Why We Crave Crunch
The theory of why crunchy foods are innately pleasing to our pallet is captivating.
Crunchy foods add a level of our senses to eating. If you are lucky and are able to smell and taste, you get those (I say lucky because I had a terrible ear infection that caused me to lose smell and taste for 2 weeks! Yikes). You also get texture in your hands and mouth when eating. One thing you may have not thought about is the sensual part of the eating experience of sound.
The crunchy sensation we experience is more significant for the sounds it makes inside our heads. The internal noises of chewing always happen as we eat, but eating a soft omelet is quite different than chewing on nuts or chips. This is one reason why “You can’t eat just one.”
Our neural sensory systems all experience something called “habituation” in which our sensory neurons become less receptive with constant exposure to a stimulus. We all experience habituation to the smell and taste of food as we eat. This is why we over-eat when we are eating at a potluck or buffet… so many choices to keep stimulating the senses. But if you have one food on your plate, your brain gets bored and signals to stop eating.
One reason that crunchy food may have more of an appeal to you lies in the extra layer of your senses when you eat; you may like a particular crispy food because you like the way it sounds in your head. Crispy foods have a special sensory place in the brain. They incorporate hearing into the sensory mix of eating, and it is very likely that the stronger and more varied sensory mix provided by crispiness staves off boredom and habituation while we eat these foods.
We also often crave crunchy foods because in Paleolithic days, insects and fresh produce was our main source of crunchy. A soggy vegetable was tossed aside in lieu of a crunchy/fresh one. The problem now is that we still crave that crunch but it often isn’t for a crunchy piece of celery… it is most likely chips or cereal (thank goodness for people like Clark W. Grizzwald who invented “non-nutritive cereal varnish” in Christmas Vacation! lol)
So if you are in love with crunch, you MUST try these!
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp Celtic sea salt
1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheese (I used aged Gouda!)
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grate 1/2 cup cheese.
In a food processor (or medium bowl) whip the egg white until the egg has loosened and become frothy. Add in the almond flour, salt, and cheese until a stiff dough forms. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to the size of the baking sheet. Put dough on top of one piece of parchment. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll out with a rolling pin until the dough covers the parchment sheet (see photo).
Roll the dough so it is the same thickness or it will bake unevenly.
Remove top parchment. Using a pizza cutter, score the dough into squares or other shapes. Place the parchment with the cut dough onto a baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Makes 8 servings.
NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per serving)
Keebler Cheez-It = 160 calories, 8 g fat, 18 carbs, 1 fiber (17 effective carbs), 4 g protein
“Healthified” Cheez-It = 120 calories, 9.5 g fat, 2.4 carbs, 1.1 g fiber (1.3 effective carbs), 6.1 g protein
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Is there a way to make these with coconut flour? Thanks so much 🙂
Well … You could try doubling the eggs and decreasing the almond flour by 1/2. That usually always works;)))
I was just looking at a box of cheese it’s in the store and they said “vegetable oil (soybean and palm oil with TBHQ for freshness)”. Are these companies changing their ingredients away from partially hydrogenated oils or are they able to label them to “hide” it now? The “Partially Hydrogenated” part of the ingredient list that you saw is completely gone now. By law, do they have to list it that way if they are using it in their products? If they don’t, then I guess now the ingredient list is completely useless for this matter since the Trans Fats almost always will be less than 1 gram per serving! What’s your take?
Yep, they are changing the words because consumers are becoming savvy to the word partially hydrogenated oils.
Your best bet is to steer clear of anything coming from a box! lol
It says that it makes 8 servings, but not how many crackers? I want to make this but I’m not sure how many cuts to make. Can you specify please? Thanks.
As for how many crackers, it depends on how thin you roll the dough as well as how big you cut them.
Hope that helps! Happy eating!!!
How long do these keep? Would they be good to take on an excursion?
I Take these with us on our travels all the time!
I keep them for up to one month… If they last that long;) lol. They are usually gobbled up before that!
Awesome, thank you for your reply!
Maria, I just made them. They tasted AMAZING raw, but I think 20 minutes was a too long baking time (even though they don’t look burnt) and now they’re a bit bitter. 🙁
You can add herbs and poppy seeds and make other variations. I will be trying this. Yummmmm!
I just discovered your blog through a nutritionist at my gym. So far I’ve made these crackers and the beef stroganoff. Amazing!!! I will be working my way through all of your recipes and will buy your book. My five year old gives the crackers the thumbs up.
Thank You! I love when the little ones like it too! 🙂
These crackers are amazing!! I’m so happy to have found a healthy alternantve for my two boys. My almost 5 year old gives these the thumbs up. I plan on working my way through all of your recipes and will be buying your book too. Thank you Maria!
Thank you Dani!
Love these yummy crackers! And so very easy to mix up and bake. Thanks for the wonderful recipes that are not only healthy but tasty and easy to put together.
Thank you Lily! Glad you liked them. 🙂
Is there a difference between almond meal vs. almond flour?
Almond flour is a finer grain like traditional flour. Almond meal is a bit courser. They will both work in a recipe like this. 🙂
Maria you are a genius. These look incredible. When do you choose to use almond meal/flour over coconut flour? Other than tastes sake?
For me it is more of what I have on hand. Lately I have been using a lot of coconut flour. I don’t notice much difference in flavor. 🙂
Made these and we all seem to like them. Kids really haven’t eaten many though. I added some oregano and thyme to the dough. I made a double batch and experimented with the thickness of the dough. I like them thinner better than thicker – also added some sea salt on the top after baking.
These are fantastic and so easy! I was wondering about making them as a kind of graham cracker-type snack though, with some added cinnamon & a cinnamon/swerve mixture sprinkled on top? Have you tried anything like this? Would you still add the cheese, only a milder type, or can you suggest an alternative? Thank you so much for this recipe!
Thank you! I think that would work great! Let me know if you try it. Happy Baking! 🙂
These. Are. Amazing! I used smoked Gouda!
YUM! Thank you!
These are really, really good!!!! I can’t stop eating them! Thank you Maria for another delicious recipe!!
Thank you Heather! 🙂
Maria, do you approve of the hcg diet?
I like my plan better. I don’t like the initial phase where you eat 500 calories a day (it can damage your metabolism more). I think it is much better to be satiated and be able to stay on the plan forever like my diet. 🙂
I started following your blog/books in an effort to lower the inflammation in my body. For several years, I’ve had osteoarthritis & eczema. I really liked the idea of taking control myself, rather than relying on meds for the rest of my life. After 4 months of FAITHFULLY following your books/blogs, there was no change in my arthritis, & my eczema actually got worse. My CRP test confirmed this, with my numbers going from 5.9 to 7.4. So I started again in my search for a healthy life, & decided to try Lyn-Genet Recitas’ “The Plan.” After going through the 20 day (and still going, off & on, with the testing) period, I found out that a lot of the foods I was eating, thinking they were “healthy” were actually reactive to my personal chemistry. The big “aha” moment came the day I tested almonds. I not only reacted, but was allergic! Now that I’m past the initial testing period, I would like to start merging the 2 lifestyles — using the low carb info I’ve gained from you, but being mindful of my reactive foods, and continuing to test new foods. My question (sorry for the lengthy lead-in) is what do you suggest as a swap for almond flour? I LOVED some of the recipes of yours I was using (choc chip cookies, these crackers, etc.), but don’t know what to swap for the almond flour. I can’t use cashews either, but could use sunflowers & peanuts, & would be interested in testing other nuts that make flour. Thanks for your help!
An allergy will do that. That is why with my clients I will do a stool test to see if they have an allergy and then modify eating plans based on that. You can try other nut flours:
You can also try coconut flour. But the conversion isn’t 1-1. Here is a chart that helps convert to coconut flour:
Wow — you can test for allergies from a stool sample?? I so wish it was in my budget to hire you as a consultant, but just thankful you’re so generous with your information sharing on your blog and through your books. One day….
I’ve played with the coconut flour, & I like it for some recipes, but don’t love it with the savory dishes. Maybe I’ll give the hemp flour a try. Thanks again for the advice!
Yes, a stool test is actually the most accurate way to test for allergies. Thanks! 🙂
Could you add nutritional yeast to these to make them more cheesy?
Yes, you can try that. Let me know how it works. 🙂
Made these tonight with extra sharp cheddar…pretty good. I think I rolled them to thin though. These are going to be great with turkey noodle bone broth soup.
I agree with you that low-fat diets don’t work having tried that approach for several years. When I consulted with a holistic nutritionist I learned that you can lose fat while eating healthy fats. I lost 30 lbs total and am now a nutritionist.
Maria, love your website. Been following for many months now, have made 20-ish of your receipes and love your keto-adapted book. I tried this recipe today, and they have a full taste for being thin crackers (1″ square). I made these thin only because I couldn’t see all the images in this article. The image of your crackers seem so much thicker and fluffier. How thin do you roll out your dough? Does it rise somewhat? Is it better for the dough to be drier? Thanks for your effort!!
Sorry, I updated the photos. 🙂
Love the healthified cheez-its ! Better yet my husband does as well! He can’t stop eating them. Maybe he won’t eat as many of those nasty crackers that he won’t give up. Thanks for all you do. I did add some garlic powder, onion powder and paprika to a batch and those were good too. I have your Cheetos in the oven right now.
Call me silly or lack of sleep this morning but the recipe calls for 1/2 c grates cheese and then the last sat 1/2 c grated cheese so is it 1 c cheese? To early for me I guess 🙂
It is just 1/2 cup.
Ty I will be making them today:)
I am just about ready to make these delicious crackers and have been wondering every time I make a recipe of yours with cheese whether you weigh 2 oz of cheese and grate that to make 1/2 cup cheese or do you just grate it into a measuring cup until it reaches 1/2 cup. I noticed when I weigh the cheese it actually gives me more than 1/2 cup loosely packed (as it falls from the grater into the cup) and have to press it down to put all 2 oz in the cup. The “bag” shredded cheese claims that 8 oz = 2 cups/that where I got my calculation from. What do you do when you make your recipes?
THANK YOU so much for all your delicious recipes and helpful health insight. What a difference you have made in my and my husband’s health journey.
I take 2 ounces and grate it. 🙂