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Food & Recipes: November 2014 Archives

Easy homemade appetizers


Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps

These taste just like the real thing - feel free to play around with nuts, seeds, dried fruits and spices to create your own custom cracker.

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seed, ground
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.

Pour the batter into two 8"x4" loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 35 minutes, 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. (I like to slice and bake one loaf and pop the other in the freezer for another day.) 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. Try not to eat them all at once.

Makes about 8 dozen crackers.

Gouda or Gruyère Gougères

1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp. salt (if using unsalted)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated Gruyère or old Gouda cheese

In a saucepan bring water and butter to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to low and add flour all at once, then stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from side of pan.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time with an electric mixer (or by hand), beating well after each addition. The batter should have the consistency and colour of thick pudding; thicker than cake batter but thinner than cookie dough.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Stir the cheese into the pâte à choux and spoon about a tablespoon at a time an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until puffed, golden and crisp. As soon as they come out of the oven, poke them in the side with the tip of a paring knife or bamboo skewer to let the steam escape as they cool.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.