to dip, too. Vegetables, either raw or fried into chips, are the perfect vehicle for carrying dip from bowl to mouth. Thin strips of cooked chicken breast aren’t half bad either. But admittedly, when you’re in the mood for a crispy cracker to plunge into your favorite dip (or top with a slice of aged cheddar) a carrot stick doesn’t always satisfy the craving.

Of course, moderation is key with nut crackers. Are they better than Triscuits and Wheat Thins? Absolutely. Are they a great way to clandestinely serve a healthier cracker at your next dinner party? Undeniably. And are they a smart snack option for people new to the Primal lifestyle that are perhaps struggling to make the transition? Without a doubt. But don’t go making these a large part of your diet. Occasional snack – good. Dinner plate of nut crackers – not so good.

Primal Crackers are something you can make at home with just a few ingredients. Two that have great flavor and the crucial crunchiness that makes a cracker a cracker are Sunflower Sesame Crackers and Almond Crackers. Sunflower Sesame Crackers have a definite crunch and earthy, sesame flavor. Almond crackers have a crispy texture and neutral flavor that can be changed in a million ways. For this reason, Primal almond crackers are especially popular and a quick Internet search will yield many variations of the recipe below. One Mark’s Daily Apple version includes Parmesan cheese, but no egg. Another, posted on Elana’s Pantry, uses Herbs de Provence for flavor. The recipe below is the simplest yet, using easy-to-find blanched almond slivers to make almond flour and dried dill for flavor. Following the recipe and technique below, you can make almond crackers with any flavor you desire: plain, fresh herb, garlic, spicy cayenne and cinnamon are just a few ideas.

Now, next time a cracker craving strikes, you’ll be ready. A very thin version of this cracker seasoned with chili powder instead of dill might even make a decent chip to dip into salsa. Hmmm….back to the kitchen!

Ingredients:

ingredients 10
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) raw blanched almond slivers
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a food processor mix nuts, salt and dried dill until nuts reach desired consistency. For textured crackers, leave nuts in tiny pieces. For smooth crackers, blend until nuts reach a flour-like consistency.

blend nuts

Add egg and oil and pulse just until incorporated.

dough

From here, you can shape the crackers in one of two ways:

For a thin, crunchy cracker flatten the dough between two sheets of parchment paper (sold in the same aisle as plastic wrap and aluminum foil) then use a rolling pin to get the dough as thin as possible. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and set the other (with the dough on top) on a cookie sheet. Use a knife or pizza wheel to cut cracker shapes.

Or, for a thicker cracker with a rounded shape, wrap the dough in a large piece of parchment paper and shape it into a log about 9 inches long and 1-2 inches tall. Use a knife to slice thin pieces of dough into crackers. If the dough is too soft, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes, then cut.

cutting dough

Bake crackers for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely before eating.

primalcrackers1

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You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Great timing. Pork rinds with my sardines just isn’t getting it.

    denasqu wrote on March 24th, 2012
  2. Very nice! Glad you advised these as a treat and not a staple!

    knifegill wrote on March 24th, 2012
  3. Great recipe template…

    Dumb question: If you were to make these with cinnamon, would you change the oil from olive to coconut (or something else)?

    Primal Texas wrote on March 24th, 2012
    • I probably would–it would taste better!

      Sabrina wrote on March 24th, 2012
  4. Rolling them thin and crispy is the right way to go. I’ve rolled thicker versions, and the result is a soft sort of blah cakey thing, not a good cracker at all.

    Marisa wrote on March 24th, 2012
    • Absolutely. Roll them between two sheets of baking paper–as thin as you can. They come out crispy.

      tracyinbarcelona wrote on March 24th, 2012
  5. Awesome!!! As I ease my family into a Primal diet the thing we are missing most about giving up grains is a crunchy cracker to dip and top with snacky goodness. I’ve tried a variation of this recipe with parm, and though my wee boys gobbled them up they were not sturdy enough to dip or top. I made some clam dip last night with celery sticks in mind, but now I’m into the kitchen to give these a whirl. Woohoo!

    yoolieboolie wrote on March 24th, 2012
  6. I think all these suggestions for crunchy dippers are great.

    I’d one more – I keep a bag of pork rinds around for dipping. They work great, particularly for softer dips.

    John wrote on March 24th, 2012
  7. The sesame crackers on Elana’s Pantry are awesome! My kids love them.

    Sabrina wrote on March 24th, 2012
    • These are my favorites as well! I’ve tried all of her cracker recipes and several others but these always hit the spot for me!

      Andrea wrote on March 24th, 2012
  8. stupid question time: is there a particular reason I can’t just use almond flour?

    Tricia wrote on March 24th, 2012
    • I think it’s just in case someone wanted to make the “textured” crackers that have larger chunks of almonds in them. Otherwise I can’t see any reason to not just use almond flour if you already have it.

      Beth wrote on March 24th, 2012
  9. I make a very similar recipe, but my recipe says to roll them out and cut into squares. It’s a giant pain. The idea to shape the dough into a log is genius. Thank you!

    Anne wrote on March 24th, 2012
  10. I like the little ones! The log-shaping is such a good idea. Yum.

    j3nn wrote on March 24th, 2012
  11. I wonder how much Omega 6 are in these tasty morsels! I think I’ll pass

    PaleoDentist wrote on March 24th, 2012
    • Me too, darn it…allergic to almonds…

      Cathy Johnson (Kate) wrote on March 24th, 2012
      • Maybe try sesame seeds?

        Jack wrote on March 25th, 2012
      • I’m going to try the sunflower/sesame seed version. I love sesame seeds :-)

        bbuddha wrote on March 25th, 2012
  12. Sounds simple and amazing!

    AP wrote on March 24th, 2012
  13. Look great Mark–who says you can’t have crackers when eating healthy?
    :)

    Dr. Mike Tremba wrote on March 24th, 2012
  14. You could also bake your own (sweet) potato chips. While the carbohydrate content might be higher, you at least won’t soak and bake them in PUFA’s.

    Matthew Caton wrote on March 24th, 2012
  15. Perfect. One of the challenges of primal is coming up with snacks that can travel with a toddler. I’m going to make these tomorrow.

    Meg wrote on March 24th, 2012
  16. This makes excellent squirrel food also.

    Zebra Brain wrote on March 24th, 2012
  17. These look wonderful, and are a great alternative to Blue Diamond’s “Nut Thins,” which are essentially “Rice Thins.”

    Nick wrote on March 24th, 2012
  18. Almond crackers sound delicious!

    The recipe also made me think of the low carb seed crackers, which have become the low-carb “bread” I make the most often. They exist in a thousand varieties – here’s a link to one (in Swedish):

    http://birgittahoglundsmat.wordpress.com/tag/frokex/

    Making these crackers are in fact extremely easy. The main ingredient is whole flaxseed. When they are soaked in water, they produce a gel which makes the crackers keep together. To add taste, the flaxseed is mixed with other seed and/or nuts. I recommend pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. I also add salt and whole cumin seeds for additional taste. I roast the sunflower seeds before adding them. The whole seed and spice mix is soaked in water overnight (I use a little bit less water than I have seed mix) and then spread it out on parchment paper.
    It’s a good idea to add a thin layer of oil on the parchment paper since the crackers stick very easily. If you want extra thin crackers, use a top sheet of parchment paper just like in the almond cracker recipe above (remove it before baking in the oven). Make lines with a knife to make it easier to break the dried seed mix into smaller crackers. The seed mix is then dried in the oven for a few hours using very low heat (about 100 degrees celsius). Open the oven once in a while to remove humidity.

    Anna, Sweden wrote on March 25th, 2012
    • Those sound great. Any chance it can be translated.

      Rachel Johnson wrote on March 30th, 2012
  19. I’ll make my girlfriend some, she’s having a harder time adapting to paleo, with lots of cheat meals. that might help. I might try one, but that’s not for me…

    primal headshrink wrote on March 25th, 2012
  20. When I first made these crackers last night, they were a bit too soft and crumbly for my liking. In my second attempt, I substituted 1/2 cup of flax meal for 1/2 cup of the almonds. This second attempt (and subsequent attempts) turned out to be much crunchier and more solid. I was also able to cut the mixture without it crumbling at all.

    I’ve posted my preferred version of the recipe here:
    http://locarbolicious.com/crackers/

    Louise wrote on March 25th, 2012
    • +1

      Joy Beer wrote on March 26th, 2012
  21. Just wanted to share our post on primal crackers from last month. Our kids LOVE these even more than we do. Enjoy!

    http://theprimepursuit.com/2012/02/05/crackers-two-ways/

    Heather wrote on March 25th, 2012
  22. Just what I have been looking for an easy to follow cracker recipe that doesn’t involve an expensive dehydrator. Love that it has dill. Yum. I’ll definitely test it out.

    Jen Young wrote on March 26th, 2012
  23. Definitely need some kind of crackerage in my life, still. Cheese at parties! Last book club meeting I hosted, I provided rice crackers for the fancy cheeses I love to serve, and I overate them, and didn’t feel good. (High glycemic load, I’d guess.) I try this, and the flaxseed tip from Louise, too!

    Joy Beer wrote on March 26th, 2012
  24. We’ve had good luck making similar crackers in a dehydrator with no egg and with coconut oil, almonds, caraway, and salt. Also some flax seed, I think. The caraway is really good!

    Lizzy wrote on March 26th, 2012
  25. If I just want to use Almond Flour (like from Trader Joes), would I still measure out two cups?

    Marlene wrote on March 26th, 2012
  26. I like these too, but I use whole seeds instead of the “meal” (or have experimented with 3/4 cup of flax seeds + 1/4 cup of the meal). Then, I add rosemary and pepper. Less salt and less garlic salt for a more neutral cracker: http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/snacks/r/flaxcrackers.htm

    Enjoy!

    Matt wrote on March 26th, 2012
  27. I made crackers from the pulp left over from juicing veggies – completely addictive and healthy!

    • 2 c. juice pulp
    • 1/4 c. ground flaxseed
    • 1/4 c. ground raw almonds OR chia seeds
    • 1/2 t. salt (more or less to taste)
    • cayenne, cardamom, and cumin to taste
    • juice from 1/2 lemon
    • 1 T. water (more or less for consistency)

    Use same thin rolling method, cutting, and cooking instructions as above.

    nbongo wrote on March 26th, 2012
  28. Confession, I just eat those thing rice crackers. 15 of them have about 16 grams of glycemic carbohydrate, they’re crunchy, satisfying, and on a low carb diet you’ve had enough by 10.

    I also make my own deep fried sweet potato chips. Mark indicates elsewhere that deep frying is paleo-friendly, and half a sweet potato sliced thing and deep fried in virgin olive oil with some ground salt is a lot more satisfying than bird food and wont break your carb bank.

    Bob wrote on March 27th, 2012
    • Maybe that works for you. That’s fine. But for those of us not eating ANY rice, rice crackers aren’t an option.

      Did you try the “bird food?” Because it’s actually quite good! Maybe I eat too much “bunny food” (raw veggies/salads) these days, but fried foods don’t taste very good to me any more.

      Brie wrote on March 27th, 2012
      • Hi Brie – yeah I did, I’ve had sesame crackers and while they aren’t bad, they’re not quite as crunchy and crisp as a plain old rice cracker. The rest of my diet is basically salad and grilled meat, so in the overall context some rice crackers with hummus dip or salted sweet potato chips seems fine. I’m getting so used to no carbs that I can’t eat much at a sitting anyway. I called it bird food because thats what we pretty much treated our Lovebirds with!

        Bob wrote on March 29th, 2012
  29. I make a similar cracker with 1.25 cups flax seed and 0.5 cups almonds and 0.25 cups sesame seeds

    llong wrote on March 28th, 2012
  30. Great recipe. I tried these with some rosemary and black olives chopped into the mix and they were amazing with cheese. And as someone mentioned before, I did use almond flour which made it easier.

    Joanna wrote on March 28th, 2012
  31. I needed something to eat liver pate with and HERE it is!!

    John wrote on March 29th, 2012
  32. HowD, A chronicle of the making of your crunchy crackers (sans the parchment paper)… http://www.freeyourfat.net/2012/03/day-off-doings.html

    Fatisfied wrote on March 29th, 2012
  33. Huzzah! Made these immediately after cleaning out the house pantry of junk and crappy food. They were a universal success. Primal win

    Helen wrote on March 31st, 2012
  34. Has anyone heard of flaxers, They are flax seed crackers, they are a raw food,high in omega3,5g protien & they have 8g of carbs but have 7 g of fiber so that leaves it to 1 carb per 3 flaxers, the brand im talking about is Doctor in the kitchen.

    Tammy wrote on April 11th, 2012
    • I checked out the website for the Flackers you referenced. 3 crackers is 8 carbs. And they have soybeans. Plus they are WAY expensive. $5.95 for a 1/2 ounce box.

      Thanks but no thanks.

      Sitara wrote on May 19th, 2012
  35. I just made a batch of these for my girlfriend , who i’m converting by stealth and sneekiness to primal . an absolute winner and so easy .

    brenny wrote on February 22nd, 2013
  36. As with the “muffin in a minute” using almond flour, I am guessing that this basic recipe allows for experimentation with other seasonings.

    Firebird wrote on August 7th, 2013
  37. I am going to try this in the dehydrator at about 100°… Has anyone had success doing these in the dehydrator?

    Salina wrote on September 12th, 2014

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