|Cranberry and Hazelnut Raincoast Crisps|
One of the catering items that became increasingly successful from Stowe’s catering line was a product called Raincoast Crisps. They were making them for parties and then offering them in their store where they sold out immediately. The original Raincoast Crisps are available in 5 different flavours, some of them like Turkish Fig and Olive are available only seasonally.
We absolutely love the Rosemary Raisin Pecan Crisps but at $7 a box why not try your hand at making your own to spread the love a little further.
I came across an excellent recipe from Canada's own Julie Van Rosendaal from Dinner with Julie. With the holidays looming it seemed a good time to "festive up" these crackers with dried cranberries and hazelnuts. These are the biscotti of the "cracker world" since they are baked in loaves, sliced as thinly as possible and baked again. This recipe makes 4 small loaves which you can throw in the freezer ready to slice and bake again for an impromptu gathering.
They have a toasty, nutty flavour with a slightly sweet finish with hints of spice that goes well with cheeses and your favourite dips and spreads. These would be perfect for that holiday party. You can also use them crushed for a coating for chicken and a topping for a tasty casserole as well. They are just so versatile. If they sit out too long you can crisp them up again by warming them in a 375F oven for 5 - 7 minutes.
While I was at the Foodbuzz Festival last weekend I had a few moments to peek in at Cow Girl Creamery in the Ferry Building. I wanted Joan and Norma to have the opportunity to try an award winning blue cheese from Oregon that I had first tried in Seattle. It has only been in the past few years that blue cheese has graced the MTBT kitchen. The gentleman behind the counter was kind enough to open a new wheel for our tasting so we were in for a real treat!!
Rogue River Ceamery Blue is a handmade cheese, made from cow's milk and is only produced during the autumnal equinox and winter solstice. These cows graze in pastures that are along the Rogue River. They eat a variety of natural grasses, wild herbs, and wild flowers, supplemented with grass hay, alfalfa and grain grown on the ranch. This blue cheese is rich, creamy, with a slight sweetness. The wheels of Rogue River Blue are covered in Syrah and Merlot grape leaves macerated in Clear Creek pear brandy, giving an earthiness to the flavour. The cheese ripens in caves designed to emulate the ancient caves of Roquefort.
To make it spreadable I mixed it with a little cream cheese and a teaspoon of milk and voila you are ready for your holiday guests.
**Cranberry Hazelnut Raincoast Crisps**
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
1/2 cup hazelnuts or chopped pecans
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitos)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup flax seed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir a few strokes. Add the raisins, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed and rosemary and stir just until blended.
Pour the batter into two 8”x4” loaf pans (or 4 small loaf pans) that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Remove from the pans and cool on a wire rack.
The cooler the bread, the easier it is to slice really thin. You can leave it until the next day or pop it in the freezer. Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I like to slice and bake one loaf and pop the other in the freezer for another day.) Reduce the oven heat to 300° F and bake them for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10 minutes, until crisp and deep golden. Try not to eat them all at once.
Makes about 8 dozen crackers.
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