Category: how to

Graham Crackers (and Dandies!)

S'mores with Homemade Graham Crackers and Dandies

I always have trouble finding vegan graham crackers at the store. Nearly every single brand has honey in them. The one version that doesn’t is full of icky ingredients.

When I got my Dandies in the mail, I knew I had to make my own graham crackers once and for all. The recipe turned out really good. I’d like to perfect the texture a little (ideally, I’d actually like them to be more crumbly than they are), but the flavor is nice and mellow, and it really highlights the sweet, nutty taste of whole wheat without being overly sugary. If you like your graham crackers really sweet, add a bit more sugar than I call for.

Graham CrackersGraham crackers are traditionally made with graham flour, named after Sylvester Graham, a really interesting (if slightly crazy) health nut from the 19th century. He promoted the vegetarian diet (yay!) to cure, among other things, sexual desires (I did say he was slightly crazy).

Graham flour is whole wheat flour. What makes it different from standard whole wheat is the ratio of endosperm to bran to germ. Sylvester Graham ground these parts of the wheat berry separately to preserve texture and then re-combined them in a specific proportion. You can find graham flour in some stores and online, or you can make your own. Wikipedia says “one cup of graham flour is approximately equivalent to 84 g (~2/3 cup) white flour, 15 g (slightly less than 1/3 cup) wheat bran, and 2.5 g (1.5 teaspoons) wheat germ.”

Or you can do what I did and just use stoneground flour and call it a day.

Stoneground Whole Wheat FlourActually, you can use whatever flour you like for these. I used stoneground flour because it has little flecks of bran in it, which adds some lovely texture to the crackers. I really recommend using at least some form of whole wheat, because it gives the graham crackers their traditional nutty flavor. Oh yeah, and it’s healthier. And rest assured it won’t mess with your libido. Sorry Sylvester.

Graham crackers are tasty, but they aren’t the sexiest food in the world. S’mores, on the other hand? Sexy. I made these with Chicago Soydairy’s latest vegan treat, Dandies vegan marshmallows. They are awesome! It’s my understanding that they’re being sold online, but sell out FAST. So if you see them available, scoop them up! They taste great, and they’re gelatin free, and they roast up just like the non-vegan version. Perfect for s’mores.

How about a little video before the recipe? Don’t forget all my videos are HD, so you can watch them full-screen!

Making Graham Crackers on Vimeo.

Graham Crackers
Makes at least 24 3×3″ Crackers

2 1/2 Cups Graham Flour or Stoneground Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup Agave Nectar (or a little more sugar mixed with water)
3/4 Cup Water

Mix the all the dry ingredients together. Cream together Earth Balance and sugar. Add vanilla and agave and beat with a whisk until smooth. Add a little of the flour and a little of the water to the earth balance/sugar mixture and combine. Continue adding in flour and water, a little at a time, until all flour and water is added. Work the dough with your hands until everything is evenly combined.

Divide dough in half and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325º F. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that measures approximately 11″x15″. Trim edges. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into squares or rectangles (I cut mine into 3′x3′ squares). Prick the squares with a fork.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 325º F or until the crackers are turning golden brown around the edges. You can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of the crackers during the last 10 minutes of baking if you like.

Remove from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack. See the video above for visual directions.

For S’mores

S'mores with Homemade Graham Crackers and Dandies

Place the crackers in multiples of two on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to broil. Add chocolate to one cracker and vegan marshmallows to another until all the crackers are topped. Broil for less than 1 minute, watching constantly, until the marshmallows are golden and melty and the chocolate has softened.

Chicago Soydairy's Dandies Marshmallows

Remove from oven, assemble the s’more, and eat! The graham crackers are also great plain, or topped with cream cheese frosting.

Graham Crackers

Spring Crêpes Three Ways

Spring Crêpes, Three Ways

Happy Spring, lovelies!

It’s time to break out of our winter food ruts, and I think I have just the thing. Crêpes! They’re light and can be filled with almost anything, but to get your imagination started I’ve created three recipes for you to try.

Now, vegan crepes. They’re not hard once you get the hang of them. The recipe I’m posting here comes from a veganized version of a standard “Eggless Crepe” recipe that’s floating around on the interwebs. I just subbed soymilk and Earth Balance for milk and butter. I also think it needs a little extra water, and I’ll point that out in the recipe below. There is also a really good crêpe recipe in Veganomicon, if you have that cook book, but it calls for chickpea flour. If you have your own favorite recipe, use that! Whatever works for you will work here.

There’s a little video below to get you started if you’re new to crêpes.

The great thing about these is that you can make absolutely everything ahead. They heat up in minutes, so it’s perfect if you’re cooking bunch or lunch for several people who all want different fillings. Simply place the cold crêpe in the pan, put the fillings on top, heat through, and serve. I make extra crêpes and keep them in the fridge for quick meals for the next day or two.

So, the fillings!

Asparagus Hollandaise

Asparagus Hollandaise Crêpe

Asparagus season is here or will be shortly, and this creamy hollandaise-ish sauce is perfect with spring-tender stalks. I just quickly pan-seared them so they’d have lots of flavor without overcooking them. You can check out my guide to buying and prepping asparagus if you like. The sauce has an almond base, so if you have good blender, you should be able to throw it together in minutes. Nutritional yeast is optional, but it does give it a nice pale yellow color and as well as some flavor. If you leave out the yeast, you might want to add a little turmeric for color.

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée Crêpe

I’m a sometimes-mushroom person. Sometimes I love them, other times I eat around them. I find the less-common mushrooms to be the tastiest. I used king trumpet and chanterelle mushrooms in this crêpe, and man were they delicious. Morels are coming in season, and they’d be wonderful, too. You’re welcome to use more standard mushrooms if you want (cremini, portabello, button), but these fancier ‘shrooms were a real treat for me. I paired them with some wilted frisée (also called curly endive or chicory). It’s kind of bitter, but seems to mellow out with a quick sauté. It matches the mushrooms perfectly.

Berry Crêpes

Berry Crêpe au Sucre

I really wanted to use strawberries in this one, but alas, it’s not quite the season for them yet. The ones at my local store looked pretty sad. The raspberries, on the other hand, looked perfect. You can use any berry you like in these, along with a little sugar. The sugar melts a bit, making this crazy-easy dessert really very tasty. If you want, you can put a few tiny chunks of candied ginger in there as well. You don’t need berries at all; my absolute favorite all-time crêpe is a simple crêpe au sucre. Just sugar. Pure and simple.

Basic Crêpes
Makes 8-10

1/2 Cup Soymilk
2/3 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Earth Balance, melted
1 Cup Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbs Sugar (sweet crepes only, optional)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract (sweet crepes only, optional)
2 Tbs Water, to thin if needed

Place all the ingredients in a blender or in a bowl. Blend or whisk until smooth. Transfer to a 2 Cup measuring cup (for pouring) and refrigerate for 30 minutes. While the batter is refrigerating, prepare your fillings.

Asparagus Hollandaise
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

1/2 Lb Thin Asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbs Earth Balance
1 Pinch Salt
Black Pepper

Heat a large skillet (I used then cast-iron skillet for all of the fillings) over high heat. Add Earth Balance and asparagus. Cook for a few minutes, until asparagus are bright green, tender-crisp, and are browning in spots. Add salt and pepper, set aside.

Seared Asparagus

Hollandaise Sauce
1/2 Cup Sliced Raw Almonds
1/2 Cup Hot Water
2 Tbs Earth Balance
2 tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast, optional (or 1/4 tsp turmeric for color)
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard, optional

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until extremely smooth.

Wild Mushroom and Wilted Frisée
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

2 Tbs Earth Balance
1 Cup Chopped Chanterelle Mushroms
1 Cup Chopped Trumpet Mushrooms
1/2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
2 Sprig Fresh Rosemary, stem removed
1 Cup Chopped Frisée Greens
1-2 Cloves garlic, minced, optional

Chanterelle and Trumpet MushroomsSlice trumpet mushrooms lengthwise, then lengthwise again.

Add the earth balance to a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add trumpet mushrooms and saute until beginning to brown. Add chanterelles and rosemary. Turn down heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt and balsamic vinegar. Remove mushrooms from pan.

Add garlic and sweat until tender. Add greens and cook until just wilted, one to two minutes. Remove and set aside with mushrooms.

Sauteed Chanterelle and Trumpet Mushrooms with Rosemary

Berry Crêpes
Fills 2-3 Crêpes

1/2 Pint Raspberries (or other berries)

Berry crêpes are filled while the crêpes are still cooking. Add sugar and berries to the crêpe as soon as it is flipped. See below for more details about cooking the crêpes.

Making Crêpes

So now that you fillings are all prepared, and your crêpe batter has rested and chilled, we’re ready to make crêpes! I’ve made a video that outlines the whole process, but here are a few things you’ll need:

-A non-stick omelet or crêpe pan
-Cooking Spray
-A graduated spatula (the long flat kind you use for frosting cakes), optional

If your batter is too thick when it comes out of the fridge, stir in 2 Tbs of water to loosen it up.

Here’s how:

How to make Crepes from lolo on Vimeo.

Assembling and Serving

So now you have a stack of cooling crêpes and fillings that have gone cold. No worries. You can keep your fillings in a warm oven until you’re ready to serve, or even easier, warm them up with the crêpes at the same time.

When you’re ready to eat, place a crêpe back in a hot skillet (medium heat is fine) and add the fillings you want in the top. Cover the whole thing and wait a few minutes. You want everything to get hot, but you don’t want to cook the crêpe any more than it is. When it’s hot, fold the crêpe in thirds and serve. It should only take 1-2 minutes per crêpe to heat up, so you can make them to order for your friends and family.

Okay! So are you ready to make crêpes? I hope so, because typing the little circumflex is getting really annoying. Making crêpes is much easier than accenting them correctly, I assure you.

Spring Crêpes, Three Ways