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Gluten Free Flaxseed Cheese Crackers Recipe
Instructions for Making Toasty, Seedy Cheese Crackers
I love the taste of flaxseeds and they are very nutritious, with high levels of fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and other healthy nutrients like lignans. Unfortunately, on their own they can be quite hard to eat without ending up with a bunch of seeds and partial seeds stuck between my teeth or in my throat. So I experimented with a bunch of ways to hold flax seeds together using various binding agents. Some of those experiments were less than tasty. But in the process, I discovered that cheese makes an excellent binder and that toasted flax seeds taste even nuttier and more wonderful than raw ones.
What I came up with is an incredibly simple cracker with only three ingredients counting the cooking spray or olive oil used to grease the pan. Because this recipe is so flexible and simple, the measurements I use are by no means exact and you can make as many or as few crackers in a batch as you desire, depending on how much of the ingredients you have on hand.
Photos by Kylyssa Shay unless otherwise credited.
The Finished Product Served with Fresh Dill, Goat Cheese, and Grape Tomato
Recipe and Instructions
- Shredded cheese – Cheddar, Colby, Monterey jack, Mozzarella, Romano, Asiago, Parmesan, or most types of shredded cheese will work alone or in combination. American cheese and cream cheese shreds do not work. Do not use reduced fat cheese.
- Raw Flaxseeds
- Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray, enough to lightly grease a non-stick cookie sheet, non-stick pizza pan, jelly roll pan, or whatever flat cooking pan you will use.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Very lightly grease your baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray.
- Sprinkle little mounds of about one to one and a half teaspoons each of shredded cheese evenly distributed on the baking sheet at least an inch apart and at least three-quarters of an inch from the sides of the baking sheet. The cheese will melt and slump and it can drip off the sides of the baking sheet if you place it too close to the edge.
- Sprinkle about three quarters of a teaspoon to one teaspoon of raw flaxseeds on top of each mound of shredded cheese.
- Try not to have too many seeds land between the mounds. You can use the edge of a spatula to “herd” any loose seeds back to the edges of the cheese mounds where melting cheese is likely to entrap them during the cooking process. However tempting, don’t use your fingers because they will stick to your skin, glued on by the pan spray or olive oil.
- Sprinkle approximately a quarter to a third of a teaspoon of shredded cheese on top of each mound, providing some light coverage for the exposed seeds. The idea is for the cheese to melt and stick to as many of the seeds as possible.
- Bake the crackers in the oven for about five minutes and check them for doneness. Since the crackers are so small in individual volume and every type and batch of cheese has a slightly different melting point and fat content, baking times for these crackers vary wildly. So it’s important to keep checking on them.
- If the tops are not slightly browned and the bottoms seem to be browner than you’d like, flip them with a spatula and cook for a few minutes on the other side. If both the tops and the bottoms are browned and the crackers don’t squish out any melted cheese when you press on them with a spatula, remove the crackers from the oven.
- Flip them off the baking sheet and onto a plate lined with a tea towel or a paper towel to absorb the grease.
- The Benefits of Flaxseed
Information about the nutritional benefits of eating flaxseed written by Elaine Magee, MPH, RD. It's a real nutritional powerhouse!
While your oven is preheating to 350 degrees, distribute shredded cheese in small mounds on a greased baking sheet. I used sharp cheddar for this batch.
If I had to guess how much I usually use per cracker, I'd guess about a teaspoon and a half.
A Good Baking Sheet
An air-insulated cookie sheet will help your crackers cook evenly. They can get nicely browned on the top without burning on the bottom. While a jellyroll pan or single layer cookie sheet will work, you will need to flip the crackers after about five minutes of baking. Don't try to flip them earlier or they'll just be globs of hot gooey cheese you can't slide a flipper under.
Sprinkle flax seeds onto cheesy mounds, trying to keep as many on top as possible.
Put a bit more shredded cheese on top. I used some shredded Parmesan both to make it obvious that I've put on another layer for the photos and because it adds a nice, nutty flavor.
Now your crackers are ready to go in the 350 degree oven for about five minutes.
Hot from the Oven
Pull them out of the oven when they are browned. They will make your whole home smell like toasty cheese. Don't let anyone touch them until the crackers stop making a sizzling noise.
Drain on Paper Towels or a Tea Towel If Desired
What Do You Think About These Crispy, Savory Treats?
They're Probably Not Terrible For You - Don't Use Low-Fat Cheese
While cheese is not necessarily the healthiest of ingredients at all times and it is definitely not vegan-friendly, use of harder cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano can make this recipe a bit healthier. Also, the cheeses tend to lose quite a bit of their fat in the baking process and when allowed to drain before serving leaving the crispy browned cheese slightly healthier than it was before it married together with the flaxseeds in your oven.
Do not expect to get the same results with low-fat cheeses because they melt differently and may not crisp up the same.
Some things you might bake into the crackers -
Cracked Black Pepper
Finely Chopped Fresh Herbs
While we usually eat these crackers all by themselves (they often don't even make it to the paper towels in my apartment) they are also delicious with dip, soft cheese, fresh herbs, grape tomatoes, or crisp bacon.
On average, there are about four tablespoons of shredded cheese to the ounce. The way I make these flaxseed crackers, with about one and a half teaspoons of cheese in each and about three-quarters of a teaspoon of flax, you could eat eight of them and only eat an ounce of cheese from which some of the fat has been removed. Those eight crackers would provide you with two whole tablespoons of flaxseed and approximately 2400 milligrams of high-quality omega-3 fatty acids.
I like to eat my flax crackers with grape or cherry tomatoes on the side. How would you eat yours?
© 2013 Kylyssa Shay