I like to replicate the foods I once loved and can no longer have. It makes me feel like I haven’t given up so much after all. Like living without a few basic ingredients has barely changed my life. Like I’m not deprived.
People who must avoid critical ingredients like wheat, gluten, eggs, and dairy for example, are going to have to sit one out now and then. Probably pretty frequently. When the family makes an outing to the ice cream parlor on a hot summer night, we may opt for sorbet or italian ice and not the rich, smooth, delightful Strawberry Bon Bon we love so much. When our kids share pizza after a baseball game and all the other parents are bringing that piece of crispy, cheesy delight to their lips we’re going to wish we could have just one little bite. We’re going to happily munch salads and dry grilled fish when we dine out. We’re going to live the simple life.
One thing we are going to be is healthy and happy. Healthier than in that past life when we ate foods that didn’t like us very much. And, happy because we got to go to the ice cream parlor with our families and watch our sons and daughters celebrate their vicotories and losses.
That being said I’m cooking and baking myself to a place where I don’t feel the slightest bit deprived. I’m going to have pizza and ice cream sandwiches. And, I’m going to eat graham crackers, plain and enrobed in dark chocolate. Pies with graham cracker crusts, S’mores, and ice box cakes like Mom used to make.
Grahams Plain & Fancy
This is an adaptation of Rebecca Reilly’s gluten-free recipe that appears on Living Without.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups sorghum
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup tapioca
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons Earth Balance (cold from the fridge)
2 tablespoons honey*
2 tablespoons molasses*
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the dry ingredients—sugar, flours, xanthan, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon—in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until they are all whisked together.
Add the Earth Balance to the mixture by cutting the tablespoons in half and dotting them evenly over the dry mixture. Pulse about a dozen times until the Earth Balance is mixed in.
Add the wet ingredients—honey, molasses, coconut milk, and vanilla—and blend in until a dough ball is formed. Open the top of the food processor and make sure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. If they are not, use a spatula to move the dough around and blend another 30-60 seconds.
Remove the dough to a plastic wrap lined dish. Place another layer of plastic wrap on top and push the dough ball down forming a disk about ½ inch thick. Place in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
Divide the dough. Place one half back in the fridge and the other between two sheets of parchment. With a rolling pin roll the dough until it’s 1/8” thick. Lift off the top sheet of parchment. Using a cookie cutter—I used a round one—cut out the crackers. Alternatively you can cut these in two-inch squares with a pizza cutter. I found the cookie cutter to be easier.
Remove the extra dough from around the cut crackers and return it to the refrigerator with the other half of the disk you returned there earlier.
With a large fork poke three sets of holes in the middle of each cracker. When you’re done piercing all the crackers, gently move the parchment onto a cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes until the grahams are just golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool a few minutes before placing the crackers on a cooling rack.
Repeat with the remaining cold dough until all cookies have been cut and baked.
Those are the plain grahams. Now for the fancy ones.
Half a bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips made enough coating for about 1/3 of the cookies. If you want to do more I suggest you work in batches. Also, keep a damp paper towel handy to wipe off your hands because they will get chocolaty!
Place the chocolate chips in a microwaveable bowl. Heat at 30-second intervals, stirring in between each, until they are melted. Line a dish with parchment – this is going into the freezer when you’re done.
Gently dip the flat end (the one without the fork marks) of one of the graham crackers into the chocolate. Pull it straight up and out of the melted chocolate using a fork underneath for assistance if needed. The fork can also be used to gently smooth the chocolate but don’t overwork the coating – I just swiped it once with the edge. Place the cracker chocolate side up on the parchment. Continue with the remaining crackers until all the chocolate is used.
At this point—while the chocolate is still unset—you can sprinkle the cookie with finely chopped nuts, coconut, or a sprinkling of coarse salt. Or, even better, toast your favorite gluten-free, vegan marshmallow and make yourself S’mores.
Place the dish in the freezer for about 20 minutes or until the chocolate is set. These are best eaten within 24 hours or frozen for future eating!
*Molasses is quite rich and its flavor is dominant so you can adjust it downward (and the honey upward) if you’d like. And, for those of you who are vegan omit the honey entirely and increase the molasses by one tablespoon or add 3 tablespoons of sugar.