Recently I’ve been enamored with Amish Friendship Bread.  Basically, it’s a type of sourdough starter made from flour, milk and sugar.  Initially you chain-letter the starter to your closest friends and family, but it’s not long before you find yourself handing it off to just about anyone you come across.

The basic recipe uses the starter to make a sweet, cinnamon flavoured quickbread.  It’s ultra good but a girl can only eat so much!  Fortunately, it turns out that the starter can be incorporated into all sorts of different recipes thanks to the creative people of the world wide web.  Today I tinkered around with a recipe that I’ve been dying to try out for the longest time, but procrastination has a way of ruling my life.  When I found out that Friendship Bread Kitchen was holding a Ready, Bake, Set recipe contest for the month of July, I knew that it was finally time for me to get off my butt and set to work.

If you’re familiar with Leslie Stowe’s Raincoast Crisps, you’ll know how terribly addictive they are.  Unfortunately, it costs a pretty penny.  But the Gods had graced us with Julie Van Rosendaal, author of the book “Grazing: A healthier approach to snacks and finger foods”, as well as the blog “dinnerwithjulie.com” and she amazingly cracked the recipe code to these tasty crackers.  Now my challenge was to adapt this so that some of the Amish starter can be incorporated.  This is what I came up with:

...raincoast crisps... amish style...

Amish Cranberry & Hazelnut Raincoast Crisps (adapted from this recipe)

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup starter
1½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
½ cup hazelnuts, chopped

Yields approximately 6 dozen crackers.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Then stir in the starter, buttermilk and honey.
  • Add in the remainder of the ingredients and stir until just blended.  Pour batter into two 8″x4″ loaf pans, greased.  Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden and springy to touch.  Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.
  • The cooler the bread, the easier to slice really thin (leave it till the next day or pop it into the freezer for partial freeze).  Slice the loaves as thin as you can and place them in a single layer on an ungreased sheet.
  • Reduce oven to 300°F.
  • Bake slices for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for an addition 10 minutes, until they become crisp and deep golden.
  • Let cool slightly and enjoy!

...cranberries & hazelnuts, mmm!...

...milk and crisps anyone?...

The end product definitely looks homemade and not necessarily as neat and pretty as the LS version, but they taste amazingly alike!  And I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make (although the slicing was a bit tricky as I didn’t have a serrated knife).  Serve with a dab of sweet red pepper jelly, or some soft creamy cheese and you have the perfect appetizer!

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