Nooch-Its! They’re like Cheez-Its, but with no cheese! Get it? No . . ch! Wait, it gets cheesier. (I’m on a roll here). Instead of cheese, these are made with nutritional yeast, which is affectionately referred to as “nooch.” See what I did there?
Don’t they look like the real thing? I know, I was excited too. It gets better. These are naturally gluten-free thanks to the power of CHICKPEA FLOUR. Hold the phone. Chickpea flour, you say? What in blazes is that? Ok, so this is going to sound crazy, but chickpea flour is ground up chickpeas. MIND. BLOWN.
So, you can make chickpea flour at home, but it’s one of those things on my list of Things That I’m Not Going To Do. So where do you find this wonder flour? Well, it will likely be sold in the bulk section of your local fancypants grocery store, the kind with artisanal bathrooms. However, that is pretty much the most expensive place to buy it. Lucky for you, it’s hiding right in your local ethnic market! Have you ever passed by an Asian or Indian grocer and thought, “hey, I should stop in there sometime?” Well, you SHOULD. It’s a goldmine! Depending on the store, they will carry all kinds of awesome stuff at even awesomer prices (yeah, I said awesomer). I will do more in-depth posts on this topic, TBD. In the meantime, if you go in to one of these awesome stores asking for chickpea flour, be aware that it goes by a few different names, such as besan, gram, or garbanzo flour. They are all the same deal. Chickpeas ground up into flour. It’s good stuff.
Once you have your chickpea flour, you are ready to get your Nooch-It on. Wait, you’ll need a few more things. Here they are.
Hold up. COCONUT OIL? Yes, I know it sounds nuts. But here’s a little secret. Refined coconut oil doesn’t taste like coconut. Crazy, right? Don’t be scared by the refined part, it’s going to be ok. The refining process is mechanical, no nasty chemicals are used. So it’s still got the goodness of coconut oil, just not the scent. Which is exactly what we want for this application. You can also use oil or vegan butter, but it won’t have quite the same texture. So it’s up to you. I’m not the coconut oil police.
So, to get these bad boys going, you want to dump all of the dry ingredients into your food processor and whiz em’ together for a couple seconds. Then, pulse in the coconut oil until it’s fairly evenly distributed. Then, add in the non-dairy yogurt or cold water, a little at a time, until a dough ball forms, like this:
Another super cool thing about this dough is that it is really easy to work with. A light dusting of flour is all you need, it should roll out really easily. And here’s a nifty tip. Invert a cookie sheet and cut parchment paper to fit, and roll out your dough right on the parchment paper. Then once the crackers are cut out, you can just put the cookie sheet directly into the oven. No need to precariously transfer the parchment over to the cookie sheet, it’s already there! You’re welcome.
Roll the dough out as thin as you can, and then use a pizza cutter or knife to score the dough into squares, or whatever shape you fancy. If you have any bamboo skewers around, the flat end works perfectly to make the tell-tale dot in the middle of the square. As you can see, mine weren’t all that square, but it’s all good. They tasted square, dangit.
Now let them hang out in the oven for 18-20 minutes. They’re ready to go when the outer edges are golden brown. If you keep them pale, they won’t be very crispy. That’s your call. After you exercise the virtue of patience, and let them cool down for a few minutes, you’ll have achieved cracker nirvana. Nooch-its! I think it’s fun to say, don’t you?
Keep calm and cracker on.
Regarding the oats, be sure to use certified gluten-free oats to ensure that these are 100% gluten-free. Alternatively, leave out the oat flour altogether and increase the chickpea flour to 1 cup.
- 2/3 cup chickpea flour
- 1/3 cup oat flour (can be made by grinding up whole oats in food processor)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (the nooch!)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder or granulated onion
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 3 Tablespoons refined coconut oil (vegan butter, or other neutral flavored oil (such as grapeseed))
- 3-5 Tablespoons cold water or plain/unsweetened non-dairy yogurt (check to make sure it’s not vanilla!)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Add all dry ingredients to the bowl of your food processor fitted with the metal S-blade ( I tried the dough blade, and it didn’t work). Pulse a few times to mix all the ingredients together. Add the coconut oil and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the non-dairy yogurt or water, one tablespoon at a time, until a loose ball of dough forms in the bowl.
- Invert a cookie sheet and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit. Turn out the dough onto the parchment paper and pat into a rectangle shape. Roll dough out to a 1/8 inch thickness, and cut into square shapes using a pizza cutter, pastry cutter, or knife. Add the dot in the middle of each square using the flat end of a bamboo skewer, or the tine of a fork.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool so the crackers can crisp up, then enjoy! If you can wait, that is.
Adapted from Minimalist Baker