Check out my fiction - http://www.jaletac.com
Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday Recipe - Graham Crackers

It's been an interesting food week at my house. My husband spent February through April unemployed. We were living off our food storage and our tax return for those few months. He landed a job in late April, a good one, but they only pay once a month. We've been waiting with breathless anticipation for that first paycheck this whole month. Our fridge and freezer are barren and empty. I'm out of chocolate chips, people!!! And eggs. And a lot of other basic cooking supplies. I can't make cookies without eggs or chocolate! And I NEED cookies, pretty much every day. They are my drug of choice.

But wait, what's that? Is it a bird? A plane? No, it's Superman! Um, wrong story.

The bottom line is that I got creative and figured out how to make goodies using what I had on hand. No eggs? Easy. You can make jello cookies (scroll down for the recipe), but they weren't what I wanted. I decided to try my hand at graham crackers. They turned out tasty. If you let them sit for a day or two, they even get all crispy just like the store-bought ones, only better. The honey-cinnamon ones were the taste winners, so I'll give you that recipe.

And don't be intimidated. They were super-easy and quick to make. They have quite a bit of fiber in them, too, so you can justify eating them because they're healthy.

Honey Cinnamon Graham Crackers

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. brown sugar (dark brown preferred)
1/3 c. honey
1 t. vanilla
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. milk

Cream butter, sugar, and honey until very light and fluffy. Add vanilla, cinnamon, soda, and baking powder. Cream for one minute longer, scrape the sides and cream again. Everything should be very well mixed and it should be very fluffy and creamy. Set mixer to lowest speed. Add 1 c. flour and 1/3 of the milk. Let it mostly mix in. Add 1 c. flour and more milk. Mix it again. Add the rest of the flour and the milk. Let it mix until it's mostly combined. Finish mixing with a spatula until everything is stirred in and the dough forms a soft ball. Don't overmix at this stage or you'll end up with tough crackers. You can add the flour and milk by hand if you want, just do it a bit at a time until you get it all mixed in.

Set oven to 350°F. Cut parchment paper to fit your baking sheet. Divide dough in half. Set aside half and cover with a damp dishcloth to keep it from drying out. Place the other half on one sheet of parchment paper. Roll out to cover the parchment. You want it to be about 1/4" thick or less. Thin is good. This is a cracker recipe. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into squares. Leave them all connected on the paper and be careful not to cut through the paper. I have a dorky plastic cutter that is perfect for this kind of thing even though it really sucks at cutting pizza. Carefully pick up the parchment paper sheet and slide it onto your baking sheet. Poke each square three or four times with a fork. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, just until they brown on the edge. Let them cool for 10 minutes, then shift the whole sheet of paper onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

When the crackers are cool, carefully break them apart where you cut the dough. They will be soft at this point. I put them on a plate and left them uncovered on the counter. By the next afternoon, they were crispy.

Serve with peanut butter, chocolate frosting, pudding, bananas, nutella, or whatever you like on your graham crackers.

Variations:

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture before baking.

Sprinkle with nuts before baking or add 1/2 c. finely chopped nuts to the dough. Almonds or hazelnuts are tasty.

Add 1/2 c. finely shredded coconut to the dough, omit the cinnamon, and add 1/2 t. coconut extract.

Go wild with the spices: Add ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves, anise seeds, allspice, cardamom, or cayenne pepper. Just go easy and taste until you get the flavor you want. It will itensify a bit when baking, so keep that in mind. I'd suggest 1/4 t. or less of each to start.

Chocolate Honey Cinnamon Grahams: Cut flour to 2 2/3 c. Add 1/2 c. cocoa powder.