One of my favorite food blogs is Chocolate and Zucchini. I love Clotilde’s inventiveness, her spunkiness and her terrific energy (she blogs in French AND English, she has a husband, two small kids, she develops recipes, she writes cookbooks and other food-related books, she criss-crosses Paris -where she lives- for the best market, the best source, the best table, etc.) and last but not least, I love the way she cooks and eats.
Our book club held its last meeting of the year the other day and I was looking for crackers to go with a chunk of smoked Gouda when I happened upon her recipe for chestnut and herb canistrelli. Similar to her Spicy Olive Oil cookies but with an Italian twist. And more Christmassy because of the chestnut flour.
I had leftover chestnut flour (brought back from our trip to France in May). It does add a pleasant sweetness to the canistrelli. If you don’t have any, go for whole wheat (that’s what Clotilde recommends). I did use the chestnut flour but for a slightly different taste (and to feel virtuous when later eating the crackers), I also replaced half of the all-purpose flour with sprouted wheat flour.
I didn’t have on-hand the kind of dried herbs the recipe calls for but I did have za’atar (my go-to herb to season roasting vegetables) and that’s what I used.
The dough came together very quickly. I rolled it to the desired thickness between two pieces of parchment paper, removed the top paper, and used my bench knife to cut intersecting diagonals. Then it was just a matter of transferring the canistrelli onto a waiting sheet pan and baking them. I made a second batch while the first one was in the oven. Easy, peasy. Very tasty (the white wine probably doesn’t hurt.)
In my version the 250 g of flour were divided as follows:
- 90 g chestnut flour
- 80 g all-purpose flour
- 80 g sprouted wheat flour
There is no gluten in chestnut flour, so the recipe should work with other gluten-free flours. I haven’t tried it but chickpea or buckwheat come to mind.
The bottom line is that this is an excellent and convenient recipe à avoir sous le coude (to keep under your elbow) for when you need a little crunchy-crumbly something to go with an appetizer. The canistrelli keep very well in an airtight container or zipped plastic bag and, if you don’t count the baking time, they are faster to make than a trip to the supermarket. Thank you, Clotilde!