Christmas is just a week away! Last week I had recipes for sweet treats to make for loved ones, but this week I wanted to look at savory goodies to make for friends and family who don’t have such a sweet tooth. Or these could come in handy if you’re just getting low on sugar.
First up, how about some homemade gourmet crackers? I made crackers once a long time ago, and I always think about doing it again, but I usually forget, or I get too preoccupied with more pressing food needs. It’s kind of like making pie crust, but not as stressful. This recipe has lots of seeds to give them a hearty taste, but you can vary the type of seeds to suit your taste or pantry. And don’t worry about cutting the lines too straight — if they look too perfect, how will the recipient know that they’re homemade?
Next, I was kind of intrigued by the idea of these savory curry granola bars. They’re savory, but they still have a little sweetness from some dried mango and dried coconut and the honey that holds it all together. But that sweetness is masked by the peanut butter, cashews and pistachios, not to mention the oats and puffed rice. This is a no cook-recipe, you just have to allow time for them to harden together in the refrigerator for an hour.
Do you have a hiker or runner in your life? They might enjoy this nuts and seeds trail mix. It’s very simple, and only requires mixing two types of seeds, two types of nuts, dried apricots and dark chocolate chips, but eating it feels indulgent, and it can give you the energy boost you need to keep going. Even if the task at hand is just organizing your closet.
And finally, because we all know someone who is just totally a pickle person, I’m sharing this recipe for Christmas pickles. I found this recipe on Taste of Home and it kind of made me laugh because you start by taking store-bought pickles, separating them from the pickle juice, and then make the juice extra sugary, adding cherries and pearl onions for some red and white color and some jalapeno (and why not some cherry peppers too?) for some heat. The recipe had won some reader award, so it must be good, but I’m not a pickle person, so I’m not ready to make a gallon of pickles and stink up my house a week before Christmas. But that’s just me.
Pass me the cookie tin, please.
Homemade artisan crackers
3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup flax seeds
1/3 cup chia seeds (or sesame seeds)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground dried chipotle pepper (optional)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup water, or as needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets.
Stir flour, flax seeds, chia seeds, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried chipotle pepper powder together in a large bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Stir water and olive oil into butter-flour mixture with a fork until dough sticks together and pulls easily off the sides of the bowl. Divide dough into 2 portions.
Turn 1 dough portion out onto a floured work surface and roll out as thin as possible. Cut dough into squares and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake in the preheated oven until crackers are golden and crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Savory curry granola bars
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup chopped dried mango (unsweetened)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
In a large bowl, mix together the cereal, oats, coconut, cashews, pistachios, dried mango, salt, curry powder, ginger, and pepper.
In a separate bowl, stir together the honey and peanut butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Pack the mixture into a greased 8- by 8-inch or 9- by 13-inch pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour, then cut into bars.
Nuts and seeds trail mix
1 cup salted pumpkin seeds or pepitas
1 cup unblanched almonds
1 cup unsalted sunflower kernels
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup dried apricots, chopped into slices
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine. Store in an airtight container.
1 gallon whole dill pickles
11 and 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon whole cloves
3 to 4 jalapeno peppers, chopped
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 5 whole cinnamon sticks
24 ounces maraschino cherries
3 jars (15 ounces each) pearl onions, drained
1 teaspoon olive oil
Drain pickles, reserving juice; set juice aside.
Cut pickles into 1/2-inch slices; set aside.
In a large stockpot, combine sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, cloves, peppers, garlic, cinnamon sticks and pickle juice.
Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Discard cinnamon sticks.
In a large bowl, combine cherries, onions and pickle slices. Pour liquid over pickle mixture. Stir in oil.
Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours, stirring occasionally. Divide mixture among jars. Cover and store in the refrigerator up to 1 month.