07 March 2011


My Favorite Things

Recipes I love:

I just tried two new super easy recipes that I want to share.  I don't buy many prepackaged snacks, but sometimes I need something that can be left in a bag for several days (i.e. not cheese, yogurt, etc.).  Because we try to make as much "real" food from scratch as possible, I'm always on the lookout for simple recipes.  We already spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I can't be bothered with fancy pants recipes that take all day.  We just tried a granola bar recipe that was a huge hit (I'll share that one another day).  So, today, with my kids off of school, we decided to make crackers.  It went over so well, I also threw together some mud balls that I got off my friend's blog (who got it from someone else's blog).  I have to give credit where it is due, so I'll link to where I found these recipes, because maybe you will find something else you want to try.

1.  Whole Wheat Crackers - from this blog

Homemade “Wheat Thins” Style Crackers Recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
1 ¼ c. whole wheat flour (can use spelt flour, traditional whole wheat or white whole wheat)
1 ½ Tbs. sugar (or honey)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. paprika
4 Tbs. butter
¼ c. water
¼ tsp. vanilla
salt for topping
Mix ‘em: Combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter thoroughly into the dry mixture until it looks like large crumbs, no bigger than a pea. Some people use a food processor to cut in the fat, but I prefer to save dishes and keep it all in one bowl. Combine the water and vanilla in a measuring cup, plus honey if using, and add to the flour mixture. Mix well until combined and dough forms, but only as long as necessary for the most tender crackers.
Prep ‘em: Use parchment paper, a lightly greased cookie sheet, or an ungreased baking stone.  For crackers, I would HIGHLY recommend using a baking stone (I love my Pampered Chef Rectangular Stone Gadget Wishlist), or at least parchment paper or a Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat.  I roll the dough right out on the stone or mat and bake them.  Yep, right on the stone.  That way I don’t have to worry about rumpled crackers as I move the fragile dough.  People say, “Those are homeMADE?” because most of my crackers have perfect shape and are sooooo delectably thin.
Roll ‘em: Only use one fourth of the dough at a time. Cover all your surfaces with flour and roll the dough as evenly as you can. You might flip the dough to make it easier to roll, but I don’t always have to. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as humanly possible without tearing. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each. Fork pokes make them look extra authentic. If you want all beautifully square crackers, you can trim the edges square.  I skip the trimming and just deal with weird shaped crackers.  Those go to the toddler right away! (Note: be sure you don’t cut your silicone mat!)
Bake ‘em: Make sure your oven is preheated to 400 F. If you have used a mat or parchment paper, just slide it onto a cookie sheet. If you don’t have either, you’ll have to move each cracker individually. Sprinkle the squares lightly with real salt, if Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. (If you want to do two trays at once, you can put one on top and one and bottom and switch them halfway through the baking time.) If some of the thinner crackers on the edges brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely – even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast!
Are they done? You want them to be almost crispy, but not totally breakable to deem them “done”, because they will crisp up a bit as they cool.  You’ll learn after a tray or two the difference between “too soft” “done” and “oops”.  They’re still tasty when they’re soft, just not so cracker-y.  Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a rack; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for many days, but are best stored in airtight containers.
For extra crispy crackers, If you have space and baking stones to suffice, simply turn the oven off a minute or two early with the crackers still inside.  They’ll crisp up just lovely as it cools down.

2.  Mud Balls - I got this from my friend Amy's blog, but she got it here

1/4 cup peanut butter  **I used cashew butter and they turned out great**

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup wheat germ  **I was out of wheat germ, so I used flax here and sesame seeds later**

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup sesame seeds or chopped almonds or sunflower seeds or flax seed

Cook peanut butter and honey on low until melted. Add remaining ingredients. Cool. Roll into


That's it!! 
I think this recipe will freeze well, so next time I'm going to make a huge batch and try it.

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