Raincoast Crisps

15 Oct

Recently I’ve started to pay a little more attention to my grocery bills. As any foodie will admit, it’s easy to get carried away even just buying what most people accept as staples. Milk, bread and eggs are very broad staples! On a typical shopping trip ‘milk’ might include table cream, whipping cream, buttermilk, lactose free milk (I’m a selective lactard) and 2%. The same goes for bread, which is a category I consider to be determined by it’s ability to hold butter, cheese or meat. Crackers are include in this category and my addition to Leslie Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps is one item I wasn’t willing to strike from my diet. At a steady, sale-proof $6.99, these nutty squares were going to start costing me more than 91 octane.

Some thoughtful analysis (and clear necessity) drove me to work out this recipe. I assumed that the best way to bake these was the biscotti method (double-baking). I fished out one of the L.S. boxes from my recycling and determined the basic ingredients. A quick trip to my favorite bulk food store, For Good Measure, and I returned home with $10 worth of nuts and dried fruit.

Here’s my recipe:

Approximately 4 hours, start to finish, 45 minutes active preparation.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts or chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitos)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary


  • Large bowl
  • Spatula
  • Two 8″x4″ loaf pans (or 4 smaller ones)
  • Sharp knife
  • Parchment paper
  • Nonstick spray
  • Wire racks

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar and honey and stir. Add the fruit, nuts, seeds and herbs then stir briefly until blended.

Carefully pour the batter into the loaf pans that have been lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Transfer from pans and allow to cool for several hours on a wire rack. At this point you can freeze the loaves or wait a day or two to slice them.

Set the oven to 300° F. Using a very sharp knife (I found my boning knife worked best) slice the loaves as thin as you can. Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect…those little pieces are excellent quality taste testers! Lay the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. If you want more of a wavy chip-like dimension, you can bake them over a few chop sticks. Bake them for 15 minutes, then flip and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. They should be crisp and dark golden brown.

This will make about 120 crackers. Depending, of course, how many you eat along the way. How impressive will it be to pull those out of the oven at your next dinner party??

I used two regular loaf pans and filled them 1/3 of the way. If you had smaller pans your results would be much more square. I’m going to check out Russell Foods this week and see what kind of commercial pans I can find.

Do I feel bad making these homemade versions?  Nope.  And especially because the Leslie Stowe website has absolved me of any guilt:

We think it’s true what they say- “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

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