Chocolate Pecan Grahams


Chocolate GrahamsOn Mondays, I’ve been trying to bake something that I can use all week as a healthy-ish and filling after school snack, pairing it with cut fruit or vegetables or the like. So, I baked these this last Monday, I even baked a double batch, hoping I would have enough to last through the week. Well, we had enough to last through early-morning munchies on Tuesday. So, the bad news was I had to bake a new after school snack on Tuesday (which actually isn’t bad news to me! I have two new cookbooks I’m trying to bake through: Bouchon Bakery–which will take me a few years–and Payany’s Better Made at Home. So delightful!), and the good news was that we have another winner for after school snacks! I’ve adapted this recipe from one on King Arthur Flour (I’ve reduced the sugar and added pecans. The full sugar amount is delicious, but tastes more like a flat brownie than a cracker. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Just wanting a little less sugar before dinner).

Note: these grahams are quite crumbly out of the oven, but firm up within an hour of cooling. Also, I scored them before they went into the oven, and then again right out of the oven. And thanks to Bouchon, I now want a bicycle for scoring. I think that’s what he calls it. Anyway. Big dreams. Another note: my kids had no idea these grahams had pecans in them (Lucie just reading over my shoulder commented on this!). Now, that’s success.

Chocolate Pecan Grahams

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c.  whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. pecans, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor till finely chopped
1/2 c. (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
3-4 T.  honey (I like more, plus I needed it for moisture)
2 T. cold milk
2 T. granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Cut out two sheets of parchment as large as your cookie sheets.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder. With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until evenly crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and milk, stirring until the honey dissolves. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and toss lightly with a fork until the dough comes together. Add additional milk, if necessary.

[Alternately, place the dry ingredients in a food processor, pulse 5 times, add the pecans, pulse 2-3 times. Then, add the butter, and pulse until mixture looks like sand, then add the wet ingredients and pulse until the mixture comes together, adding more milk or honey if needed. ]

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Work with half the dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered.

Transfer one piece of dough to a piece of parchment. Roll it into a rectangle a bit larger than 10 x 14 inches; the dough will be about 1/16-inch thick. Trim the edges and prick the dough evenly with a dough docker or fork. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough and parchment. Place the rolled-out dough pieces, on their parchment, onto baking sheets.

Bake the crackers for 15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut them into rectangles with a pizza wheel or knife. Transfer them to a rack to cool. Store the cooled crackers tightly wrapped. Yield: thirty-two 3 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch crackers.

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Best Granola Bars I’ve Ever Had/Made

Puffed Rice Bars

Well, I’m sure almost anyone who has googled “energy bar recipe” like I did has seen this bar, since it comes from the first hit, but it’s time for me to publish how much I like them! After making them the first time, I went to the store the next morning to buy all the ingredients to make them again, in case my kids finished them off after school. They are so good, I’m a little embarrassed I’ve ever purchased a granola bar. And though I’m sure I’ll buy granola bars again, I will always wish I had taken time to make these instead. Soooo good. So Good. This recipe comes from beardandbonnet.com, but I’ve altered it a bit for our taste.

Sweet Pine Nut and Puffed Rice Bars

  • 1 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1 c. oats
  • ⅓ c. pine nuts
  • ¼ c. flax seeds
  • ⅔ c. light brown sugar
  • ½ c. honey
  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • ½ t. salt
  • 2 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 c. puffed brown rice cereal (also could mix in puffed Kamut or Millet)
  • 1/4 c. water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans, oats, pine nuts, and flax seeds on the sheet and bake about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, butter, water, and salt to a boil over medium heat, making sure that the sugar dissolves before the mixture boils. Simmer until a light brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the caramel over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal until evenly coated.
  4. Line an 11×17 inch baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
  5. Discard the top piece of parchment and use the “handles” from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut into bars and serve.

New Favorite Granola

Granola is like bread for me–I have a clear favorite for a few months, maybe even a few years, and then I have to start trying other recipes to see if something better’s out there. This granola has been my favorite for about a year now, and I make it sometimes as many as two times a week. (My oldest son Henry came home from school last week and ate four cups of it. FOUR CUPS of it. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think any stomach could handle that much granola). Anyway, this recipe comes from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry, but I’ve made a change or two. 

Great Granola

5 c. rolled oats
1 c. coconut
1/2 c. wheat germ
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1/2 c. nuts (I use sliced almonds or chopped pecans)
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 c. dried fruit (craisins, raisins, or whatever. We never get around to adding any, though!)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees, and place an oven rack in the center of your oven. Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine oats, coconut, wheat germ, sesame seeds, and nuts.

Over the stove or in the microwave, heat the honey and oil until dissolved. Add the water, vanilla, and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, and mix. Spread on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown, stirring every 20 minutes to prevent scorched edges. Cool completely on a rack, and then store in airtight containers for as long as two weeks!