The word of the moment is hygge, a Danish word for cozy. According to the New York Times, it’s pronounced HOO-gah, and I will take their word for it. Candlelight, hand knit sweaters, homebaked cookies, freshly brewed coffee are all hygge. (My spell checker does not want me to use hygge, but I will persevere.)
A few days ago, I was baking up a batch of crackers with a recipe from “The Swedish Christmas Table,” by Linder and Westman (available on Amazon.com), when I suddenly realized the crackers were hygge! Omigosh. They are whole grain, studded with seeds, and cute, which all adds up to hygge, big time.
I was a bit nervous when baking these, because recipes for tender, crispy homemade whole grain crackers are scarce, and I have made more than a few crackers like cardboard that were immediately given to the birds and squirrels. Also, the book was translated from Swedish, and I know that in recipes things can get lost in translation. But these crackers are tender with a delicious toasty flavor–perfect to nibble with cheese as you nestle in an afghan by a fireplace, or even just on your living room sofa! So hygge! Here is the recipe.
1/2 cup oatmeal
2/3 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rye flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3/4 cup water
For garnish: more oil, and one tablespoon each of sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, and some sea salt. Mix the seeds together, separate from the salt.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add oil and water and stir into a dough with a large spoon. Set aside for a few moments while you tidy up–it will help the dough set up.
Divide the dough into halves, and roll each piece at a time on a floured surface to about an 1/8 inch thick. Cut out with a cookie cutter and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with seeds, and then with the coarse sea salt. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until browned.
Baking notes: I used an oil that combined canola and sunflower oil, and it worked well. Of course, you can vary the seeds you use. I was able to re-roll the dough three times, and the crackers were tender. I patted out the leftover dough and baked it for the squirrels. As you will see, it was popular! Press the cookie cutter down firmly, to cut right through the crunchy seeds, and use a simple cookie cutter, not one with fine detail. (You could cut the rolled out dough into squares or rectangles, but that probably would not be hygge!) I used Hodgson Mill rye flour.
Photos below show rolling and cutting out the dough, and the crackers ready for the oven.