Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crackers 'n Jam Cookies (that I think my dad would have loved)

I grew up in a family with six girls (no boys), and we had hearty appetites.  I often remember our dad would sit after a meal with a box of Purity or Carr's crackers and jam.  It was a bit of a joke, because us kids would eat like savages, and I suppose most nights our dad could have used another helping.  But we helped ourselves before he did - so he filled up on crackers and jam.
My dad passed when I was young, just a few days after I turned eleven.  Our family was changed forever in an instant.  This month marks the thirty year anniversary of his passing, and it feels very strange to me that so many years have gone by and despite not having many years with him, certain memories are very much in my present.  And, our oldest daughter is almost the age I was when we lost our father.  It's strange to have that perspective as a mother for your daughter while remembering your own self at that age.

I often wonder too, whether my dad would have been interested in eating vegan.  He was 'alternative' for his time.  I remember him visiting chiropractors when that was "out there" and his father kept a book on food reflexology that I now have.  Check out these photos from this late '60's reflexology book, I think they're quite darling.

But, even with these alternative interests, who knows what my dad would have thought of our vegan living.  Maybe he'd tell me to "just have a bit of of your mother's cod au gratin". (and that's pronounced "oh grat-tin" in Newfoundland, btw!)  But I actually think he'd be curious, if not on board, and chow down on some Nutty Veggie Burgers or Chickpea Ratatouille with gusto.  And, I'd make sure he'd have something other than crackers 'n jam for dessert.

For sure I've been thinking about him a lot lately, and I know my sisters and mom are too.  When I think, I create.  These 'Crackers 'n Jam Cookies' came after thinking of those pleasant memories of my dad sitting at the abandoned dinner table with his box of Purity crackers and jar of homemade jam.  He would slather cracker after cracker, filling up on what he might have called dessert, but we knew was partly dinner.  With reminiscing cap on, I created these cookies with a little bit of jam, a sprinkling of crackers, and a whole lotta' love.  Plus, I threw some almond butter in there too, because when you're eating crackers and jam for dinner, almond butter is very welcome.  
Crackers ‘n Jam Cookies
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp barley flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tbsp unrefined sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt (wee scant)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp ground white chia
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp almond butter
2 1/2 - 3 tbsp organic neutral-flavored oil
2-3 tbsp crackers, roughly crushed/crumbled (see note)
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp berry jam of choice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, almond meal, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder).  In another bowl, combine maple syrup with the ground chia, vanilla, and almond butter.  Stir/whisk through until the almond butter is thoroughly mixed through.  Add the 2 1/2 tbsp of oil to the wet mixture and stir.  Add wet ingredients to the dry, and stir until mixture comes together.  Dough be thick, and not very wet, but should hold together easily when pressed or formed into a ball.  If it is too dry and not coming together easily, add some or all of the remaining 1/2 tbsp of oil.  Chill dough for about 10 minutes.  
gently compacting dough
Take scoops of the mixture and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I use a cookie scoop, and I also gently press the batter into the scoop before scooping onto the sheet, to help compact the batter just slightly.  Repeat until batter is used (should have about 12 cookies).  Use the handle end of a wooden spoon or other kitchen utensil to create a small indent or hole in the top of each cookie.  Fill each hole with about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of the jam.  Once finished, sprinkle the crushed crackers over top of the cookie, particularly around the centre where the jam is.  Bake for 12 minutes, then remove and let sit on the baking sheet for a minute.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  And, enjoy.

Note: It's tricky to find 100% whole-grain crackers that are crispy and will work well for these cookies.  The crackers I used were not 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain, and so I used just a sprinkle.  The cookies are delicious without the crackers, and somewhat like a jam thumbprint cookie, so you can omit the crackers if you prefer.

And, to my couple of sisters that might be reading right now, know I'm thinking of you and sending my love.  

13 comments: said...

Your cookies look great & I love that they were inspired by your dad, it sounds like he would've loved them.

Vegyogini said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your dad with us. I really feel like I got a glimpse into your childhood. <3

Yvonne said...

I don't have white chia seeds: could I replace them with the same amount of ground flax seeds?
And, could I replace the crackers with a crunchy cereal like corn or bran flakes?
Thank you for the recipe - the cookies on your pictures look delicious!

Ulyana Michailov said...

A very real and beautiful post, thank you for reminding me to appreciate my loved ones xx

Dreena said...

veganinbrighton, thank you. I like to think he would too. :)

Thanks Vegyogini, it wasn't an easy one to write, and a little harder to "publish". Sometimes a good thing to share what's behind the recipe though. <3 back.

Yvonne, I haven't tested it, but think ground flax should be fine - use a little more, about 1 1/2 or even 2 tsp, as I find chia is far more absorbable than flax. And, I love that idea to use some crunchy cereal, will try that myself next time. I'd opt for the corn flakes, just knowing the flavors in these cookies - and make crumble with a tiny pinch of sea salt to mimic that cracker-saltiness. Great suggestion!

So true Ulyana, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sweet story, thank you for sharing it and your father :)

Annie said...

These cookies look great - I will try them soon. Loved the memory of your father. Thank you for sharing it.

Amey said...

what a beautiful post. I often snack on crackers or cereal after dinner if I'm still hungry. How sweet that your dad let all you kiddos fill up first. What a beautiful way to remember him.

Christine said...

What a lovely post. It's such a nice way for you to remember someone who had such an impact on your life. My husband's father passed away just before he turned 10. My oldest son is now 9 and I think often of how he's almost at the age where my husband lost his father. I'm making my grocery list as I read this and will add some almond butter to my list so I can make these cookies this week.

Anonymous said...

Dreena, The most beautiful post...I have been thinking about my mom an awful, awful lot lately. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. My husband and I had to relocate five years ago, and I have been missing her tremendously. I have two brothers and two sisters and we never sit around for a tv show, but we always sit around the table sharing great food, games galore, great company, many many laughs, great music and a whole lot of love. Isn't it amazing what precious memories can transpire around the dining table? Your post his a rather sentimental note in my heart. Thank you for sharing.

Dreena said...

Thank you everyone for those kind notes. I am grateful for your warm wards.

And, to Christine and anonymous, thank you also for sharing your own experiences after reading my post. I hope you have much support and some laughter too through tougher times and when memories bring tears. Thanks for your openness.

declaratii fiscale said...

This recipe sounds very good and i think it is delicious and it fits perfect with my taste. My opinion is that this isn`t a very hard recipe so i will try it very soon, thanks a lot for sharing.

costume carnaval said...

I like this recipe a lot, it is one of my favourites. I`ve tried it this morning and it was very good, thanks for sharing.