A few years ago, my mom mentioned raincoast crisps, a multi seed cracker she was buying at whole foods. I had not had them but they were flying off the shelves and a big hit at the yearly Fancy Food Show. It is a basic simple cracker loaded up wiht healthy flax, dried fruit bits and nuts which is great with cheese and other bite sized appetizers. what was even more interesting, is that they are uber simple to make at home. the loaf is dense like an egg free fruitcake, then sliced thin when cooled. It is the brainchild of Lesley Stowe, a Vancouver Canada caterer for her clients. well, she took it to the next level and got it commerically produced in small batches and offered in select gourmet markets. There are varieties…salty date and almond, hazelnut cranberry, raisin and rosemary. It was a smash hit in a business crowded with new foods. Martha Stewart and O jumped on to feature the cracker. They are pretty as well as good keepers and tasty. Lesley wrote a cookbook, which I am sure is totally great and shared the recipe. No matter what season…winter entertaining, Oscar night, Fourth of july, outdoor barbecuing, raincoast crisp crackers fit in. Just fabulous with cheeses. and good with cheese and as a side for soups. So, if you like to bake, whip out the bowl and give these a try. then keep them in a nice tin. Lesley Stowe is not a household name, but once you make these crackers, she will be.
2 cups flour (can be cup4cup GF)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries or chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped pecans or pistachios
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seed, ground
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (should be fresh and not too much…just a hint)0
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins or dried fruit, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended. This is directed by hand. I use a Danish dough whisk and use the quick bread technique. There is no guess work here. If you can make a biscuit or scone or muffin, you can make a cracker. Dont over mix. If you use the stand mixer for a double or triple batch, use the flat paddle on low speed.
Pour the batter into two 4x 8-inch loaf pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for about 45 minute until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.
The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer. Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Try slicing and baking one loaf and popping the other in the freezer for later. Reduce the oven heat to 300°F and bake them for about 15 minutes then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden, like a biscotti. Try not to eat them all at once!
Made half a recipe but used almonds, dates, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds. Great by themselves or with shaves of real parmesan or goat cheese. Baked in mini loaves (2) for 30 min., then second bake for 2- 15 min. bakes. Makes 6 dozen.
text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016. Recipe copyright Lesley Stowe
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.