Saturday 7 September 2013

Cheesy flax & wholegrain crackers

Here's another lunchbox creation of mine that we have been making regularly this year. Like most of my recipes it is really flexible; it responds well if you are like me and find that you have a need to play around with the ingredients :) I try to mix up the wholegrains and flavours each time I make it. Buckwheat groats work really well in this recipe if you are looking to make it gluten-free. You can shape the dough anyway you choose, cut it into sticks, squares, shapes . . . your children will never be bored of them!

There are several reasons why I choose to make our own crackers in preference to purchasing commercial varieties. You could be tricked into thinking you are making a good choice when you see such claims on labels as 'high in fibre' or 'wholegrain', but take a closer look and you'll likely find processed vegetable oils, flavours, colours, emulsifiers, even MSG and other harmful additives lurking in the finer print, not to mention high levels of sodium from table salt. Plus it's virtually impossible to avoid trans fats in this type of product where fats in this form are used because they are cheap and function to extend the shelf-life of pastry and bakery goods. Consumers trying to avoid this dangerous fat, which is known to increase  'bad' LDL cholesterol and inflammation in the body, can very easily be caught out, especially in areas where trans fat labelling is not mandatory, which is the case in Australia and New Zealand, (  In some parts of the U.S. where trans fat labelling is mandatory, a product claiming to contain 0g trans fat, is actually permitted to contain up to 0.5g of trans fats per serving! In Hong Kong, the labelling of trans fats has been mandatory since 2010, but more realistically, food products containing less than 0.3g of trans fats per 100g are permitted to be labelled as containing 0g trans fats ( A good rule of thumb is that if you see partially hydrogenated fats listed in the ingredients on a food product, you are looking at trans fats. But really, to avoid the lies and confusion (and unnatural trans fats in any dose), it just makes sense to make your own nutritious and tasty, additive-free crackers with ingredients you can trust. Plus, it's easy as can be with a Thermomix on your side . . .

100g golden flaxseeds (linseeds)
100g buckwheat groats (or kasha), oat groats or spelt grains (or a combination)
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 spring onions, sliced into 5cm pieces or 20g brown onion
1 garlic clove
70g parmesan cheese (or use vintage)
20g unsalted organic butter, cold or coconut oil (solid)
1/4 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
1-2 tsp raw honey, optional
70g milk of choice (or filtered water)
1 x egg white, to brush
poppy or sesame seeds, to sprinkle

flavouring options:  have some fun with your own flavour combinations!
- fresh herbs: rosemary leaves, basil, parsley or a mix
- 2 tsp dried parsley leaves, 1 tsp dried coriander leaves, 1/4 tsp whole peppercorns
- you can also use 1/4- 1/2 tsp each of onion and garlic powder in place of fresh

Gluten-free?  50g buckwheat groats + 50g brown rice works well
Dairy-free?  omit the cheese, add 1-2 tbsp nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavour, use coconut oil or ghee (if tolerated) instead of butter, use a plant-based milk

1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C.

2. Grind peppercorns (if using) with flaxseeds and buckwheat/oat/spelt groats on speed 9 for 1 minute. Decant and set aside in a bowl.

3. Grate parmesan and/or vintage cheese on speed 8 for 5-10 seconds. Decant and set aside in the same bowl with the freshly ground wholegrains.

4. Add spring onions (or piece of onion), fresh herbs and garlic to TM bowl and chop on speed 7 for 5-10 seconds. 

5. Add butter, salt, baking powder, honey and return flours and cheese to the TM bowl with dried herbs of choice (if using). Mix on speed 6 for 5 seconds.

6. Add 50-70g water or milk (less if you have omitted the cheese). Knead on interval speed for 1 minute into a soft and moist dough - add more water or milk if needed.

7. Turn dough out onto a thermomat or a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly to shape into a smooth ball. Roll out to 2mm thickness. Cut into desired shape. I like to use a fluted roller cutter. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with poppy or seeds if desired.

8. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until light brown and firm. Rest on the oven tray for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks.

nutrition tid bit
Although it's name could confuse you, buckwheat is in fact not related to wheat and like quinoa is technically the seed of a fruit! Buckwheat is a source of good quality protein, containing 8 essential amino acids. It is also rich in many of the B vitamins, as well as the minerals; phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Buckwheat is also high in flavonoids, which are phytonutrients known to protect against disease.

I like to activate my buckwheat groats for use in this recipe to increase their digestibility. You can purchase them in this form at health food stores under the name of 'buckinis'. Have you ever tried buckwheat at breakfast? . .

. . . an easy and nutritious breakfast idea of mine is to combine about 1/4 cup activated buckwheat (buckinis) with 1 tbsp freshly ground chia seeds, 1-2 diced dried dates (opt) + handful of fresh (or defrosted) berries. You could also add chopped raw nuts. Serve with biodynamic natural yoghurt, coconut yoghurt or a thermomix nut milk + a stir in a little vanilla bean paste (optional) for a delicious & nutritious, antioxidant rich, gut friendly kick-start to the day!

In case you are concerned about the effect of baking on the healthy omega-3 fats in flaxseeds, research has shown that they remain heat stable in both the whole and ground state during baking, however, the same cannot be said for flax oil when it has been isolated from the whole seed. The nutritional quality of the extracted oil is considerable more fragile, (


  1. Have made this a few times now experimenting with different herbs to get different flavours. First time just did cracked pepper and were delicious. Have also try sweet basil. Might give dill a try next time. Trying to crack the perfect combination for the kids to gobble up!

    1. Thanks for your comment Judith. I love that you are experimenting with flavours for these crackers. My girls love fresh rosemary and an extra sprinkle of Himalayan salt on top :)

  2. Hi Paula
    Thank you for the great recipes. I'm so glad I found your blog. I've just made these crackers and your choc/ginger muesli bar for the kids lunches. So healthy and nut free. They are a hit! Can't thank you enough. Sandra