How to Make Graham Crackers

I have always wondered how to make Graham Crackers and finally came across a recipe and guess what……they taste just like store-bought graham crackers!   Once again I left the topping off, but if you want the total graham cracker experience, sprinkle on the topping!

Graham Crackers

  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 TB all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat as a substitute for 1 cup all-purpose)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 3/4 tspn coarse sea salt or kosher
  • 7 TB unsalted butter, cut into 1″ cubes and frozen
  • 1/3 cup clover honey
  • 5 TB milk
  • 2 TB vanilla extract

Topping – 3 TB granulated sugar and 1 tspn ground cinnamon

Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl of mixer.  Mix to incorporate.  Add butter and mix on low until consistency of coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla extract.  Add to the flour mixture until dough barely comes together.   It will be quite sticky.   Lay on large piece of plastic wrap, dust with flour, form into rectangle 1″ thick.  Wrap and chill for 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to make crackers – roll out half the dough; returning other half to chill.   Layer down the flour (very sticky to work with until you get the flour integrated in).  Roll dough 1/8″ thick.   Cut the dough into squares and place on baking sheets.  Chill again for 30-45 minutes.   You can use the knife and make line indents to resemble the graham cracker look (see pictures).

Bake 20-25 minutes on 350 degrees depending on thickness.   Watch carefully so they don’t burn!  I created some shapes with cookie cutters.

Head on over to Munchie Monday to see more recipes or add one of your own!   Enjoy!!

 

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Featuring FoodPress

How’s this for a switcharoo … instead of FoodPress doing the featuring – my Friday Feature is …

FoodPress

Serving up the hottest dishes on WordPress just about sums up the mission of the FoodPress blog.   A relatively new blog featuring some fantastic food bloggers from WordPress updated regularly and well worth a visit.   I have been checking in on a steady basis and have found some talented cooks and food photographers on the site.   Here are a few from the last few days …

Janae Monir = pizza dough – everyone needs to know this!

Party Pretties from Erin – perk up that party…neat website!

Tomatoes in Love <—love the name of the blog

Beautiful Chocolate and we know how I love this!

Seasonal Kitchen – an organic and natural food blog  ..  right up my alley ..

First Look, Then Cook – another cool name and great recipes!

Treshop’s recipe for Scarlet Barley …can we say – healthy!

 A groovy granola recipe from  Somethin Yummy … snack on this!

If you are looking for some good food recipes, stop by the blog and have a look around.   If you write a good food blog, here are a few tips if you would like to be featured on FoodPress Five ways to get featured on FoodPress.

Happy Feature Friday …. if you have a good idea for a Friday feature, let me know!   Do make sure to round up a good recipe to share this coming Monday on the newest blog I have created Munchie Monday!   Who knows maybe one day FoodPress will feature all the recipes shared there!

I Created a Poll and Need your Input!

Last week I thought to create a day on my blog to share recipes with my readers.   Instead of reading only recipes I post, I decided to take it a step further and create a weekly tradition on Mondays where everyone can share a recipe of their own or one they like.   Installing a feature from inlinkz.com makes this easy.   As Piglet in Portugal suggested the name “Munchie Monday”, I also had another suggestion for “Menu Monday”.   Undecided on what to name this weekly event, I created a poll and ask you…my readers to help decide.

Once the name is decided by popular vote, I will install the link each Monday and all you have to do is click and add the information where your recipe is – either on your website, blog or if you use a recipe site.   This will be a nice way to share with others and gain exposure for your blog or website.   Depending on how this concept takes off, we may even have themes each week such as appetizers or using a specific food.   For Monday next week…any type of recipe you wish to share, be it appetizer, main course, dessert is welcome.  Thanks in advance and I look forward to all the great sharing fun ahead!

Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment and please do take a moment and cast a vote for the name you prefer.   Happy Monday to you all!

I would also like to Thank Kim at DragonflyScrolls for the wonderful award she has bestowed on myself and fellow bloggers who are undertaking the Challenge at WordPress to create a blog post daily or weekly.   It definitely has been a challenge and I will say the benefits from participating in this challenge are remarkable.  

To step outside our comfort zone and take on challenges in life can only build a stronger character and open our eyes to the many wonderful people, places and customs in the world around us.  -Debbie

Chocolate Candy Making is No Easy Task!

For years I have made homemade chocolate candies for the holidays!   I would simply buy the candy wafers at the hobby store, melt them down and pour them into the candy molds.   I have been creative at different times and added swirls or peanut butter inside and even made turtles one year with pecans and caramel.   Everyone  loved the creations and I was always proud!  

I rarely indulged in the creations since I found the candy wafers too sweet for my liking.   So this year I got to thinking ….. maybe I should make some good “gourmet” chocolate and I started researching.

This candy book I had picked up some time ago and never really looked at it.   Now I find it listed as a collector item ….. and it has my attention!   I also ordered these books recently and realized that working with chocolate is an art and takes quite a bit of skill!!

The chocolate wafers I have been using are actually a coating and not the real stuff.   The good gourmet chocolate can be purchased over the internet and does cost quite a bit more than the wafer coatings.   I also learned a very important major difference ….. a process called tempering.   This is where you melt down the good chocolate to a specific temperature, let it cool to a specific temperature and then heat it back up slightly in order to work with it and give it that gloss and crunch that goes along with a good chocolate bar.   There are also various fillings and caramels and techniques that need to be mastered and I fully realize that Chocolate Candy Making is No Easy Task!

There are truffles and fudge and candy molds to fill ….. but to be very honest, I think if I have even one more tiny teeny piece of any kind of sweet stuff right now I will lapse into a shivering blob of sugar.   What I really, really want to do is create the ultimate healthy gourmet candy and infuse it with basils, lavenders and all things that remind me of the flavors from gardening!   I do miss my garden once again ………..

Hoping everyone enjoyed the first round of holiday festivities and Wishing you all a  ………  Happy New Year!!!

Holiday Fun!

The holidays are Here!   I have been baking up a storm this week so I have plenty of goodies to give as gifts and to bring to the Christmas feast at my brother’s.   I am really looking forward to all the family fun and “Eating” we will be doing!   I have already had quite an exciting week receiving Christmas gifts … the same day that I received my new Mac computer, I also received my wonderful “huge” box of presents from a recent giveaway I had entered.   The Pantry Blogger gave away tons of cooking tools (and I mean tons!) and I WON!   Believe me they are very appreciated and will get well used!

This was left at my door ………  yes, there is a Santa aka The Pantry Blogger!

I opened the package and took out each item … in utter disbelief of all the wonderful goodies I now have.    Remember that feeling on Christmas day when you open all your gifts and then organize it all and just sit there and “look” at everything?   You don’t want to use or put anything away just yet … it needs time to be cherished.   And so …. my gift still sits all laid out so I can take it all in and think about each item individually.

Of course, Ms. Billie thinks I am out of my mind and worries about my sanity at times!   It’s OK I tell her……  it’s ok to believe in Santa Claus!

Flaxseed in the Garden

Flaxseed seems so mysterious, right?   I seem to find myself drawn to unusual plants and the discovery of  how they grow;  luffa, ginseng, gourds, cotton, so flaxseed seemed to fit right in.   We have been purchasing flaxseed and adding it here and there to our recipes.   The cost is quite high but we figured our health is well worth it.   It lowers cholesterol and is a healthy addition to most any recipe; it does have a strong flavor though.   The flaxseed flower is small, purple in color and grows into swaying stems adding a beautiful scene for your garden landscape.   The flower then goes to seed at the end of the season and each seed head contains several seeds.   Harvesting the seed when they are dry is rather easy, but cleaning for the flaxseed is very, very time-consuming.

Would I recommend growing flaxseed in your garden?   Only if you are looking for an easy flower to add to your garden or if you have the proper cleaning equipment which is a huge investment then yes – Grow Flaxseed.   The seed can be ground up into powder which can be accomplished with a coffee grinder, but the time to get to this point is like I said … very time-consuming.  

I am always looking for the ultimate healthy (sweet) snack so I decided to create another cookie recipe using flaxseed and they are pretty Good!   I named them Oatmeal Apple Flaxseed Cookies and posted the recipe at Mixing Bowl in the new group Garden Dish I recently created.   As with all recipes, ingredients can be added or eliminated depending on your tastes.   I wanted to use the Sage I had just harvested also (another strong flavor) – surprisingly it’s flavor is somewhat faint….maybe more next time.

The batter was somewhat dry so I ended up adding 1 tablespoon of oil – that’s all it needed!

Oatmeal Apple Flaxseed Cookies

On my way to creating the Ultimate Healthy Sweet Snack!

I decided to start some herb seeds now under my grow lights.   I already miss my gardens and the snow hasn’t even started to fall yet!   I have a nice setup with lights to start seeds so I planted a few trays; mostly herbs with a few flower seeds.  

 

This past summer I ordered and planted Stevia seeds.   When I received the seeds there were very few in the package – about 5.   I thought this must be an expensive, unique plant so I saved seed from my own plants and this is one I just planted under the lights.

Stevia seed – I didn’t really do much with the stevia as far as cooking, but I made sure to taste the leaves and they taste just like sweet sugar!   I hope to create some healthy food this coming season – I already see there are a few cookbooks using Stevia out there!

Make sure to “Like” the RunningGarlic fanpage on Facebook and sign up for the Newsletter while you are there!   Thanks!

Lovely Lavender

My quest to grow lavender started about 3 years ago when we purchased our place down south.   I wanted to fill the acres of land with wonderful smelling lavender and create crafts and sell some great products.   Lavender comes in many varieties and has different purposes and some are better for dried arrangements or making oils or even for cooking.    It takes about 3 years to get a good harvest and I witnessed that this past year.    I planted many tiny seeds way back 3 years ago and after the transplant shock and the drastic heat experienced in the new land … the harvest this past spring  was actually very encouraging.

The majority of lavender I have growing is Lavender Vera while I also grew a few Grosso and Munstead.  

Lavender is very easy to dry and I have noticed the Grosso is more fragrant than the Vera when dried.   The Grosso grows taller and is typically easier to use in making lavender wands.  While the Vera can be started by seeds the Grosso cannot – it has to be started from clippings or bought as a plant already started.

Dried lavender and sweet william above – both can be used to create crafts; wreaths, flower arrangements and little bundles to decorate gifts.

I save many seeds and dry many herbs and usually I am very good about labeling everything I save.   I had some dried (what I thought was lavender) in the cabinet and had plans to add some to the Ricotta Cakes I wanted to try.  

When I opened the baggie, I realized the dried herb was anise hyssop not lavender.   I did use the anise hyssop and reminded myself to always label everything I save! 

Ricotta cakes with anise hyssop and chocolate chips

I created a Group on Mixing Bowl called GardenDish to share recipes that we create from our garden harvest.  If you have some good recipes, please do share!