Servings: 40 pieces
1 cup milk (any fat % cow’s milk)
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt (I used Greek)
1/2 cup plain flour (all purpose)
1/2 cup whole wheat / wholemeal flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or other dried fruit of choice)
1 tsp baking soda / bi-carb (or 3 tsp baking powder)
1/2 cup rolled oats (or 1/3 cup more nuts of choice)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (or other seeds or nuts of choice)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (can omit)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (or All Spice or 1/8 tsp cloves)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1/2 tsp more thyme)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Preheat oven to 350F (all oven types). Grease and line a small loaf tin with baking paper (mine is 8.5 x 4.5 x 3”) (Note 1).
Whisk the milk, sugar and yoghurt in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, add plain flour, wholemeal flour and cranberries. Stir – use fingers to break up cranberries if required.
Add remaining ingredients, including Spices, plus the milk mixture. It should be a thick batter, like muffin batter (note: batter in video looks slightly thicker because it was standing for a couple of minutes, doesn’t affect outcome).
Scrape/pour into tin. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool on rack, then wrap in cling wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours, up to 3 months. (Note 2)
Unwrap loaf and allow to thaw partially so the outside is not rock hard frozen (around 20 minutes).
Preheat oven to 250F (all oven types). Place one shelf in the middle, and another shelf beneath it.
Use a serrated bread knife to slice thinly – around 1/12” thick (see video). Place biscuits on 2 large baking trays, you can squeeze them in as they won’t expand or stick.
Bake for 50 minutes or until they are a light brown, swapping trays halfway.
Leave biscuits on tray to cool – they will harden so they snap when you break them. (Note 3)
Store in an airtight container for 4 weeks (probably ok for longer, I’ve only done 4 weeks). Brilliant served with creamy cheeses like brie, camembert, but soft, creamy blue cheeses is the ultimate pairing.
1. The size of the loaf tin determines the shape of the cracker. I like using a small one so you get more height to the loaf, so when it slices they are a nice rectangle shape.
The source recipe (see Note 3) suggests baking the batter in mason jars to make them round which looks terrific. My concern here was ensuring that the mason jar used is in fact oven proof, and because I don’t even know if mine are, I opted to stay away from this technique. You can actually get baking tubes the size of crackers. However, there are no hard and fast rules about what shape gourmet crackers should be and the rectangle shape of mine are good for snapping into 2 pieces so each piece becomes about the size of a round cracker, so I’m happy with these.
2. Freezing the loaf completely through to the middle makes it far easier to slice thinly.
I haven’t actually frozen mine for 3 months (I’ve done around 1 month) but I’ve researched into this based on the ingredients included and it seems that the nuts / fruit will / may start to lose flavour after around 3 months. If they aren’t fully crisp, pop them back in the oven and let them cool in the still hot, closed, turned off oven.
3. This recipe is adapted from this Copycat Trader Joes Pumpkin Cranberry Gourmet Crackers by The Café Sucrefarine, great blog run by a mature husband and wife team. That’s a nice way of saying they have many years of cooking experience, their recipes are reliable and they have great taste. The changes I made: I use milk instead of buttermilk because I honestly could not tell the difference, and I use yoghurt instead of 3 tbsp pumpkin puree because we don’t get canned pumpkin here and even if we did, I would prefer to avoid opening a can to just use 3 tbsp. Plus yoghurt combined with milk = great buttermilk sub. I also bake mine longer at a lower temp because I find it crisps the biscuits better without colouring them too much and ensuring the cranberries don’t burn.