Whole Grain Oat and Flax Crackers
There are a few staples in my kitchen that I have unwavering faith in from a nutritional standpoint. One of those is olive oil, and another is oats. And those two things, along with a pinch of sea salt and a spoonful of flax, are the only ingredients in these virtuous (and addicting) crackers. In a world where baked goods are either made from wheat or from refined, nutrient-stripped substitutes, this recipe feels like the holy grail of gluten-free snacking.
A note on gluten – I eat wheat products. I don’t think wheat is inherently evil. There is, however, much to be said for variety. I want my family to eat a balanced mix of various whole grains. Since the outside world uses wheat almost exclusively, I see it as my job to provide all of the other wonderfully diverse grains.
These crackers are actually of historic significance – I stole the idea from a traditional Scottish oatcake. The story goes that Scottish soldiers in the 14th century would carry around a sack of oats and fashion these simple cakes over a fire. They became a staple in Scottish culture, served with every meal (but especially breakfast). I adapted the recipe from a wonderful blog called Five Euro Food, so take a look for more info on traditional oatcakes. I’ve altered Charles’ recipe by replacing butter with olive oil, adding flax, and reducing the salt.
In keeping with military travel food, I originally made these crackers as hiking food for my recent trip to California. They’re a compact and lightweight source of carbs and sodium, making them a perfect snack for a long day hike. These crackers fueled me through dry desert canyons in Death Valley and snow-covered peaks overlooking Palm Springs. I’ll be writing up a post with pictures and stories of my California adventure, so look for that next week.
- 2 1/3 cups old fashioned oats (about 220 grams)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. flax seed meal
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 100 ml warm water
- oat flour for dusting (all purpose flour can also be used)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor or blender, combine oats, salt, and flax seed meal. Pulse until a coarse flour forms.
- In a large bowl, combine oat mixture with olive oil and stir with a fork until no large clumps remain.
- Add water and stir (with the fork at first and then with your hands) until well incorporated. If the dough is too dry and crumbly to work with, add water bit by bit until a smooth dough forms.
- Lightly dust a clean work surface with oat flour. Roll the dough out thin with a rolling pin (the dough should be about the thickness of a corn tortilla).
- Use a small round cookie cutter to cut out rounds, or use a pizza cutter to cut squares. Working in batches, lay them out on the prepared cookie sheet. They can be placed close together - the crackers will shrink as they bake.
- Bake for 18-21 minutes, rotating pan halfway through, until lightly browned and crisp. Allow to cool, and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Scottish Oatcakes on Five Euro Food.