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Candle in the Night

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homemade, Healthy Graham Crackers (With a secret ingredient! Shhh...Don't tell H!)

H LOVES graham crackers.  She would eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if I let them.  She thinks they are cookies.  Fortunately, they really aren't all that bad for you.  I let her have probably one a day.  The bad thing is, there really isn't much to eat much else when it comes to foods on the go.  And we're on the go a lot.  It's hard to hand her an apple or green beans to eat in the car and there aren't that many healthy snack foods that don't cost a fortune!  So I decided to try and make graham crackers myself and I wanted to see if I could put some healthy foods in the crackers.

I found a recipe I liked at The Cupcake Project.  (Awesome blog by the way!  I'm now a follower!)  She got her recipe from Free Range Living who got it from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.  (Yes, this recipe has been handed down several times now.)  Then, I just improvised.  They turned out pretty good!  Not so much like crackers...more like thin cookies, but unsweetened.  Oh, and you can't taste the spinach.  That's right.  Spinach.  :)  Find the recipe (with my changes in red) below.

I am reprinting the recipe below along with all of my baking notes. It makes 36 2 1/2 inch squares.
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 6 T sugar (I only used 5.  I was trying to cut down on the sugar.  Don't know that 1 T makes that much difference, but it felt better to me!)
  • 4 T honey (I had no honey and, like I said, was trying to cut down on the sugar, so I just left it out.)
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 2 t water
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1 1/2 C graham flour (I read a few places recipes with whole wheat flour and since I was trying to stick with ingredients I had, I went ahead and used whole wheat flour.)
  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour (This is where I got interesting.  I wanted to use more whole grains, so I substituted rye flour.)
  • 1 C frozen spinach thawed, but not drained
  • 1/2 C strawberries
  • 1/2 C blueberries

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

2.  Combine the butter, egg and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

3.  Stir in the honey and blend. (Obviously, I skipped this step.)

4.  Dissolve the baking soda in the water and put in blender (or Magic Bullet!) with spinach, strawberries, and blueberries.  Blend until it's a fine puree.  

5.  Add to the butter mixture.

6.  Add the salt, graham flour (whole wheat flour), and all-purpose flour (rye flour) to the mixture and blend thoroughly. The dough should hold together and be manageable. If it is too "tacky" add a little more graham flour. (I did end up adding quite a bit extra whole wheat flour.  Probably almost a cup.  I think the fruit/spinach puree added enough water that I needed it.  In the future, I'll add even more.)  
This is what it looked like after I'd mixed it and dusted it with flour.
I was really afraid I was going to end up with black crackers,
but they did lighten up as they baked.  
7.  Liberally dust a surface with graham flour (whole wheat flour) and roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. For convenience in handling, cut the rolled dough into three or four sections that will fit on your cookie sheet. (I divided the dough and actually rolled it out on the cookie sheet on some wax paper and then baked it right on there as suggested on The Cupcake Project.  That way, you don't have to mess with transferring it onto the cookie sheet later.  MUCH easier and worked just fine!  At this point, I also sprinkled the tops with cinnamon and rolled it into the dough.  Yummy!)
Here it is all rolled out on the wax paper on the cookie sheet before I
cut it.  I didn't get the first section very thin, so I made sure to roll
the second section thinner.  
8.  With a knife, score the dough, without cutting through, into 2 1/2 inch squares. (I didn't worry what shape the crackers were cut into.  I've also read it's fun to use cookie cutters, but mine are in the basement, so I didn't.  I probably will next time!)

9.  Prick each square a few times with the tines of a fork. 

10.  Using a spatula, place the sections of scored cracker dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. (Yeah, I didn't have to do this.)

11.  Bake on the first side for 8 minutes, then turn the cracker over and bake for another 6 or 7 minutes. (I followed the suggestion on The Cupcake Project and didn't turn them.  I just baked them for 15 minutes and it worked fine.)

12.  Remove from the oven and cool on racks. 


H loves these!  They're SO much healthier and I really feel good about letting her eat them whenever she wants.  Yay for healthy, yummy food!  I think they'd be delicious dipped in peanut butter.  :)

Oh, and M was such a sleepyhead the whole time.  Here she is, enjoying the sound of the mixer.  
Gotta love the finger on the nose!

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4 Comments:

At October 4, 2011 at 1:09 PM , Anonymous Rebecca Glaser said...

I have mostly taken the sugar out of all my recipes and use natural, raw honey instead. It works just fine and is better for you. In liquids (smoothies, tea, hot chocolate, etc.) I use stevia, which is really good for you, and the kids are just fine with the flavor.

 
At October 4, 2011 at 1:36 PM , Blogger Jessica said...

Thanks Rebecca! I usually try to use honey in my recipes (or even better, applesauce) but was out of both. I don't drink much tea and don't sweeten my smoothies, but I know that my mom and sister also really like the stevia. I've never tried it in hot chocolate before. I'll have to try that out!

 
At October 4, 2011 at 3:38 PM , Blogger Sariah said...

Totally trying this recipe!!! Cy loves snacks and eats ALL the time but I hate buying processed foods all the time... so we usually just don't purchase crackers or anything in the middle section of the store... now I can give him crackers and feel good about it! Yay! Thanks for sharing!!!

 
At October 8, 2011 at 9:15 PM , Blogger Stef said...

Love this idea! I just shared it on the Facebook page! Oh - and your daughter is such a cutie!

 

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