Plantain Crackers (Nut-free, Egg-free)

September 10, 2012 in Categories: , , , , , , by

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One of the things that many people miss when they adopt a paleo diet is crunch, especially the slightly salty crunch of crackers.  There are a number of grain-free cracker recipes around (see www.elenaspantry.com for a great variety of cracker recipes), but of the ones I’ve tried, none really replicate that cracker crunch completely.  Well, until now!  The inspiration for these crackers came from this plantain tortilla chip recipe from www.kateshealthycupboard.com.  The idea to use green plantains as a chip base was inspired!  To create something more like a cracker than a chip required extensive experimentation with fat content and cooking temperature (I also played with adding various paleo flours but abandoned that idea when they just didn’t taste as good as straight plantains).

These crackers are perfectly crunchy, sturdy, taste amazing, and even keep for a few days without going soft (as many other cracker recipes tend to do).  They are super easy to make and require only three ingredients!  My whole family is addicted to these crackers.  The secret is to use very green plantains.  When you find green plantains in the store (most grocery stores carry them close to the bananas; even my local Walmart has them!), you can take them home and pop them into the fridge, where they will ripen much more slowly (they might even yellow slightly but won’t really be as ripe as that same color would indicate if they were ripening at room temperature).  Once they start to yellow substantially, plantains change in taste and get sweeter.  For sweet plantain recipes, you really have to wait until they are completely black (which means they are ripe).  If your plantains are in the fridge, just let them warm to room temperature for an hour or two before you start making these crackers.

Ingredients:

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (I use a 13”x18” “half sheet”-sized jelly roll pan but a small difference in size won’t make a big difference in your crackers).  Make sure your parchment goes right up to each edge of the pan.  Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until a completely smooth puree is formed, about 2-4 minutes (it doesn’t matter if you don’t have exactly 2 cups of plantain puree as long as you are fairly close, say within ¼ cup).  This blends easier if your plantains are at room temperature and your coconut oil is melted.
  3. Pour batter (it should look very much like hummus) onto the prepared baking sheet.  Use a rubber spatula to smooth it out and cover the entire sheet uniformly (this might take a couple of minutes, but it doesn’t need to be perfect).  The batter should be about 1/8” thick.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and score the cracker batter with a pastry wheel, pizza cutter, or pastry scraper (which is what I used).  You can make whatever size cracker you like. The crackers will pull away from each other slightly while cooking and shrink up a bit, but not much.  I like fairly small crackers, about 1½” squares, but these will work even for quite big crackers.
  5. Place back in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes, until golden brown (if you have slightly thicker crackers, this may take longer… I’ve occasionally had batches that took 70 minutes before being done).  Remove from oven and let cool slightly on the pan.  Move to a cooling rack (you will probably be moving fairly big pieces of several crackers stuck together).  Once completely cool, you can break apart any crackers that are stuck together.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  Enjoy!

RECIPE UPDATE:   I want to throw a quick note into this recipe.  When I first made this recipe, I had a cheap and not very powerful food processor.  I got a REAL food processor for Christmas this year and wow!  what a difference! It’s so much faster and easier to get a good puree.  Even with very green plantains, it only takes about 2 minutes.  So, food processor power seems very helpful with these.  The other thing I’ve noticed is that the cooking time varies quite a a bit with both exactly how much volume of plantain you have in the recipe and how green the plantains are.  Greener ones take longer to cook (and typically taste better too) as do batches made with slightly larger plantains, so the range of cooking times after cutting the crackers is really anywhere form 50 minutes to 80 minutes.  Keep an eye on them and don’t pull them out the oven until they are a nice medium shade of brown (you can always taste one to see if it’s crisp enough, until you get the hang of this recipe).

Watch this video from my YouTube Channel to learn more about green plantains:

 

Comments

Thanks so much! I really enjoyed these! The batter had a banana aroma, but I didn’t notice it in the finished crackers. I didn’t get them quite thin enough in the middle so only the edge ones were really crispy, but I’ll do better next time.and next time I will make a double batch! Any suggestions for herbs to use for variety? Maybe basil or garlic?

Since I was previously following GAPS, Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends that all fruit be ripe before eating. Unripe fruit is harder to digest. This concerned me when using green plantains. What is you understanding? BTW, these came out great!!

Green plantains are very high in resistant starch, classified as a highly fermentable insoluble fiber. There’s quite a move toward including more resistant starch in the diet due to a variety of health effects (all probably attributable to its fermentable property). GAPS removes almost all foods that have the ability to feed bacteria, which is why there’s a disconnect. I think GAPS is great for overgrowth corrections over the short term, but does not provide enough food for gut bacteria to support normal levels and variety over the long term.

A little off-topic, but: If plantains cause constipation (badly) but bananas do not, could that be due to overgrowth/fermentation issues? Might GAPS be a good thing to try?

It probably has something to do with higher resistant starch in plantains (especialy green) and higher starch density. I’d just suggest keeping your portions small enough that you don’t have issues (there’s balance, and I think that cutting out all starches can lead to undergrowths).

Just made these last night. i love them! i love the crunch and the brown-ness that adds to the flavor. only bad thing is that i could eat these all day long :(

Thank you for this recipe! My wonderful mother in law gave me a vitamix for birthday/Christmas this year, and the kids and I have been playing with variations. We’ve done olive oil and onion/basil/garlic with salt sprinkled on top, we’ve used that version as a pizza crust, and we’ve made sweet ones with ripe plantains, coconut oil, salt, and cinnamon. Their latest successful attempt was coconut oil, nutmeg and cinnamon and a bit of maple syrup and we spooned them into molded cookie pans, small shallow shapes, and they baked into thin muffins. The kids have a lot of food allergies and I am not a skilled baker, so these have been great!

Thanks for the recipe! Bringing these to a friend who has almond allergy. Mine came out crunchy, but also super oily. Cooling them off on paper towels helped.

Another winner! Rookie mistake in that it was a little thick in the middle but an awesome cracker. The batter came together in a minute in the Vitamix and I used a Silpat to bake them on.

These are the best! So nice to have something crunchy. Looking forward to your book.
Hope you are doing well.

I must be doing something wrong. My batches always end with a pool of oil and very rubbery cracker wannabees… ive tried reducing the oil but then it makes the plantains almost impossible to process. help?

You’re not alone. My plantains weren’t very green because I couldn’t find any that were and my crackers didn’t get crisp until they were too dark to taste good. Ruined project. :(

I found plantains at my local supermarket and I just made this recipe today! Love it! Based on the concerns people expressed in their comments, I only used a bit over 1/3 cup of oil, and it was a mix of coconut and olive oil, for more flavor. I also added garlic salt, onion powder and ground dried rosemary for more savory flavor. The first taste is very good, and it’s crispy and I’m looking forward to eating some! I can also see how this recipe could also be easily adapted to make a crust as a base for something sweet too. Thank you so much for coming up with this crunchy little bit of heaven for us AIPers. We need all the support we can get!

I’ve made these twice now, and I have two questions: First, both time I’ve ended up with crackers that are just swimming in oil as they cook and the oll leeches out. I’ve actually had to blot them while cooking. Is this typical? And this leads into the second question. In the ingredients list, you say to end up with about two cups of plantain puree. Does that INCLUDE the half cup of oil, in which case it would mean a half cup of oil and 1 1/2 cups of puree for a total of two cups, or 2 cups of plantain PLUS the half cup of oil? The instructions say to blend it all together, so there’s no way to measure the puree without the oil. Imay be short on puree and long on oil. Once cooked, they seem fine, but I’m still not sure I have the proportions right.

Has anyone made these into teething biscuits? I have a 6 month old that has a milk protein allergy and I don’t want to try grains on him. Last night I was eating one and he demanded a taste and he really liked it. I am thinking of making them thicker and seeing if I could make it into more of a easy to eat biscuit. Has anyone tried this? How long did it have to cook for?

I made this recipe for the first time today, and oh my! Delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe, Sarah. I found that the outer crackers cooked faster than the center ones. So I simply checked the crackers every 5 minutes from 50-70 minutes cooking time and removed the ones that were done each time, until they were all done. I had been making simple green plantain chips, but these are so much more flavorful.

Can you use some other fruit/vegetables instead of plantains? I’m not sure if my local store has them, I’ve never seen them before.

I do not believe this recipe can be made with something other than plantains. Sometimes an international market will have them. We have them at all major grocery stores. They are usually next to the sweet potatoes and potatoes, or next to the bananas. You can also ask someone in the produce department at your local store, they may be abe to order them for you. — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

Thank You so very much for taking the time to create these amazing crackers, and sharing the recipe with us. Even though I’ve been gluten-free for over a year, and strictly Paleo for almost a month now, I still miss crackers and chips and crave them more than anything else. You’ve helped me to maintain my sanity for a while longer! Thanks again.

I made these and they were initially hard and crunchy. I put them in an airtight container when cold and when I went back to get them today they had gone soft and chewy! How do I stop that then, did I do something wrong? Also made sweet potato chips with my new dehydrator and the same thing happened. Am I leaving them out too long to cool or something do you think? V frustrating! The containers are glass with very tight lids so are sealed.

Yep these haven’t even made it off the baking sheet! I decided to go on the lighter side of the coconut oil with a 1/3 cup based on the reviews and on a whim sprinkled some sesame seeds and cracked black pepper on top. Our 4 year old keeps running into the kitchen to get another then she went mission impossible and crawled in on her belly at which point I have her a bowl and told her to share with her sisters. They are amazing with my chicken liver pate I just need to stop our I’ll eat them all! Thanks!

Thanks for this recipe, Sarah! Mine came out too hard and crunchy…almost like break-your-teeth-crunchy! I’m assuming they aren’t supposed to be that hard & crunchy? I think I probably over baked them. I’m thinking of just running my crackers through the food processor to make “breadcrumbs” and use it as a filler for meatballs, meatloaf, etc, or maybe “breading” for chicken fingers/nuggets. Can’t wait to try this cracker recipe again though. Thanks again!

Yes, but due to the high starch content some may need to limit these to a small serving. — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

Do you think this recipe would work to make a pie crust for a savory pie? Would ripe plantains work maybe for a sweet crust? My office likes to have food contests for office parties and we have a pie contest coming up next. I have been discourage by the large amount of recipes needing nuts or nut flours. I am likely a month or more away from adding those back in for AIP and this seemed like a doable option that would actually taste good and have the right texture.

I am interested to try these! I’m also going to see how they work with plantain flour (because sometimes I just don’t want to pull out the blender). And FWIW, once plantains are no longer green you don’t necessarily *have* to wait until they turn black to use them — just throw them in soup! My in-laws are from Puerto Rico and they taught me the beauty of using plantains in a bone broth soup :) In fact, I made a pot of (AIP-friendly) sancocho tonight using plantains that were no longer green enough for tostones and not yet black enough for maduros :)

My friend made these for me on Tuesday. She has been making them frequently for her family, only this time her plantains had gotten a bit ripe. She made them anyway and with ripe plantains, they turned out flakey and sweet like pie crust. I liked the texture so much I rushed to the store this week and bought green plantains. I just made them and WOW! With green plantains they taste and have a texture like wheat thins, without the wheat or any weird grain replacement ingredients. I LOVE IT!!! My crackers also had a lot of oil swimming around them, but we like coconut oil and find that it is a healthful food, so I didn’t mind. (My friend’s crackers did not have as much oil, so I may ask her to compare notes with me, but I suspect it might just be something that happens depending on the individual plantains.) You could blot the oil off to store them if you wanted. I’m not sure my crackers will last all that long with my hungry and eager family. Already scheduled to be a staple recipe for our family.

Although these turned out quite well, I also had a good tablespoon of oil leach out during the baking process. Also the crackers remain oily and leave a residue on the fingers even after blotting.

Could it be that I simply used too much coconut oil?

What about adding a 1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder to the mix to emsulify the mixture and hopefully prevent the oil from separating out?

Yes, it’s possible you had too much oil. Did you use EVCO? Sarah recommends following the recipes exactly for best results, and using a different type of coconut oil could also have been a problem. You can try the mustard powder, but I haven’t tried it, so can’t say how it would work. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I was very apprehensive to try these crackers, as I’ve never tried a plantain before because I have a serious aversion to bananas. I tried it today, and I’m so glad I did! Thanks for posting, I’m glad to have a cracker in the house again, I was missing the crunch.

Oh YUM! Just made these and used Nutiva Extra Virgin coconut oil from Costco, but I had the same problem with lots of oil oozing out. Other than that these were amazingly tasty. I sprinklied nutrtional yest on them and it was to die for!! Kids love them ;)

I just made a batch of these and they were amazing!! I removed the crackers on the edge as they started to crisp up and that worked out well. I think I’m going to eat the whole batch because they are so good! I’ve been gluten free for about 6 months and have just started transitioning to pale for my autoimmune disease. Thanks for a fantastic recipe and I love your site!

is palm shortening paleo? do ppl with leaky gut or adrenal fatigue tend to have probs with it? would one have aprob with it if they have a prob with palm olein?

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