one day after yoga, i bopped next door to the elliot bay bookstore to kill time judging books by their covers and drooling over cookbook photos. i rarely purchase cookbooks, probably due to the fact that there are so many incredible - and free - food blogs on the web to draw inspiration from. but every once in a while, i discover a cookbook that sparks my interest to the extent that i have to rush home and read it cover to cover. "flavor flours" was exactly that type of book.
i've always enjoy experimenting with the use of alternative flours. not because i follow any particular diet, but because of the unique flavors and textures they offer. i am all for gluten (and thankfully my tummy agrees with it too), but having variety is thrilling! when i saw this cookbook for the first time, it took me all of five seconds before making a decision and heading to the cashier. i rushed home, brewed a pot of tea and sat down to read it cover to cover. each chapter focuses on a different flour with savory and sweet recipes fitting for any meal of the day. i'm not much of a baker, but i would like to be, and this cookbook offered me so many inspiring ideas i realized the significance of my post-it notes marking every other recipe had become meaningless. clearly, i was going to have to test each recipe, 'julie & julia' style.
i've dabbled quite a bit with nut flours, so i decided to skip ahead to the chapter on teff flour (known commonly for its use in eithiopian injera bread). the first recipe i tested was for a delightfully rich,and crumbly bittersweet teff flour brownie that i shared with my bandmates. the second recipe was for a date cake loaf - which to my surprise was more breakfast-y than dessert-y. after toasting up leftovers with a bit of butter and honey, i had an idea to make another loaf and turn them into crostini crackers. i made only a few adaptations to the original recipe, making the resulting crackers a bit more savory - perfect for pairing with a fine cheese.
teff flour fruit & nut crackers ~ makes about 30
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1 cup pitted medjool dates, quartered
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1 3/4 cups raw walnut pieces
2 large eggs
preheat oven to 300f-degrees. in a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, baking powder, palm sugar, salt and black pepper. add chopped dried fruit and mix to coat fruit in flour, breaking up any clumps of fruit. in a second bowl, beat eggs until lightened in color. fold eggs into the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
line all sides of a 8x4" bread loaf with parchment paper or foil. pour in the batter and press down with damp fingers to level out the loaf. bake for 60-70 minutes, until lightly brown and crusted. let cool in the baking dish for at least 2 hours before slicing into crostini. although i might recommend slicing off the ends to nibble on while the loaf is still warm.
once the loaf is cool, use a sharp bread knife to cut the loaf into 1/8" thick slices (or as thin as you can manage without them crumbling apart). if the loaf is warm at all, you will have a very difficult time.
spread the thin slices out in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. reheat oven to 250f-degrees and bake for 60-80 minutes, flipping them over after 30 minutes. they will brown just slightly and still be a bit maliable while still warm, but once they have cooled they will be crisp little crackers! store in an airtight container and serve with a fine cheese (like my favorite, humbolt fog!) or with my olive and fig tapenade.