oat crackers

Norwegian Harve Kjecks

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oat crackers
Looks like they came from a bee hive.

Of all the crackers that we tried from Crackers & Dips: More than 50 Handmade Snacks, by Ivy Manning, none fell as far from grace as this one. When we read the description, we thought they’d taste similar to the Glenghorm Oat Cakes, but be far less trouble to make. We were wrong. While they were easy to make, they just didn’t cut it on the taste or crunch-ability scale.

Oh, well, that’s how the cookie crumbles. We figured that we’d post these anyway, because you might happen to like them, or perhaps someone can tell us where we went wrong.

Makes 80 small crackers

Norwegian Harve Kjecks

Norwegian Harve Kjecks

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (110 g) rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl oz) plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Kosher salt, for topping

Abbreviated Instructions

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse rolled oats a few times until mostly ground.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt and melted butter.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt/butter mixture. Stir until a dough forms. Give the dough a few gentle kneads in the bowl to ensure all ingredients are combined.

Divide dough into two pieces, shape each piece into a disk about an inch thick, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Roll each piece of dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to a thickness of 1/8-inch.

Using either a sharp knife or a cookie cutter, cut out 1- to 1 1/2-inch sized crackers. Transfer to baking sheet.

Top crackers with additional kosher salt, and bake until crackers are golden brown around the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool completely on a rack and store in an airtight container.

http://scratchinit.halversen.com/2013/10/norwegian-harve-kjecks/

Ingredient discussion:

The original recipe called for salted butter, but we never have that on hand, so we upped the amount of salt to compensate. If you’re using salted butter, decrease the salt by 1/2 tsp. It also called for “Instant rolled oats,” another item that never makes it into our pantry, so we just ground up regular oats.

Procedure in detail:

ground oats
We just measured the rolled oats into the food processor, hit pulse a few times, and, presto, ground oats!

Grind oats. We never buy instant oats, or even quick- cooking oats, so, for this recipe, we just pulsed the oats in the food processor. We knew we were making other crackers immediately afterwards, so we wouldn’t have to clean the food processor just for the oats. If we were making just this cracker, we might do things differently, but, if you’re following along at home, measure the rolled oats into the bowl of the food processor and give it 5 to 10 good pulses; the oats should now be ground and a bit floury.

dry ingredients
Use a bowl large enough that you’ll be able to get your hand in to give the dough a few quick kneadings.

Mix dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, at least large enough to knead the dough a bit, mix together the ground oats, flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar. We just used our hands; they were invented long before spoons and are remarkable efficient.

yogurt and buter
The yogurt and melted butter whisks right up into an emulsion, looking similar to mayonnaise

 

Whisk butter and yogurt. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and the yogurt. We were surprised that the butter whisked right in, making an emulsion that looked like mayonnaise. We really thought they wouldn’t emulsify. Who knew?

adding yogurt butter
Pour the yogurt-butter mixture right in, and stir until dough begins to form.
oat dough
Once you start getting dough, switch from the spoon to your hands and finish mixing everything.

Make dough. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt-butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together, then get your hands in there and give it a couple of good kneadings.

Rest. Divide the dough into two roughly equal pieces, flatten into discs about an inch thick, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to a day.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking mats.

rolling dough
For a lot of doughs, especially if they’re sticky, it’s easiest to place them between two sheets of plastic wrap while rolling.

Roll out dough. Place a disc of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll it out to a thickness of 1/8-inch. To get the dough started, you can pound on it with the rolling pin. It does help. Plus, it tends to keep people out of the kitchen when they hear you pounding away.

Cut out little crackers, try not to have too many scraps as this dough should only re-roll once.
Cut out little crackers, but try not to have too many scraps, as this dough should only be re-rolled once.

Cut crackers. We happen to have a hexagonal cookie cutter that, when the cuts are aligned just right, results in almost no waste. But, failing that, either use a small cookie cutter of any shape, or a chef’s knife to cut little crackers about 1 to 1 1/2-inches in size. Transfer to prepared baking sheets.

crackers ready to bake
Once on the baking sheets, give them a sprinkle of salt.

Salt. Once on the sheets, give the crackers a sprinkle of kosher salt. Just enough that everyone will get a tiny salty blast when they take a bite. Not so much that the cracker tastes like a salt lick.

Bake. Slide the sheets into the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the halfway point, or until the crackers have begun to turn golden brown around the edges.

oat crackers
Cool the little crackers on a rack, but be aware that they do not crisp as they cool. If you want crispy crackers, make sure they’re crispy before removing from the oven.

Cool. Transfer the crackers to a rack to cool, then place in an airtight container to store.

We’ll be honest; we didn’t really much care for these crackers. They lacked flavor of any sort — they didn’t taste like oats, they didn’t taste like the yogurt, they didn’t really taste of anything. It didn’t help that they were a bit soggy. We were hoping for a crisp crunch, but, instead, we would bite down on a soggy cookie/cracker without flavor. And, unlike most crackers, which crisp as they cool, these became softer. We think that the sogginess is the result of the dairy, which has a way of keeping baked products soft. Very disappointing, so two stars. If we decide to try these again, we’ll roll them out thinner and bake them longer to improve crispness.

Worth the trouble?

2 thoughts on “Norwegian Harve Kjecks”

  1. So sorry you didn’t like the Havre Kjecks. Did you measure the thickness? Sounds like the dough was too thick. At the front of the book there are tips for measuring the thickness exactly. I recommend Roll Right Baking Strips or the bands you can add to your rolling pin. Also, substituting two or more ingredients in any baking recipe is going to change the out come of the dough.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, we do appreciate all the feedback we get.

      For the rolling, we really did try to get it to the 1/8-inch thickness as recommended, that’s partly why we had to put the dough between sheets of plastic wrap, and we did give it a measure, but as you know the edges of the dough are often a bit thinner than the center.

      As far as the substitutes: guilty as charged. Sometimes we have to make do with what’s in our pantry, and it’s possible that those substitutions threw off the end result.

      Oh, and thanks for putting together such a great little book. We hope to see another book from you sometime in the future.

      Shawn

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