I’m a member The Recipe Redux food blogger group. Each month they challenge us to develop a recipe based on a theme. This month is quick breads. Great theme because in this season of busy, anything quick is a time life saver.
What’s a quick bread?
A quick bread is, well, quick, because rather than relying on yeast to do the leavening, baking soda or baking powder provide the gas for the batter to rise. With a little moisture and heat these breads climb right out of their pans. There is no kneading or rising time required, just a hot oven. Quick breads do best when they go into an oven that is the right temperature for the food. Biscuits like 425-450 degrees, corn bread and muffins prefer 400-425 degrees and banana bread is happy at 350-375 degrees.
Saving money with a happy quick bread
Speaking of happy, these seed-studded crackers make lots of people smile. Doesn’t matter if I serve a dip or a cheese tray, these are the first to go from a cracker selection.
But those fruit-flecked crackers can be expensive. I wanted to reduce the pinch of some holiday bills by making my own. A search on the Internet reveals many bakers are into DIY, which makes it difficult to give credit to a recipe creator. This is the first one shared with me a few years ago when a friend tucked some in a Christmas bag
A convenient, friendly quick bread
The really great news is that you can shop your cupboards to see if you can make these without a grocery store visit. Replace the molasses with honey or the apricots with other dried fruits. Sub in herbs and nuts for those you prefer. Or if nuts aren’t your thing, leave them out. In this recipe, I ground the flaxseeds by whirling them in my blender for a few seconds. Flax digests better if it’s ground. Ideas to get you going…
- dried plums and crystallized ginger
- dried cranberries and orange zest
- dried figs and Kalamata olives
- dried cherries and almonds
- raisins and walnuts
I used mini-loaf pans but for more interest, I also wanted some round crackers. I took a lesson from my grandma who used to bake raisin bread in coffee cans. Didn’t really want crackers THAT big, so I used clean, empty bean cans. I sprayed the cans generously with cooking spray, then sprinkled flour in the can to make sure the baked loaf would slide out easily. I rolled and tapped the can so the flour covered the surface. Of course, you can also use regular bread pans. If you do, the baking time will be 10-15 minutes longer.
If baking crackers on mixing day, before slicing, put the loaf in freezer for an hour or two. The firmer the loaf, the easier to slice. However, you don’t want to slice a frozen loaf (ouch!).
For the “second bake” (to crisp the crackers), heat oven to 300 degrees. With a serated knife, slice thin pieces, approximately 1/8-inch. Place on baking sheet, bake 30 minutes or until dry. The crisps will continue to “crisp” after removal from oven. Cool thoroughly and store in airtight container.
See my Apricot Pecan Crisps video below for all the details.
A most delicious quick bread…Apricot Pecan CrispsPrint
Apricot Pecan Thyme Crisps
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 60 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- 2 cups flour, all-purpose, white whole-wheat, or a combination with even some of it rye
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper, pinch or more, depending on taste
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray 4 mini loaf pans with baking spray. Set aside.
- Combine milk and vinegar and allow to stand 10 minutes to thicken.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and pepper. Remove a couple tablespoons of flour mixture and in a separate bowl toss that with the dried fruit to coat the fruit. (This keeps the fruit from sinking in the batter).
- Pour sour milk and molasses into flour mixture. Add nuts, seeds, thyme, and fruit. Stir gently to mix, you just want ingredients combined.
- Divide batter between prepared pans, filling 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted near center of loaf comes out clean. Remove from oven and set pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the loaves out of pans onto the cooling rack to cool completely. At this point the loaf may be wrapped tightly and frozen.
- If baking crackers on mixing day, before slicing, put loaf in freezer for an hour or two. The firmer the loaf, the easier to slice. However, you don’t want to slice a frozen loaf (ouch!).
- For the “second bake” to crisp the crackers, heat oven to 300 degrees. With a serrated knife, slice thin pieces, approximately 1/8-inch. Place on baking sheet, bake 30 minutes or until dry. The crisps will continue to “crisp” after removal from oven. Cool thoroughly and store in airtight container.
These crackers make great gifts. Give them nibble-ready or gift the loaf with slicing and baking instructions. Your gift recipients will thank you. And call you for the recipe 😉
With more ideas than a kid’s wish list, take a look at what my fellow food bloggers are baking, serving, and gifting.