A cheese plate is a saving grace to those who are gluten free—until you get to the crackers. But these crisp accompaniments that have been traditionally wheat based are now available in many gluten-free renditions. Drawing on a variety of ingredients, gluten-free crackers can incorporate legumes, different flours, nuts, and even dried fruit. The choices are exciting and tasty—and possibly even more cheese friendly than their wheat-based counterparts.
Once you understand the basics about how wheat-free flours taste and behave, it’s easy to make your own gluten-free crackers. After some experimenting, these almond-and-chickpea-based cracker thins, with a hint of rosemary and pepper, hit the mark: deeply flavorful and snappy, without being tough, they also taste terrific with a range of cheeses, from a creamy fresh chèvre to a mild cheddar and a bold blue. Even if you’re not going gluten-free, these are lovable crackers.
Gluten-Free Rosemary Almond Crackers
Grinding almonds in a food processor to make your own almond flour has the benefit of being cheaper and, unlike store-bought almond flour, contributes a coarser texture, which is ideal for these crisp crackers. The dough is not fussy at all to work with, and the crackers come together in minutes using a food processor.
Makes two baking sheets of crackers
¾ cup whole almonds
1 can (15.5 ounces) low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
⅔ cup potato starch flour
⅓ cup sorghum flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped to make about ½ tablespoon
1 scant teaspoon kosher salt (reduce salt to ½ teaspoon if not using low-sodium chickpeas)
¼ to ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 tablespoons cold water
Heat the oven to 350ºF. To make the almond flour, put the whole almonds in the bowl of a food processor and chop them until most of the bits are very small, but not for so long that the mixture becomes pasty. Remove from the processor, and measure out 1/2 cup of the pulverized nuts.
Pulse the chickpeas in the food processor bowl (no need to wash it out) until coarsely chopped. Add the almond, potato starch, and sorghum flours, olive oil rosemary, salt, and pepper, and pulse until thoroughly combined. With the machine running, gradually add the cold water until the dough forms a ball.
Scrape the dough out of the bowl. Knead a few times to ensure that the dough is equally moist. Divide the dough into two pieces. You can roll it out immediately or wrap in plastic and chill overnight. If you chill it, let it warm up a little before rolling or it will crack.
Roll out one of the dough pieces as thinly as you can, using a rolling pin on a large rectangle on the parchment paper. (You will not be able to move it easily once it is rolled.) Use a light dusting of potato starch flour if the dough seems to be sticking to the rolling pin.
Slide the parchment with the sheet of dough onto a baking sheet. Dock the dough lightly with a fork. You can use a pizza cutter to score the dough into rectangles if you’d like, but leave them together on the parchment so they don’t rip apart. Repeat with the other piece of dough.
Bake until lightly brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. The crackers will curve away from the pan and be slightly golden brown along the edges when done. (For a crisp texture it’s best to err on the side of slightly overbaking than underbaking.) Let crackers cool on sheets, then break into shards or along score marks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to two weeks.
4 More Gluten-Free
For those who’d rather buy than bake, here are some other great-for-cheese crackers, minus the gluten: