January is a hard month for a girl who writes about putting food in jars. While there’s still plenty of inspiration out there if you know where to look (citrus! pressure canned beans! root veg pickles!), this time of year does not lend itself as naturally to the act of preserving as those lush summer and fall months do.
Right now, the bulk of my cooking falls under the heading “General Sustenance.” This includes things like pots of turkey chili, black bean soup, green smoothies and hard boiled eggs. What’s more, since this new year arrived, I’ve felt a pressing need to keep things simple, like I’m storing up quiet time for the days when things get hectic again.
There is one little extra that I’ve been sneaking in amidst the pots of soups and stews. These grain-free crackers. Made of just sunflower seeds, shredded cheddar cheese, a pinch of salt and a bit of water, they are a very nice snack to have around when we’re feeling nibbly. Because they’re just cheese and seeds, they’re surprisingly filling and satisfying. I got the recipe from a copy of this book that I picked up back in November for a dollar. Discovering this recipe made it a very worthwhile purchase!
Here’s how you do it. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Pour 1 1/2 cups of raw sunflower seeds and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the seeds have broken down into a rough meal. Add 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I like to use extra-sharp) and pulse three or four times, just to combine. Then, while the motor runs, dribble in 1/4 to 1/2 cup water (just enough to form a dough).
Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scrape the cracker dough onto the middle of the parchment. Using damp fingers (re-wet often), spread the dough out into a thin layer. You can lay a second sheet of parchment on top of the dough and use it to help you press the dough out. I’ll warn you right now, getting the dough spread into a fairly even layer is something of a pain. But it’s worth it.
Once the dough is spread, bake for 25-30 minutes, until the crackers are crisp and just barely browned. When they are done, remove the pan from the oven and score the dough immediately into squares or diamonds (it firms up quickly, so do this while it’s hot). When it’s cool enough to handle, break the crackers into manageable pieces. Store in an airtight jar. They’ll keep in the pantry for 7-10 days.
This is a nice recipe to keep in the back of your brain for those times when you want to make a snack that works folks who are gluten or grain free. It’s also nice for the low-carb eaters (that’s what led us to this in the first place). I haven’t tried it yet with other seeds or cheeses, but I do plan on it going forward.
I agree, I find myself struggling between Jan and March when it comes to produce. There is still plenty to work with, but it’s not the same. I love sunflower seeds and don’t use them as much as I should. Thanks for posting this recipe!
Thanks for the recipe! I’m gluten-free and my friend is lactose-intolerant, so I think I’ll try making these with some Cabot brand cheese (she says she can eat that type) and see how it comes out. Love your website! 🙂
These look so interesting and with such few ingredients.
Looks so yummy and easy!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I have stopped eating wheat, so this will be perfect for replacing crackers.
I was pondering on how to simplify the spreading process. What about putting the dough between two pieces of parchment and thinning it out with a rolling pin?
Cynthia, I’ve done that and it’s still not a magic bullet. The dough is quite stiff and sticky, so rolling it out with a pin becomes just as fussy as trying to smooth it out with your hands.
This sounds like a nice change from regular crackers. Plus, I love sunflower seeds and cheddar cheese. 🙂
Sounds great. I definitely want to try this!
This is great. I am on a self imposed low carb diet until that darned muffin bulge shrinks back a bit. THESE crackers are perfect! When my writing time is up for the day, and I have fed the cows and sheep and chickens. I am going to go down to the kitchen and make them straight away! Perfect! What good timing! I do love this site.. c
Score the crackers with a pizza cutter before putting them into the oven, don’t try to seperate them, just score them. Much easier to break apart later.
I’ve not had good success with the score before baking technique with this recipe. It’s such a moist, sticky dough that the scores bake right out. It works best to just wait to cut them once they’ve baked.
Ah, oh well
Oh! I’ve seen the cheeseless version of this recipe touted in the Paleo diet circles… but with equal part sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
I’m gonna play with this today.
Wondering if shaping the dough into a log, refrigerating and then slicing thinly will also work (like sugar cookie logs)?
These look lovely! I’ll definitely be trying this recipe 🙂 Thank you!
sunflower seeds and cheddar? what a delicious-sounding cracker. hmmm, once i fully recover from my jarlsberg-cracker-making-overload, these are on the list to try.
Looks delicious! Going to give this a try this week! Thanks for posting.
I found it much easier to roll the dough flat and even using a small pastry roller. I placed a sheet of parchment paper over the top and rolled away. They turned out great…especially topped with some summer sausage. I am also looking forward to experimenting with different flavored cheeses. Thanks for submitting this recipe.
Made these tonight – YUM! So hard to resist eating the entire batch myself! I kept sneaking “just one more” as I was putting them away… I used the heel of my hand, rather than my fingertips to spread the dough and didn’t find it too difficult to work with. These will definitely become a new staple!
Made them again with Parmesan instead of Cheddar – oh my! The nuttiness and richness of the Parm really plays well with the sunflower seeds, these are even better than the first batch! I did find they cooked quite a bit faster, so they need to be watched carefully. If you get a chance, definitely try them with Parmesan!
Thanks for the suggestion, Erin! I’m planning to make another batch today and I just happen to have a fresh container of grated Parm in the fridge. I’ll let you know how my batch turns out!
I just made these – they are still sort of warm but I tried them anyway – YUM! I accidentally bought roasted and salted sunflower seeds so I did not include the salt in my dough. My only problem – I think they’re going to be addicting!!!
I made these a couple of days ago with a mix of cheddar and fresh parm. Yummy! Even my hubby said they were good and went back for seconds. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe – a keeper for sure.