Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers: Lavash Crackers

I think that the “Daring Bakers Challenge” is a perfect name for the, well... Daring Bakers Challenge. The name says it all.

Daring” is for those recipes that strike fear in your heart. The ones you can never imagine yourself pulling off successfully.

Bakers”, well, you know, it's about baking.

Challenge” has a lot of connotations. Maybe you live just about a mile down the road from nowhere and it’s a challenge locating all of the ingredients. Maybe it’s a two-day baking marathon that involves many components and many methods. Maybe it’s a recipe that makes you groan when you see it because you a) don’t like it, b) could care less, or c) you’ve made it a thousand times already, or whatever.

I tended toward the “challenge” part this month. When I saw that the recipe was Lavash Crackers I couldn’t have been less excited. Crackers? Are you kidding? I couldn’t think of a single reason why I’d want to make homemade crackers. And we were to make a vegan and gluten free dip to boot. *groan*

I don’t mean to upset the hosts, it’s just not my cup of tea. When I think of “baking”, savory foods don't come to mind. But then I smacked myself (figuratively) across the face, told myself to stop being a crank, and figure out how to make it fun.

Once I got past my mental block, the idea for “animal crackers” popped into my head right away. How cute would that be? Very! So then, what dip… well, that didn’t take long either. Hubby and I both adore hummus, so hummus it was. I’d always wanted to find a good homemade recipe. I figured I might as well turn this into a “find an awesome hummus recipe” challenge.

To my surprise, I had a blast making the crackers. I dumped out my “100 Piece Cookie Cutter Set” (which I know serious cookie folks probably laugh at, but I’ve used so many times since I bought it 150 years ago), dug around for the animals and went to town.

The risen dough, which is made from flour, water, salt, a little sweetener, and a little oil, is first pressed into a rectangle, then rolled out thinly.

I think I should have rolled the dough a tad thinner to make it more of a true Lavash cracker. From what I read on Wikipedia, these Armenian crackers are soft when fresh (like a tortilla), but they dry quickly and become brittle and hard. Mine were still somewhat soft in the middle.

I got busy with the cutters (my sons contribution was the lone tennis racket, lol). Once finished, I cut lines between the shapes to make the baked crackers easier to handle. I thought it looked like some kind of whacky edible puzzle!

We were welcome to coat the crackers with any type of spice before baking, such as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and the like. I used kosher salt.

To free the baked animals, I used my (food-only) exacto knife, but then figured out it was easier to simply pull and pry the excess cracker shards away by hand.

A sampling of my cracker menagerie...

I had to quickly take a few shots of the whole kit and kaboodle since hubby was taking this to a football get-together. I'm not sure how one makes hummus look appealing, but here it is...

So there you go! Another great challenge, thanks to this month's hosts Shel from Musings from the Fishbowl and Natalie from Gluten a Go Go. You can find the cracker recipe on Shel's blog. Please stop by the other Daring Baker's sites to see their lovely crackers.


I started with a recipe and added a little of this and a little of that until it tasted like I wanted.

1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
1-2 garlic cloves
4 Tbsp. olive oil
4-5 tsp. tahini (found in the Mediterranean section at the grocers)
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
2 T. reserved chickpea liquid

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Except for the chickpeas, don't add the entire amount of the other ingredients initially. Hold back part of them, so you can add more if desired. Blend until smooth. Add more chickpea liquid if necessary to attain desired consistency.

My hubby likes olive oil drizzled on the plated hummus before serving.

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