ADAM: I like horror movies, but there is one in particular I will never watch again. No matter what you say, or how you try to convince me, I promise you that the words “They’re Heeeere” will never pass through my ear canals again, nor will the sight of a static-filled television screen be in in the presence of my violated pupils. I couldn’t sleep for a month after watching Poltergeist, and now anytime there is a thunder storm, I can’t experience it without counting the seconds between lightning strikes and remembering that terrorizing scene. Granted, I was eight when I saw it in the theater for the first time, but that film has scarred me for the rest of my life. Ryan saw it as an adult and claims that it is a horror/comedy, so he can go ahead, watch it, and laugh as much as he wants—so long as I am out of the house, because there is absolutely nothing funny about a creepy clown hiding under your bed and attacking you when you’re all alone in your room in the middle of the night. “Comedy” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I think of that. Every Halloween, we like to make fun treats and watch scary movies… just not that one. Since the holiday falls on a Monday this year and people will be celebrating all weekend long, we came up with a simple and delicious snack for the festivities: pumpkin cranberry crisps that are easy to make and so addicting, they are frightening!
These crispy, bite-sized squares are the ideal fall snack. Made with pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, rolled oats, nutmeg, turmeric, allspice, orange zest, fresh rosemary, and ground ginger, these crunchy appetizers are loaded with dried cranberries and pumpkin flavor. Topped with a schmear of creamy goat cheese, this is a perfect platter to produce for people’s partying pleasures.
These crisps are simple to make, and you may have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already. You don’t need an electric mixer, and there’s no kneading required: just whisk the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another, then stir the two together and bake! This spiced mini-loaf is then chilled and sliced thinly into squares, which bake again and transform into crisp crackers, far beyond anything you could ever buy in a store. Served with slices of cheese, hummus, or fresh fruit, these flavorful crisps are crunchy, delicious, and scary good.
Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps
makes about 100 crackers
1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons (36g) brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
¾ teaspoon orange zest
½ cup (55g) rolled oats
½ cup (60g) dried cranberries
1 cup (236ml) buttermilk
3 tablespoons (42g) pumpkin purée
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan, and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, thyme, ginger, salt, and pepper. Add the brown sugar, and whisk to break up any lumps. Add the rosemary, orange zest, and oats, and whisk until evenly blended. Add the cranberries, using your fingers to break up any clumps, then stir to combine.
In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and pumpkin purée, and whisk until smooth. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined and all ingredients are evenly blended. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely. When cool, wrap tightly in plastic and place in the freezer for 1 hour (see note).
Preheat oven to 300°F. Remove the loaf from the freezer, unwrap, and cut into 1/8-inch slices using a serrated knife. Then cut each slice into three equal squares. Arrange the squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone, using two baking sheets if necessary. Since they do not spread at all, feel free to place them tightly on the sheet, almost touching each other. Bake until crispy, 35 to 45 minutes. If using two baking sheets, rotate their positions in the oven halfway through the baking time to ensure even cooking. Let cool completely, then serve immediately or keep in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!
The loaf can stay in the freezer for longer than one hour, and up to overnight. If keeping it in the freezer longer than one hour, let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing, or it will be too tough.
Want your crackers to be extra crisp? The thinner you slice them, and the longer they bake, the crispier they will be. Keep in mind, the crackers will become more crispy as they cool.
If not serving the crackers right away, be sure to let them cool completely before storing in an airtight container, so they retain their crispness.