Thursday, August 30, 2012

Graham Crackers

These Graham Crackers taste amazing! They are time consuming, but they are well worth it. One batch makes quite a few cookies, so you will have more than enough. The directions call for a food processor. I have never made it without one, but you could try .

2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
7 tbsp butter cut into 1 inch cubes
1/3 cup honey
5 tbsp full-fat milk
2 tbsp vanilla

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Mix on low to incorporate. Add the hard butter, and mix until it resembles a coarse meal. 
In a small bowl, mix together the honey, milk, and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture, and pulse on and off until the mixture comes together.
Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, and dust it with flour. Transfer the dough onto it,  and pat into a rectangle. Wrap it, then chill until firm. About 2 hours, or overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough in half, and return half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto your work surface, and roll out the dough. ( The dough is very sticky, and I have to add a lot of flour. Don't be afraid of adding to much.) Roll it out to be about 1/8 inch thick, and a rectangle shape. Cut the dough into about two inch squares. ( It doesn't have to be perfect. The important thing is to make them all approximately the same size and shape.) Place the squares on a baking sheet, and chill in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, or the fridge for about 40-45 minutes.  Put the squares from the freezer into the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes. The crackers will seem soft, but they will harden. While it is cooling, roll out the other dough and cut into squares. Take the crackers off of the baking sheet, and repeat the process with the other dough. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Marshmallows are another one of those things I recently had to learn how to make. We were going to a party, and they were serving s'mores. Of course, there is still such a thing as allergies. I am looking forward to making marshmallow fluff, for things like fudge and a fondant my sister can have. This one takes a while, but there is not a lot of active time, you just have to let it sit overnight. I found this recipe here, and I didn't change it at all. The marshmallows don't exactly brown like the others, so we have found a new way to make s'mores. We now balance our graham cracker on the sticks, put the marshmallow and chocolate together, and top it with another graham cracker. We roast the whole contraption over the fire. The result it now a perfectly cooked marshmallow, with melted chocolate and crispy graham crackers.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup potato starch
1 tbsp butter
1 cup water divided
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 ounce packets unflavored gelatin
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 large egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Sift sugar and starch together.  Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle the sugar-starch mixture over it.  ( Effectively, this is just like flouring a cake pan. Obviously, it is really important to cover the whole surface, so that your marshmallows don't stick. ) Save the sugar-starch mixture for later. Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl, and empty the gelatin powder into it. Let stand.

Pour remaining 1/2 cup of water plus the sugar into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. When sugar is dissolved and syrup begins to boil, leave it undisturbed for about 5 minutes. 

Carefully pour hot syrup into the bowl, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Mix with a blender, gradually increasing the speed to high. Beat for about 10 minutes until the mixture has tripled in volume and thick, shiny, soft peaks have formed. Add vanilla extract. 

In a separate bowl, pour in the egg whites and a pinch of salt. Mix eggs until they begin to foam.  Sprinkle in the cream of tartar, and beat on high for about 3 minutes until shiny and firm peaks form. Incorporate egg whites into syrup/gelatin mixture.

When mixture is fully blended, after about 2-3 minutes, spread into prepared pan. Sift sugar starch mixture over top of the marshmallows. Allow to set overnight. If the air is dry, cover partly with plastic wrap. In the morning, run a spatula around the edges, and turn out onto a surface that has been covered with the sugar-starch mixture. Cut the marshmallows into 1 inch squares. Don't saw back and forth, use a sharp knife and press down. Coat the marshmallows in the sugar-starch mixture. Store in a covered container in the fridge. They last for 1-2 weeks. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken Pasta Salad

This is a family favorite. We use this for a lot, picnics, dinners, lunches. You can eat it cold, or you can warm it up. We prefer it cold. Also, this recipe doesn't have to be exact. You may like more or less chicken, broccoli, or carrots. Some people like less dressing than others. We used to add black olives, but my sister is allergic to nickel, which means no canned food. Of course, we can't find black olives not in a can. So, nix the black olives for us.

1 1/2 cups chicken breast
6 carrots
2 broccoli heads
1 box of rotini pasta
Italian dressing to taste

Cook the chicken in the oven. Be careful not to overcook or it will be to dry. Once it has cooled, cut the chicken into small cubes.
Cut up the broccoli and carrots. Put them in a pot, and start the water to boil. Once it starts boiling, add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Toss with the Italian dressing.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Italian Dressing

We make this for salads, and for some other dishes that I will share with everyone.
2 tbsp + 2 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp dried garlic
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried parsley

Mix these in a container, to store. When you are ready to make, mix 2 tbsp mix, plus 2 tbsp water, 2/3 cup oil, and 1/4 cup vinegar. The vinegar can be red wine vinegar, white vinegar, or even raspberry vinegar. You can experiment with different types, I'm sure there is a lot that will taste good. Don't forget to shake before use.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ranch Dressing

Obviously, this will not be a normal ranch recipe. I worked on this for months to get it right. We now have a pretty good tasting recipe, and everyone in our family can enjoy it. One thing I would suggest, crumble up your spices really fine so you don't have a gritty feeling, and use dried garlic, like the recipe calls for. If you use fresh garlic, the dressing will have a bite to it, and it is very strong.

1/4 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 tsp Granulated Garlic
pinch of dill
3/8 tsp parsley
1/8 tsp pepper
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp milk

Mix all ingredients together. Make sure to have your spices extra fine, to avoid a gritty feeling. If you would rather have dip, don't use milk.