July 1, 2012

Graham Crackers and Milk

The other day I was doing my (almost) daily Zumba workout when I got a call from my Dad.  I did not answer. It ended up being a butt dial anyways. When I called him back, he told me that his phone must have known that he needed to tell me he loves me. He is a great dad.

Then he asked if anything was new. I told him no, and he responded, "Well, life just keeps moving on".

And it does. Yesterday David and I had the pleasure of celebrating my older brother's 24th birthday with him and his new wife. I have never been very openly sentimental, but the whole time I kept thinking about how life really has kept moving on and we are at the point where Ben and I are going our separate ways in life. It is not that this is the first time we have been apart, we have both been at college for several years. But there has always been something comforting about the fact that he has always been only a few hours away.

But now he is finishing his bachelor's degree and in a year or so he and Beth will leave to who knows where for medical school. Instead of living a few hours away, we will live hundreds to thousands of miles apart. 

When I was three and Ben was five, we stopped sharing a bedroom and I moved down the hall. According to my parents I cried the whole way into my room and told Ben that I would miss him.

I know I am going to miss him in a year when he leaves for medical school. So, this is my tribute to him: Homemade graham crackers and milk. This is a snack we used to enjoy together frequently as children.

In keeping with the new purpose of my blog, I will tell you that these graham crackers taste fantastic. I plan on never buying store bought graham crackers again; these are so much better. They take a little bit of time but they really are not much work.

Homemade Graham Crackers via The Taste Tester

Homemade Honey Graham Crackers

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bleached all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 tablespoons salt
7 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
1/3 cup honey
5 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
sugar for sprinkling

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal or grains of rice.

In a small bowl whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and mix with an electric hand mixer until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky. Wrap in a sheet of plastic wrap that has been dusted with flour, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Return one half of the dough to the fridge. Lay a large sheet of wax paper on the countertop and flour it lightly. Place dough in center of wax paper. Lightly flour the top of the dough and place another piece of wax paper on top.

Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a long rectangle that is 1/8" thick. Trim of the edges with a pizza cutter (so it's actually a rectangle). Cut into 2x2" crackers. Place the crackers on two parchment paper lined cookie sheets. If you do not have parchment paper, non-stick cooking spray will work. Sprinkle each cookie with sugar. Chill cookies for 30-45 minutes in the fridge or 15-20 minutes in the freezer.

Repeat with the second batch of graham cracker dough and dough scraps.

Adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Smitten Kitchen says to bake these for 15-25 minutes. You will find that depending on the size of your cookies, they may take only 10 minutes (mine only took that long). So keep an eyeball on them. When they are finished they will be browned and slightly firm to the touch.

Recipe Source: Smitten Kitchen

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