Twirly crackers and Arepa Sticks

Appetizer, Bread, Gluten-free, Latin American, Mediterranean, Snack, Whole Wheat

Hi Fran!

Hope your time away with A’s family is going great, and that you enjoyed lots of cooking with them!

Over here, we are getting ready to move to the big city. You know how it is boxes, tape, newspapers, a scene that has become all too familiar. Yet, the packing process is always a draining one! And, so as to limit the amount of packing slightly, I have been trying to use up some of the stuff in our cabinets. The odd sunflower seeds here, the lavender buds there, and loads of miscellaneous flours all half used(like the harina de mais from your Feta-filled Arepas)…

For a long time now, I have been looking for cracker recipes. We both really love crackers especially with various dips, and there never seem to be enough around. However, I have never come across a good recipe for them. So last week, I decided to take matters into my own hands and develop some recipes on my own! The results… YUMMY!!

I originally set out to make square crackers, but when i was in the midst of kneading I preferred to go for a little something more fancy.

  • For the twirly crackers (cheese and poppy seed straws), I wanted to create a contrast in textures and in colors, to make every bite a small delight. These look complicated, but  their flavor goes great with any dip because the white cheddar I used had a really mild flavor. You can experiment with different cheeses playing with their saltiness and aromas.
  • For the arepa sticks, I have always loved the crispiness of the outside of arepas, but have felt a little overwhelmed with all the dough on the inside. With these you really maximize the crackling crispiness of the outside, while you sill keep a sufficient amount of softly warmed fluffy middle. To add to that, I added a lot of red cheddar and cayenne pepper to really give each stick a punch.

Poppy Seed and Cheese Twirly Straws

makes approximately 18 sticks(20cm long)


  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 100g (1 stick) butter, cut into tiny cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup cheddar (shredded)
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • Egg wash (1 beaten egg thinned with water)


  1. Preheat oven to 200˚C. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl combine flour, salt, sunflower and flax seeds and butter until dough looks pebbly.
  3. Slowly sprinkle water as you are kneading the dough, until it forms a ball.
  4. Lay down a piece of cling film and roll the ball of dough out into a thick disc. Wrap the film around it and refrigerate for 10 minutes (if dough is too sticky)
  5. Bring out of the refrigerator, brush with egg wash and grate cheddar on to the disc, to cover the entire surface thoroughly, place cling wrap tightly on cheese, and flip dough over. Roll the dough out until 1 cm thick. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  6. Put cheese side facing downwards on the counter(with cling film underneath, to prevent sticking to counter). Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle poppy seeds, ensure that it is completely black with seeds. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 cm thick and all the poppy seeds are somewhat embedded in the dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes(for easier cutting)
  7. Cut the dough into 3 cm thick strips. Lay each strip on the parchment paper, twirling it gently, so as to have about 4-5 color alterations per stick. Repeat until dough is finished.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, flip over and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool and serve at room temperature.

Cheesy Spicy Arepa Sticks

Makes approximately 24 arepa sticks (20 cm long)

If this is your first time making arepas, Gluten-free girl has a great post on the preparation of arepas. It was really helpful for me, as my arepas always come out too dry and crumbly!


  • 3 cups Harina de Mais (Cooked cornflour, for arepas)
  • 3 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 3/4 cup red cheddar (finely shredded)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt flakes for decoration
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Pour warm water and oil in a big bowl, then start pouring the cornflour. As you pour it in, stat mixing with your hand, mix it until the dough feels sticky but not too wet. (Prepare as you would normal arepa dough)
  2. Add the cheese and knead the dough in your hands, to really hydrate every granule of cornflour. It will need quite a bit of kneading until the dough is quite elastic and a bit drier.
  3. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven at 200˚C. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Divide the dough in half. Roll out first half arepa dough directly on the paper to 1 cm thick. (Covering the other half with a damp kitchen towel.
  6. With the tip of a sharp knife, make straight 2 cm wide strips. Spread them out so they are at least 1 cm apart.
  7. Repeat with second half of dough on other cookie sheet. Brush each stick with olive oil, to help it become extra crispy on the outside.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, until starting to firm, flip each stick over and bake for another 15 minutes. The sticks should be golden yellow on the outside and crispy(they are softer and lighter on the inside).
  9. Eat immediately!!!

Now, my search for crackers is far from over. I am in big need of more cracker recipes and would really love to get some more recipes either from you or our friends reading this. Please please do share with me any delicious cracker recipes you have prepared! (The more multi-grain and crispy the better:))

Look forward to hearing all about your travels!

Many Kisses!



2 thoughts on “Twirly crackers and Arepa Sticks

  1. These look REALLY awesome. My grandmother is in town and she always brings cheese sticks with her… I will get the recipe from her. They are absolutely delicious!

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