The word for the season…breathless!
Christmas is not even a month over and Chinese New Year is upon us already. Because Chinese New Year dates depend on the lunar calendar, once in a while CNY lands a little too early in January. It’s even more exciting if Hari Raya also ends up around the same period – then we have a long celebration of Christmas-Lunar-Raya! Anyway the most common phrase I’ve been hearing is “I haven’t taken down my Christmas decorations yet!”. Last year, incongruously, Chinese New Year snacks started to appear in supermarkets at Christmas.
I guess I’m breathless too because we did travel for a couple of weeks over the end of December, so early January was spent setting up my work for the year and catching up with unfinished projects from 2022. So preparing for CNY only just started im the last week prior to the actual celebration. I managed to carve a day out for baking and apart from the usual pineapple tarts I wanted a savory snack and decided to make a kind of cheesy cracker with localized flavors.
Furikake is a kind of Japanese seasoning made up of spices, sesame seeds and seaweed. It usually is used to top rice or noodles and it’s like a mini flavor bomb. I use it a lot to jazz up cauliflower rice or mentaiko pasta and I do keep a stash of this in the pantry as convenient little packets.
So the other confession I have is that I had an ingredient challenge with a friend. We have an ongoing thing where we bring back weird and wonderful spices from our travels and challenge each other to cook with them. I had bought Tasmanian sea salt with pepperberry- a rather intriguing combination of pepperyness and a bit of fruity tones. The pepperberry salt was a lovely purple and so in this bake, the pepperberry salt was sprinkled on top of the crackers and it did look rather pretty!
Anyway this was a really fun bake. I took a basic keto cheese cracker recipe and amped it up with the furikake and pepperberry sea salt. The flavors were really amazing. It happened that my parents had visitors to the house just as the crackers were coming out of the oven and literally half the crackers were inhaled within an impossibly short period of time. I was amused that my 84 year old dad was responsible for most of that disappearing act!
Anyway this recipe is a keeper. I will probably do another batch if I can find the time before CNY to give away to friends. I suspect they won’t last long in the containers!
Furikake Cheese Crackers
- 1 1/2 cups almond flour
- 175g shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp furikake
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp melted butter
- sea salt flakes for sprinkling (I used pepperberry salt for this but other flavored salts may also be great!)
- 1.In a heat proof bowl, microwave the cheddar cheese for 1 minute, stopping halfway to stir the cheese so that it doesnt get burned.
- In another bowl, mix the almond flour, furikake, salt, garlic powder together, then mix the cheese in. Add the egg and mix further.
- Preheat the oven to 150 deg C.
- Roll out the dough between 2 layers of baking paper to about 1/4 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut the rolled out dough into strips, then triangles.
- Lay the triangles of dough on a baking sheet lined by a silicon mat. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle some of the sea salt flakes on top.
- Bake for 20-25 min. Remove and let the crackers cool on the pan.