Tag Archives: homemade graham cracker

Graham Bars

Graham Bars

When I was a kid sweets were not a frequent part of our household unless it was the holidays or a birthday. I spent a majority of my after school afternoons at my grandmother’s house waiting for my mom to get off work. The snacks Grandma kept for my afternoon stays were basic; cheese, nuts, fruit, and the occasional package of fig newtons. Needless to say I consumed a lot of fig newton’s given they were the only semi-sweet treat in the house.

Fast forward many years later. I still carried a love of fig newton’s but given our change in food habits, store bought fig newtons didn’t fit into our food lifestyle. Fig newtons were, in our minds, filled with over processed unknown not good for you ingredients. I didn’t think much of making my own fig newton’s until we moved to a property that had a fig tree. Upon having more figs than I knew what to do with (besides sharing with friends) my first attempt in cooking with figs was a pear and fig tart.Graham Bars

Graham Bars Although it was a tasty option I needed to find more recipes to use up the figs… fig jam seemed like the logical next step. The hubs did not approve. He was not a fan. The jam was not a flavor we were used to. It was a simple recipe of orange juice, sugar, pectin, and of course figs. Now here I sit with an abundance of fig jam and nothing to do with it. Then nostalgia set in and my memory of fig newton’s flooded back. Why couldn’t I try? I could use the fig jam as the filling!!

The crust or cookie outer layer of the newton was not as easy to figure out. Most of the recipes I came across were more like a shortbread than a soft cookie. I made a batch. They were OK but I gave up after one attempt. I like shortbread but as a healthy snack it didn’t fit; too much butter, sugar and not much else.

We eventually moved and said goodbye to the fig tree. I took with us several jars of fig jam that I had canned from the previous season. What was I going to do with this jam? I couldn’t waste it. I had to figure something out. Then it hit me; my graham cracker recipe! It was the perfect cookie consistency and something I felt good about making more than once a month. I got to work and made our first batch.

The result was fantastic! I finally did it… fig newtons, graham style… I made graham bars! The hubs and kiddo approved!Graham Bars

I was finally able to use up the last of the jars of fig jam by way of the graham bars but now what was I to do. I no longer had easy access to figs. The logical next step was to use different fillings. Why not get wild with our graham bars…Graham Bars

We made apple…Graham Bars

and blueberry…Graham Bars

Blueberry monster faces of my niece and kiddo… who says kids can’t enjoy a healthy snack and still have fun…Graham Bars

and my favorite… apricot graham bars… all from local organic fruits in our community.Graham Bars

The graham bars are now a go-to in my snack arsenal for the kiddo. You can use any preserve, store bought or homemade. I choose to thicken up my filling by adding in a couple tablespoons of grass-fed gelatin. The blueberry filling didn’t need it because of its already natural heavy pectin content but the apricot needed some thickening. For purposes of this recipe I will reference the apricot but you can use any fruit preserve of your liking, with or without the gelatin added (just skip this step in the recipe and go straight to spreading out on the graham dough).

So here’s to bringing back childhood memories… with a twist… fig newtons graham style… Graham Bars… enjoy!!

 

Graham Bars

350 (f) degrees for 25-30 minutes / 30+ graham bars depending on cut size

Graham Cracker Recipe

1 Pint Favorite Fruit Preserves (we’ll use apricot in this recipe)

2 tablespoons grass-fed gelatin (optional)

 

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 (f) degrees

Step 2: Prepare a deep edge cookie sheet tray with parchment paper

Step 3: In a sauce pan whisk in 2 tablespoons of grass-fed gelatin with your favorite preserves (in this recipe we’re using my homemade apricot jam made with local organic apricots, spice, lemon juice and pectin). After well mixed, remove from heat and set aside to cool.Graham Bars

Step 4: Follow the instructions to make graham cracker dough here: Graham Cracker Recipe. Once you get to the rolling portion of this recipe move on to step 5 below.

Step 5: Cut your ball of chilled graham cracker dough in half. You’ll roll each half separately. Roll your dough in the shape of a rectangle, roughly a quarter inch thick. Transfer the rolled dough to your parchment paper lined cookie tray. The dough will be delicate so be prepared for breakage. It doesn’t have to be perfect… if it breaks, just press the dough back together! Now take your cooled preserves and spread a thin layer over the entire rectangle leaving a quarter inch space around all edges.Graham Bars

Step 6: Now carefully fold each side half way making sure the final fold overlaps the first fold. Press the ends together to keep the preserves from oosing out during cooking. Repeat step 5 and step 6 with your 2nd half of dough. I take a sheet of tin foil and crumple it up to create a barrier between the two halves as there will be spreading during the cooking process. This creates a barrier to avoid the two halves baking together into one.Graham Bars

Step 7: Place the cookie sheet on the center rack of a preheated 350 (f) degree oven for 25-30 minutes till edges are crisp and the graham is golden brown. Remove from oven and rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. After cooled you may remove the tinfoil barrier and cut desired sized bars. I use a pizza cutter but any knife will do.Graham Bars

Step 8: ENJOY! Your graham bars will store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week… or the refrigerator for two plus weeks… if they last that long.Graham Bars

So there you have it… my take on the fig newton… only better! Graham bars. Use your favorite preserves of any kind and enjoy!

 

 

Homemade Graham Crackers

Homemade Graham Crackers

When I hear the word graham cracker the first thoughts that come to mind are smores, cheesecake with a graham crust, or my favorite as a child, grahams topped with honey & served with a warm beverage. Now that I have a kiddo of my own, I think of messy, sticky graham cracker faces as they munch them down with delight. Instead of my typical quote on the subject of homemade graham crackers, I found a sweet poem describing such a scene, with sticky graham cracker kisses.

I’ve noticed a common scene at parks, play gyms, and other kiddo gathering spots… ever flowing snacks. The kids are grazers. They run, play, snack, run, play, snack, and so forth. Many of the snacks I see frequenting these places are processed, pre-packaged gummy fruits, chips, crackers, cookies, dried fruits, yogurt covered goodies, and most of all graham crackers. I know my son will want what he sees from other children.  I’ve got to do my best to provide him comparable snacks that I can feel good about him eating.  I look to the ingredients on the back of the box. I say to myself… I CAN MAKE THESE… I can make homemade graham crackers! I’m off to the interwebs to find a version I can work with, that he’ll like, and I can feel good about giving to my family.

After much searching, the ingredients from various recipes looked to be the same; flour, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla. I could make this work! The best version I’ve found so far is from smitten kitchen. I’ve used her guidance through measurements and technique but I’ve made minor adjustments to the ingredients.

After a few tests with all butter, all tallow, all buttermilk, all cream, honey vs. agave vs. molasses this version is the winner. Like most recipes, it’s up for interpretation. The thicker the roll on the dough, the more cookie like your graham will be. You also have the option of having shape fun with this dough, using any type of cookie cutter shape.

No more are the days of store-bought grahams… only homemade graham crackers from here. I can’t wait to enjoy smores on these bad boys… but until then, we’ll enjoy them as a quick snack on the go!

* = organic
^ = local

Homemade Graham Crackers
350 (f) degrees for 8 minutes / 24+ grahams

2 cups graham flour * (can be replaced with all-purpose or whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour *
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons chia or flax seeds * (optional)
6 tablespoons butter, chilled *
3/4 cup brown sugar *
1/3 cup raw local honey ^ (you can also use molasses or maple syrup)
5 tablespoons cream *^
2 tablespoons vanilla *
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon granulated sugar * (optional for topping)

homemade graham crackers

homemade graham crackers

Step 1: Pre-heat the oven to 350 (f) degrees. In a food processor or stand mixer combine flour, salt, baking soda, sugar, flax/chia seed (optional), cinnamon, and butter. Process until you have a fine crumble. While the food processor or mixer is still running, add in vanilla, honey, and cream. Do not over process. Stop the machine as soon as the dough comes together.

Step 2: Form a ball, place in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
homemade graham crackers

Step 3: Take your dough out of the refrigerator and rest for 5 minutes before rolling. Prepare a lightly floured surface and rolling-pin. Roll dough out on floured surface, 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick.
homemade graham crackers

Step 4: Dab your cookie cutter device into flour and then cut out your graham shapes, transferring each shape to an ungreased cookie sheet. Keep each cookie at least an inch apart on the cookie sheet. The thicker you roll the dough the chewier your cookie will be. You can take this time to decorate your cookie with some fork pricks for the ‘traditional’ graham look. Place in a pre-heated 350 (f) degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes (the longer cooking time will result in a crisper cookie).
homemade graham crackers

NOTE: You will have leftover dough as you cut out the crackers.  Don’t waste!  You can gather all of the scraps, reform a ball, and roll & cut some more.  In the end, if you use all of your scraps, you will have used about 99% of the dough… no waste and lots of delicious graham crackers!

homemade graham crackers

Step 5: When cooking time has expired, remove grahams from the oven and let rest for a minute before removing them from the cookie tray. Optional, you can sprinkle a light amount of sugar (organic) on the top before removing for the cooling rack. After a minute transfer your grahams to a cooling rack. Enjoy your homemade graham crackers!
homemade graham crackers

homemade graham crackers