Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cumin Crackers for The Spice Trail Challenge

When Vanesther of Bangers and Mash blog announced that the next spice in the Spice Trail Challenge was cumin my first thoughts were to try out a recipe that paired chocolate and cumin. I did initially make a batch of chocolate and cumin fudge but it was just 'ok', not special in any way, so I had another think and decided to make some cumin crackers. These were much more successful at showcasing the gorgeous aroma of cumin and they pair very well with cheese or simply as a savoury snack.

The recipe was inspired by one I found on the BBC food website from John Whaite (Great British Bake Off contestant) for asian spice crackers. This recipe has a number of spices as well as cumin and quite a lot of salt so I decided to tinker with it to bring the cumin center stage and cut back on the salt. I also tried a blend of two flours using a small amount of coarse semolina flour for texture but plain flour is fine too.
10g whole cumin seed
4g freshly ground black pepper
4g / 1 level tsp of a good vegetable stock powder such as Marigold reduced salt bouillon
6g / 1 level tsp sea salt
1 half tsp sugar or neutral flavoured honey
70g butter
1tsp sesame oil
30g course semolina flour*
270g italian OO flour*  
extra flour for rolling out dough

*or just 300g in total of plain white flour 

Pre heat the oven to 200C Gas 7

Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper

  • Lightly toast the whole cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and then coarsely grind in a pestle & mortar or spice grinder.
  • Weigh the flours into a bowl and stir in the cumin, black pepper, stock powder, salt, sugar/honey.
  • Rub the butter and sesame oil into the flour mixture until you have a fine crumb texture.
  • Add approx 80-90ml of cold water gradually to the bowl to bring the dough together into a firm ball. You want a cohesive but not sticky ball of dough. 
  • Knead lightly until the dough is smooth.

  • Cover the dough and rest for 30 minutes or more to 'relax' the dough. Unless the kitchen is quite warm I will just leave the dough on the counter and cover with the bowl, saves wasting cling film.
Rolling & Shaping
Now roll the dough out thinly, if you have a pasta rolling machine that you get on with you may find that quite useful for getting an even, thin dough. I prefer to use a rolling pin as I get tangled up with my pasta roller. After getting the dough quite thin I then swap to my 'cracker' rolling pin which I found in a TK Max shop many years ago. This gives a nice texture to the crackers.
Otherwise you may have a pastry docker or simply use a fork to prick holes over the dough which helps them bake evenly and without bubbling up.

If you are hot on presentation you might want to use a cookie cutter to stamp out your crackers or if you are unfussed and perhaps a bit lazy like myself you will just cut them out with a blade/dough scraper into whatever rectangular size you like.


Place the cracker pieces onto the lined baking sheets. They can be positioned quite close as the dough will not spread.

Bake in the pre heated oven for 8-10 minutes until an even golden brown. You may need to turn the trays around half way through each bake to get an even colour on the crackers. Keep an eye on them as the dough can turn dark brown very quickly.

Transfer the baked crackers to a cooling rack.

Once cool, store in an air tight container to keep crisp.

The crackers are very good with cheese, as a scoop for an avocado dip or as a nibble with drinks.

I am submitting this recipe to the June 2014 Spice Trail Challenge, where you will find all the other Cumin recipes submitted to Vanesther's blog challenge.

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