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Friday, February 11, 2011

BIG, CRISPY, WHOLE GRAIN, LOW-FAT PIZZELLE CRACKERS AND A YUMMY LOW-FAT VEGAN ARTICHOKE HEART AND SPINACH (OR KALE) DIP

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Ever since I had success making sweet pizzelle cookies with my "new" pizzelle maker (which I purchased at Value Village for $10!), I have been wanting to try making crackers with it.  Well, yesterday I finally got around to it, and, though this is a very basic cracker, I am buoyed by another success and eager to try some different formulations!

No rolling-out and no oven is necessary with this method of making crackers. Instead, the runny batter is baked (very quickly) on an electric pizzelle maker (or you could use an electric Scandinavian krumkake iron, an electric ice cream cone or waffle cone maker or an electric "petite cone" maker).  I actually found that making them this way is less bother than rolling out cracker dough very thinly and evenly and watching them in the oven so that the edges don't burn!

It takes about 1 minute for each batch of two crackers on my pizzelle maker.  I made 40 large crackers in under 1/2 an hour, doing some clean-up and other kitchen chores as I went, so it’s really not much of a bother.  Just be sure to have your cookie racks ready and a timer to time each batch!  

This is a very basic, though tasty, whole grain cracker—in future I’m going to experiment with different types of flours and meals, herbs, seeds, seasonings, etc. Each cracker contains only 33 calories and less than 1 g fat per cracker! And they are big crackers! 



Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S WHOLE WHEAT AND OAT BRAN PIZZELLE CRACKERS
Makes about 40 large, thin, crispy crackers

Have fun experimenting with other whole grain flours and meals!
NOTE:  See text above the recipe.

Dry Mix:
2 cups whole wheat flour (I used regular, NOT pastry flour)
1/3 cup oat bran
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy flour or chickpea flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Wet Mix:
2 tablespoons oil or melted Earth Balance
1 2/3 cups water
1 cup nondairy milk

Mix the Dry Mix ingredients with the Wet Mix ingredients in a large food processor until smooth.  Or, you can mix the Dry Mix ingredients together in a large bowl, and then whisk in the Wet Mix.

Heat an electric pizzelle maker (or alternate-- see text above) according to directions (it takes 7 to 8 minutes and usually there is a light that tells you when it’s hot). When it's hot, add a tablespoon of the batter to the middle of each cookie section. (These crackers use a little less batter than the sweet pizzelle, and need to be cooked a little longer.)


Close the iron and secure the handle. Set a timer for 1 minute. When the timer goes, open the iron and check that the crackers are golden, not whitish.  If they are not quite golden, close again and cook for a few more seconds only! Carefully loosen each cracker and place them on the cooling racks (it's okay to overlap slightly).


Continue until you have used up all of the batter.

If the crackers seem at all flexible after cooling thoroughly, you may need an extra step (which I did).   Place the crackers on dry cookie sheets and place in a 150-170 degree F oven.  If you have convection, use that (and make sure the oven is venting properly).  If not, leave the oven door open a crack (place a pot holder between the door and the top of the stove to hold it open a crack).  I did this for about 20 minutes.  The crackers were totally crispy afterwards.  Cool them thoroughly before storing in airtight containers.

Cooking Tips
1.) My pizzelle maker is non-stick, and the instruction booklet (which I found online) said there was no need to grease the cooking surfaces, but I found that I had to lightly and quickly grease the top and bottoms with a wadded paper towel coated with unhydrogenated shortening or a spray of oil from a pump spray bottle before baking each batch of sweet pizzelle, or they stuck. (And the surface is in excellent condition.)  However, with the crackers, I only had to grease or oil every 2 or 3 batches.

2.) My pizzelle maker's guide instructed me to use one heaping teaspoon of batter for each cookie, but this yielded a very small cookie-- which may be what you want. But for a cookie which totally filled each "depression" in the pizzelle iron, I had to use 4 teaspoons of batter exactly, but only 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) for each cracker.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per cracker): 33.1 calories; 22% calories from fat; 0.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 57.2mg sodium; 54.4mg potassium; 5.9g carbohydrates; 0.9g fiber; 0.8g sugar; 5.0g net carbs; 1.2g protein; 0.6 points.


 
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I wanted something elegant to go on my crackers, so I made a lower-fat variation of one of my (several) vegan versions of creamy artichoke heart and spinach dip.  This one is good cold or hot, and very easy to make!


BRYANNA'S YUMMY VEGAN, LOW-FAT ARTICHOKE HEART AND SPINACH DIP (HOT OR COLD)
Servings: 7
Yield: about 3 1/2 cups

1 (12.3 oz.) box extra-firm SILKEN tofu
2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
5 teaspoons lemon juice
4 1/2 teaspoons light miso
4 teaspoons tahini
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pinch sugar
2 tablespoons homemade vegan pesto or commercial vegan basil pesto
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
14 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed under hot water, and patted dry 
1(10 oz.) pckg. frozen spinach OR kale (which is what I used this time), thawed out and squeezed dry, chopped

NOTE: If you use fresh greens, use 12-16 ounces; wash and trim, chop and steam them until tender.  Drain and cool, then squeeze as much liquid out of them [in your fist] as possible.)

Optional (for hot version)
1/2 cup whole grain breadcrumbs
Paprika or smoked paprika
Serve with:
Raw veggie dippers, crusty bread, bread crisps, pita crisps, or whole grain crackers

Directions:
Process the silken tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, tahini, salt and sugar in a food processor until very smooth. Add the vegan mayonnaise, pesto and pepper and process again.  Add the artichokes and spinach, and pulse just to chop the artichokes a bit and combine. 

To serve cold, spoon into an attractive serving dish and sprinkle with paprika or smoked paprika.  Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

To serve hot, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a shallow baking dish. Spread the mixture into the baking dish.  Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and paprika.  Spray with a bit of oil from a pump sprayer.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. 

Nutrition Facts for cold version made with Reduced-Fat Vegenaise or Spectrum Naturals Eggless,Vegan Light Canola Mayo:
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 259.1 calories; 32% calories from fat; 10.4g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 413.9mg sodium; 1724.2mg potassium; 32.0g carbohydrates; 12.5g fiber; 0.9g sugar; 19.5g net carbs; 19.2g protein; 5.2 points.
(NOTE: the Spectrum Naturals mayo is 10 calories less per tablespoon than the Vegenaise.)
For hot version, with breadcrumbs:
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 267.6 calories; 32% calories from fat; 10.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 435.8mg sodium; 1727.4mg potassium; 33.6g carbohydrates; 12.6g fiber; 1.0g sugar; 21.0g net carbs; 19.5g protein; 5.4 points.

 Nutrition Facts for cold version using my low-fat eggless mayo:
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 238.0 calories; 25% calories from fat; 7.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 418.5mg sodium; 1726.8mg potassium; 32.3g carbohydrates; 12.6g fiber; 1.0g sugar; 19.8g net carbs; 19.8g protein; 4.6 points.

For hot version, with breadcrumbs:
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 246.5 calories; 24% calories from fat; 7.3g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 440.4mg sodium; 1730.0mg potassium; 34.0g carbohydrates; 12.7g fiber; 1.2g sugar; 21.3g net carbs; 20.0g protein; 4.7 points.


Enjoy!

5 comments:

Lee Ann said...

You've read my mind.
I've been looking for a way to use up a can of artichokes, a box of tofu and 1/2 jar of pesto.
Can't wait to try it this weekend

Marie said...

Those pizzelle look wonderful! A salty version is a brilliant idea.
Thanks for sharing.

Denise said...

I've made a similar recipe that didn't call for the pesto, tahini, lime juice or light miso. It was easy, but gross. I'm hoping these easy changes will make all the difference!

kathleen said...

i knew there was some reason i should have bought one of those waffle cone makers a few weeks ago for about a buck, brand new. this recipe looks wonderful, esp. for big bread eaters like us. thanks

Gauri Radha गौरी राधा said...

This looks so appetizing :-)