It’s been over a month that I’m tweaking this recipe. It first started with a kitchen experiment with my mother-in-law when we were spending the weekend in the mountains.
The first batch was a bitter sorry excuse of a tough cracker. In our defense, we think the oats variety we bought in bulk was to blame. Plus making the dough with just water and zaatar did not do anything to enhance the flavor. With the second trial, I added milk, zaatar and a bit of olive oil to a 5 cereal mix (oats, barley, rye, rice, wheat). The crackers were tasty, but I left the mixture coarsely ground and I might have over baked them a bit. So they were a bit on the tough side. But my girl absolutely loved them and preferred them over the banana-oat cookies! Seeing how much she enjoyed munching on them, I had to give the recipe another go. The third time around, it was approximately the same as the one I’m sharing today, however without the milk and with a bit more oil. I must admit, the extra oil gave it a crumbly kind of addictive texture. But for the sake of a balanced, healthy and still very yummy cracker, I will opt for this last version.
So while preparing them, use your judgment. If you find the “dough” to be too dry, either add extra water, milk or olive oil and use the variety/quantity of herbs you like. I used turmeric* here even though I am not a big fan. However, knowing its beneficial anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties, I like to incorporate it in small doses here and there.
Ingredients ( makes 20 large uneven alien-shaped crackers!; yes, you must know by now that I suck in design and geometry haha! So if you’re not like me, please go ahead and give these crackers a decent shape)
- 2 cups rolled oats or quick-cooking oats (or Naturalia 5-cereal mix)
- 1 egg
- zest of a half lemon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons zaatar mix
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (can omit if feeding toddlers)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup milk of choice (can substitute water)
- around 1/2 cup olives, pitted, optional (this time I used green because that’s what I had on hand, black kalamata will taste even better)
Heat oven to 180C-350F
Add all the ingredients without the milk and olives and stir well. Put the mixture in a food processor and mix. Add the milk at this stage and mix till a dough is formed. If you find that the dough needs a bit more liquid, add a splash of water, milk or olive oil. Mix it with your hands and add the pitted olives. Form into twenty or so small balls.
You can shape it with your hand into circular or rectangular shapes but I found placing the ball between two plastic wrap papers and thinning it with a rolling pin works best for a very crispy result.
Place the crackers on an oiled baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes or until the edges turn light brown.
Enjoy with labneh or white cheese and with some vegetables on the side for breakfast or dinner!
Use up to four tablespoons olive oil, omit the milk and then add water to form a dough (that was my third attempt, higher in calories though).
* Turmeric (also known as curcuma, 3e’deh safra in arabic) has been the subject of much research due to its active ingredient, curcumin. Curcumin, which gives it its intense color has shown some promising results in the field of cancer prevention, and slowing down progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties in cases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Even though more research is needed, it won’t hurt if we consumed more of this spice.