Upgrading the childhood favorites, one cookie at a time

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As you can see, I’m having quite a bit of fun riffing on things that I used to eat as a kid, except making them… edible. Because I don’t know about you, but if I try to eat conventional graham crackers now, they taste like cardboard. STALE cardboard… which is about as bad as it can get, in my book.

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So this is fun! Real food ingredients that you can pronounce and have fun eating. Because these taste almost like the “real” thing, but BETTER! Wheee!

Graham crackers. What an ubiquitous little kid snack (um. And adult?! Hellooooo).

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My grandma used to keep them in the cupboard above her fridge, probably because it was high enough up to be out of the reach of small Hayley (though why the baking drawers with chocolate chips and butterscotch chips were at child level I’ll never know—I got really good at swiping handfuls of ‘baking morsels’ every time I went into the kitchen… although sometimes it was with my grandma’s consent, ha). Anyway. She ALWAYS had graham crackers. And I loved them. Crunchy-soft, subtly sweet. Besides that, I have called my grandma Gram for as long as I can remember, and gram=graham! Get it?? Like Gram Crackers? The crackers that Gram always has? Do you see? Perfect.

My dad and I used to eat them for lunch sometimes with milk. We’d get out a really nice plate, put a glass of milk in the center, and then break up about two sleeves worth of crackers nicely and place them around the edge of the plate. And then sit outside, preferably, in the sun, companionably dipping graham crackers.

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Middle school meant that I was obsessed with the cinnamon graham sticks, except my mom would never buy them (actually… thanks mom! In retrospect that was an excellent choice you made), so I would always eat them over at my friend’s house… with applesauce. For some reason that was our thing and we would literally go through a box in one sitting. Whoops. I do have to say, they were startlingly good dipped in applesauce. Weird.

Later in life (ie college) I started buying organic ones and eating them with nut butter and dark chocolate for dessert. Sort of like a deconstructed s’more, except better as I don’t care for marshmallows… so this just leaves you with the good parts… carbs and chocolate! Yessss.

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SO anyway. Lots of good memories associated with these little guys, besides the fact that I like the way they taste. BUT. I don’t really like that they come in a package, even if they are organic. SO. I’ve started making my own! It’s WAY more fun, AND I know exactly what’s going in them. Solving for nostalgia and taste, all in one fell swoop.

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Milk in a shot glass. So classy.

Homemade Graham Crackers

Recipe from Salt&Smoke, here! I adapted it only very slightly. I made two batches, one with coconut oil and maple syrup, and one with butter and honey. The butter ones browned a slight bit more, due to the honey, but they’re both delicious. I think the coconut oil one is actually my favorite—you can’t taste the coconut, but something about the almond flour/coconut oil/maple/vanilla combo really tastes like graham crackers to me. I think my next project will be adding cinnamon to the batter, to make cinnamon crackers!!

I got a yield of 20 from the coconut oil batch, and 23 from the butter batch. They’re about 2″ by 2.5″ (ish).

  • 1 c almond flour
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt (I used fine grain with 1 tsp, if you’re using coarse, use 1/2!)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 5 tbsp refined coconut oil or butter (I used unsalted)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a small splash of almond extract*

*I only used the almond extract in the butter/honey version, and to me it is barely noticeable

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl, and stir until combined. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil or butter, and maple or honey, and microwave (I’m lazy—you can also use a saucepan) until melted and combined. Stir in extract(s). Pour wet into dry, and stir until mixed.

Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment paper, approximately the size of your cookie sheet. I rolled mine out to about 1/8″ thick—-go thinner if you want really crunchy cookies. Score into rectangles using a butter knife, then get fancy and poke little holes in the tops with a fork (because graham crackers aren’t complete without fork marks, duh). I trimmed the excess dough off the edges and re-rolled it into more squares and a few circles.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until lightly golden. I took both batches out around 13, let them cool on the sheet for a few minutes, then moved the parchment paper to the cooling rack.

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Two for the price of one: Squashlets AND cookies!

coooookies!

There is an influx of baby squashlets in the garden! And not just zucchini, ohhh no.

So somehow we ended up growing acorn squash in our back garden…. which is odd considering we never planted anything of the sort. I’m guessing some little entrepreneurial seed got excited when we put it out in the compost and decided to become …a plant? Which is awesome, considering I just ate squash for dinner last night and lunch five seconds ago. TWO kinds of squash: acorn aaand zucchini, yesss. And if you’ve been following me for awhile (or at least since last fall), you’ll know that I am madly, head over heels in love with squash. You name it, I’ll eat it. Fact. I am still the Queen of Orange!

Which means that I got creative last night and invented another stuffed squash recipe (and actually did the same for lunch today, such an inspired idea). Both variations are easily adaptable to whatever you have, and are delicious.

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Anyway. So besides the squashy excitement, I also made cookies! Um. Why do you look so surprised?!

more adorable mushroom pottery

Because I love graham crackers. And vegan things. And cookies. And as I was searching for recipes, up popped one for vegan graham cracker cookies!! Whaaaat. This is what went through my brain: “cookies!! cookies cookies cookies hmm we haven’t had any cookies around here for the last day or so, clearly time to make more… these have graham crackers and cinnamon oooh”, at which point I was already preheating the oven and squashing the graham crackers into a pulp. Or rather crumbs, I suppose. Anyway. These cookies are fantastic: chewy (although be sure to store them in plastic if you want them to stay that way, not glass), graham-y, and full of cinnamon.

textural appreciation

 

And this way my dad and I don’t have to fight each other for the last few graham crackers, as SOMEONE likes to eat an entire sleeve with milk and call it lunch. Harumph. Vaccuum Vati strikes again. I, on the other hand, like to spread mine with peanut butter (oh really?! Surprise surprise) or mash it into ice cream. This way we can share the crackers aaand the cookies, like normal people. A perfect compromise, if you ask me.

balancing acts are fun with cookies

Vegan Graham Cracker Cookies

Very slightly adapted from Quiche-A-Week, here! This recipe is fab. Just do yourself a favor and make it, nowwww. I got about 20 cookies.

  • 9 sheets of graham crackers (I use Erewhorn Organics), divided
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 c organic peanut butter (mine was creamy this time)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • chocolate chippies, optional

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In  small bowl, combine flaxseed and water and let sit. In a plastic baggie, mash 7 graham crackers into a fine powder (or use a food processor, but seriously–smashing them with a rolling pin is wwaaaay more fun). In a largeish bowl, sift together graham cracker crumbs, flour, salt, baking powder and soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, cream together peanut butter and sugars. I opted to skip the electric mixer and get a bicep workout, but that part’s up to you. Add in flax ‘egg’ and mix. Toss in applesauce and vanilla. Mix again. Toss wet into dry, and mix again, until just incorporated. Break up the last two graham cracker sheets into smallish pieces, and stir into the batter. Add chocolate chippies if you want—I added them to about half the batch, by sticking them into the tops of the cookies.

While the oven is heating, stick the cookie sheet into the freezer—the dough is sticky, so this makes it easier to deal with. Drop cookies onto the cookie sheet by spoonful, flattening slightly. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until slightly firm to the touch. Cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.

Eat with a milk-type bev and pretend you’re a child. Works like a charm, every time.

mmm

Southwestern-ish Stuffed Acorn Squash

Recipe by… me! Serves 4. This makes enough filling for 3 squashes (squashi?), so I used the leftover half for lunch today, and stuffed it with zucchini, corn, and egg, topped with a teeny bit of parmesan. Also delicious, do what suits you!

lunch, when it ended up being almost better than dinner!
  • 2 acorn squashlets
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 zucchinis, ideally warm from the sun in your garden
  • a handful or two of frozen corn, defrosted
  • a bit of fresh spinach (this is terribly specific, I know…)
  • cinnamon and curry powder, to taste
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1/3 c grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425.

Wrestle the squashes to the ground and somehow attempt to cut them in half. I always seem to struggle with this… Once the squashlets are halved, brush the cut side with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place cut side down onto a cookie sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the squash is fork-tender.

In a saute pan, heat a bit of olive oil and pepper. When hot, add zucchini and saute until tender. Add in black beans, corn, and spinach, and continue to saute. Toss in desired amount of cinnamon and curry powder, and stir to combine. When veggies are done, stir in monterey jack cheese before turning off the heat. Spoon the filling into the cut halves of the squash, and top with cheddar cheese. Eat whilst hot :)

Like I said above, this recipe is infinitely adaptable. Use whatever you have on hand—beans, eggs, any veggies, whatever cheese. Decidedly satisfying in any form!

this was dinner, hurriedly photographed when I decided it actually looked tasty