Category: In the Kitchen

Laura and Emily’s Musings from the Kitchen

Homemade Graham Crackers

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If you have little kids, then you might have an entire section of your pantry devoted to crackers.  There are graham crackers, animal crackers, saltine crackers, and don’t forget the goldfish crackers!  We ran out of crackers before naptime the other day, and I thought, “I bet I could make some crackers!”  This was followed by a list of reasons why making my own crackers would be so much better than buying them:

  • Healthier
  • Better tasting
  • Cheaper
  • More fun (the most important in my book; kitchen experiments are a major source of enjoyment)

Google took me straight to the do-it-yourself diva, Martha Stewart, for the recipe Homemade Graham Crackers.  It didn’t take long to realize that graham crackers, while being whole grain, cannot be considered healthy.  Store bought or homemade, any recipe with 2 sticks of butter is sure to be called tasty, but it would be hard pressed to be healthy.  Oh well, it might not be a healthy recipe, but I love baking and love butter!  Onward!

The recipe was super simple and quick.  I ran out of honey after 1 Tbsp (are you sensing a theme here?  I run out of things often because I 1) forget to write them on the grocery list when the supply gets low and 2) neglect to buy things on the list while at the store due to distraction by my handful of a toddler).  Well, I wasn’t about to abandon the recipe halfway in, so I substituted molasses.   Fabulous addition btw. :)

The dough was delicious.  You do need to wait 20 min while it sets in the freezer.  This is a great time to wash dishes and fold laundry.  Also, it’s just enough time to text a few friends.

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(notice that these are nowhere near perfect rectangles.  I rolled these out, not Martha.   Not perfect.  Fortunately, taste has nothing to do with right angles.  Also, if you read the recipe, who has a fluted pastry wheel??  I used a pizza cutter)

Ok, these were worth the trouble and the grand total of 30 minutes active time mixing, rolling and cutting.  Unfortunately for my justifications, I’m not sure the reasons panned out.

Healthier?  Certainly less ingredients and preservatives than store bought.  Probably nix the idea of healthy cracker altogether.

Better tasting?  Definitely.  Hands down.  Y-U-M-M-Y.

Cheaper?  Nope.  The nerd in me had to fact check.  So with some excel work (Laura isn’t the only one who uses excel!) Here’s the breakdown:

graham

This comes out to $5.20 versus $3.49 for a batch of regular graham crackers.  For me, homemade is totally worth the small added expense because it was fun, satisfying (to fill the cookie jar), and tasty.  I’ll still buy crackers at the store.  After all, they are so easy, and obviously more budget-friendly for those of us who pinch pennies.

Homemade doesn’t always win against store-bought when it comes to logic, but my taste buds are here to tell you, homemade is worth a try!  Definitely good.  If you want to see perfect crackers, check out homemade-wheat-thins by Smitten Kitchen.  Or this other recipe by her, whole-wheat-goldfish-crackers.  She seems awesome.  I bet she has a fluted pastry wheel, and I want her to invite me over for dinner.

Next time I’m going to make savory crackers.  This recipe seems simple and is not meant to be picture perfect.  Just my kind of recipe.

Ta-ta for now!

Emily sig

I Love Farmers’ Markets!

I love farmers’ markets.  Love, love, love them.  I get so excited to support relatively local farms, to be part of the local food movement, that I get carried away.  Every time, I get way carried away.

I took little one on a leisurely jog (ha!) down the “hill” to the local farmers’ market last weekend.  I bought half of what I really should have (peppers, lettuce, avocado) and a boat load of strawberries, blueberries and fresh figs.   I ran back up the hill thinking, “I’m going to have a heart attack getting back home.”  Oh, and I also thought, “I’m going to make a berry tart and something great with these figs!”   *grunt*  Then I walked the rest of the way up.  Because I’m human, and pushing a chubby toddler up an 80 degree vertical incline is hard.

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Little one and I have eaten a whole lot of fresh berries (no tart) and one fresh fig.  Every time I open the fridge, I feel guilty that I don’t know what to do with them.  Fig Newtons, homemade?  Oh, those are made with DRIED figs, and I’m not about to dry these figs just to bake something with them.   Stuff them with goat cheese, wrap in prociutto?  Sounds lovely.  Haven’t done it yet because that involves an additional grocery trip this week, and I avoid all extra shopping trips like the plague due to my little angel, who, last grocery trip, pulled a bottle of soy sauce off the shelf that exploded like an IED all over everything.  (I do, truly, love him dearly.)

I’ve set a D-day for these figs to be eaten or become garbage (as I haven’t yet created a compost plan).  I’ll let you know their finale.

Until then, it was a good thing to shop at the farmers’ market, but not a perfect thing as the figs testify.   Off to eat more fresh berries, maybe with a little ice cream…

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Wondering what happened?

Well, I did it.  I cooked with those figs.  I tried bacon-wrapped, stuffed with goat cheese.  They were good.  (How could they not at least be good?  They were wrapped in bacon for Pete’s sake!)

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Before, 3 innocent figs posing for the camera.  After, a hot gooey mess of yum.

They could have been better.  They needed something  to brighten up the flavors, maybe marinated in balsamic vinegar?  Eh, too much trouble.  I’d recommend slicing figs, serving them over some greens with crumbled goat cheese, bacon bits and a nice vinaigrette.  That would be perfectly delicious with a lot less work!

I also tried candied figs.  Why not?  I love candy.   I did not love candied figs.  They lost some of their figgy flavor, and extra sugar was not needed for this batch of over-ripe fruit.  Oh well.  At least the figs were able to be part of an experiment before they got tossed.

:)