Saturday, September 27, 2008

Daring Bakers September Challenge: Vegan Lavash and Toppings

After seeing the last few months of cakes, Danish braids, and eclairs, I finally decided enough was enough. I wanted to be a Daring Baker too! Now I am! I anxiously awaited my first challenge and then it came...vegan and/or gluten free lavash crackers and vegan and gluten free toppings. Umm...what?! In preparation for my first challenge, I actually went out an bought a ton of butter. I like to keep extra in the freezer, and now you're telling me I can't use it? The recipe was chosen by Shel from Musings From the Fishbowl and Natalie from Gluten A Go Go. Once my initial shock passed, I began to look at this for what it truly was...a challenge. And a really fun one at that. I had all the ingredients for the crackers already, except for the yeast, so I just had to think about what I wanted to do for the dips. That was quickly solved by a trip to the farmers market. I made two savory crackers and then one sweet. For my savory dip, I grilled tomatoes and made a nice little salsa (which FYI, is also awesome with scrambled eggs). Inspired by my friend's bluberry and blackberry galette, I thought I would do a dip with these same components for the sweet crackers, but that particular weekend at the farmers market there were no blueberries or blackberries to be found. I think it was just an off week because they were there a couple of weeks later. One of the farmers convinced me to try a golden raspberry so I decided to make my sweet dip based on that. It was good, but verrry tart. I think I actually enjoyed the sweet crackers on their own more than with a dip, although they were pretty good with my fig jam. I made my first batches of crackers during the first weekend of the month, but then last week I decided to make them again, replacing some of the regular flour with whole wheat flour. I kneaded the dough for longer than the 10 required minutes. I find kneading dough to be comforting, especially after a day of dealing with whiny actors, but that's a whole other story (PS, those actors that are my friends, you know I love you and I am sooo not talking about you!). In both cases, I didn't roll my dough out as thin as I could have so some of the crackers came out a little chewy and my very first batch required double time in the oven, but overall I was really happy with how they turned out.

For the first batch of savory crackers, I topped them with kosher salt and sesame seeds. These were the ones that required double the baking time, but they still came out really good. I decided to tear them apart after baking to give them a more rustic look. For the next batch of savory crackers, I used sesame seeds, kosher salt, cumin powder, and cayenne pepper. I forgot to press the seeds into the dough so most of the seeds fell off after I tore the crackers apart, but it was still a delicious cracker. Spicy and made doubly so with the grilled tomato salsa. The salsa was just Roma tomatoes rubbed on each side with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled for a couple of minutes on each side. Let the tomatoes cool and toss with jalapeno, green onions, cilantro, lime juice and season with salt and pepper.For the first sweet crackers I just combined a tablespoon of sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon. I sprayed the dough with spray oil and then spread the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the top. I think these were my favorite. For the dip, I crushed a large handful of the golden raspberries in my hands and combined them with segments from one orange. Then I added about a tablespoon and a half of agave nectar and some lemon juice. Again, this is very tart (kind of like me) so if you want less tartness, reduce the lemon juice, or remove it all together.As I said, I really loved these crackers so I decided to try them again a few weeks later, replacing some of the regular flour with whole wheat flour. This time, I cut them before baking using a pizza cutter which made them easy to take apart once they had cooled. I did one batch of the savory with the same combination of kosher salt, sesame seeds, cumin powder, and cayenne pepper. This time I remembered to roll and press the sesame seeds into the dough, but some still fell off.
With the remaining scraps, I rolled them out and made another batch of the sweet crackers. Both of these versions were so good and such a nice snack to pack up and take to work. I have a feeling I will be making these crackers often. To get the full lavash recipe, visit Shel and Natalie. And thanks to them for picking a fun challenge. Visit the blogroll to see how the other crackers worked out.

Grilled Tomato Salsa

2 or 3 Roma tomatoes sliced, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
Olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 or 2 green onions, chopped
Juice from 1 lime

Preheat a grill. Brush each tomato slice with olive oil on each side. Season with salt and pepper. Grill on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool. In a small bowl combine the jalapeno, green onions, and lime juice. Chop the tomatoes and add to the mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve with cooled crackers.

Golden Raspberry and Orange Relish

1 large handful of golden raspberries, crushed
1 orange, cut into segments and roughly chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar or more to taste
Juice from 1 lemon
Zest from 1/2 lemon

Combine everything. Drain excess juice if desired.

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CECIL said...

Ohhh!! I can relate about Daring Bakers! I was hoping to join for this month challenge, but of course, I am so absent minded that I did not send in my 'request' until it's too late :) Next time for sure.

Anyway, this looks delicious! With all these toppings, mmh!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Sweet crackers with golden raspberry relish?! Inspired!

Gretchen Noelle said...

All of this looks incredibly tasty! The golden raspberries are especially intriguing! Welcome to the Daring Bakers!

Natalie Que said...

Congrats and welcome, you have certainly arrived now! I only joined last month and I already totally spaced that the day was the 27th, not the end of the month again -oops!

This looks great, and I love what you did with the challenge

Eat4Fun said...

Congratulations on completing your first DB Challenge! You really took the DB challenge to task making savory and sweet lavash, plus redo'ing the recipe with whole wheat flour. Fantastic job!

Helene said...

Wonderful take on the challenge! Well done my friend!

Heather said...

very beautiful! i love the raspberry! congrats on the first challenge!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Wow! You really went all out! All of your lavash look perfect and your dips are so fresh and lovely! I'm going to have to try a sweet version of these too. They sound great! Well done!

Maggie said...

Wonderful job! I love the sound of the combination of sesame and spices on the savory crackers.

silverrock said...

Mmmm.... grilled tomato salsa! Sounds delish :) Way to go on your first DB challenge, the crackers look beautiful

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Great looking crackers! I love your toppings! Delicious!



Thistlemoon said...

Sweet and savory! Yummy! They looks great!

Linda Judd said...

Welcome, fellow-first-timer! This was my first DB challenge as well. And wasn't it a lot of fun?! Your crackers look wonderful. I clicked to enlarge one of the pictures, and saw what beautiful texture they had. Nice work.

Oh, and thank you for your comment on my blog as well. As you know, when you're new, the comments are very encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Love how you split it into sweet AND savory, especially the golden raspberry relish, which would also go SO well with the savory crackers and vice versa.

Very creative and congrats on a first challenge well done! This was my second, and I can't wait for number three, IF I'm physically able to pull it off in a month!! :P

Meeta K. Wolff said...

wow! that raspberry relish sounds awesome. perfect looking crackers too. brilliant!