I'm not going to try to explain the "why" of this... The idea has been bumping around in the old rock tumbler for ages now.  They sell dolphin cookie cutters at Sur La Table for $1 and I took some pliers to one to make it m'orca.

Melt some dark chocolate chips or candy melts in the microwave at 50% for 30 seconds, stir and continue to microwave at 50%, stirring at 15 second intervals.  Spread some on each graham cracker as glue, then adhere a marshmallow.

Spread chocolate over the top of the whale, leaving the appropriate eye and belly markings uncovered.  Let rest on wax paper at room temperature to harden or eat immediately if you want to get messy.

Marshmallow Cut-Outs

It amazes me that clear sugar syrup can turn into chewy white marshmallows in a matter of a half hour.  Watching a gooey cloud grow in the mixer bowl feels like magic.  Homemade marshmallows are just really really fun to make.  If I had kids around I'd make them do this (If you do have kids around, be warned--240° sugar is too hot for little ones to handle). You could flavor or color them all different sorts of ways or coat them in decorating sugar or coconut or cocoa.  Here they are plain old vanilla, spread thin, and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.

Marshmallow Cut-Outs

  • 2 packages unflavored gelatin
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 2/3 C cold water
  • 2/3 C light corn syrup
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 powdered sugar
  • 1/4 C cornstarch

Sift together the powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Lightly coat a jellyroll pan with nonstick spray. Sprinkle some of the cornstarch mixture to cover the pan, shaking off and reserving the excess.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/3 C of water and let sit while you cook the syrup.   In a heavy saucepan, cook the sugar, corn syrup, 1/3 C water, and salt covered for 4 minutes.  Uncover and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240° F on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat.  Using the whisk attachment on the mixer at low-speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture.  Once all the syrup is in, up the speed to high and beat for about 15 minutes until thick, white and fluffy.  Mix in vanilla.  Spread the mixture into the prepared jellyroll pan, smoothing out with a spatula.  Do your best with that part--it's not so easy.  Sprinkle more of the cornstarch mix over the top, reserving the excess.  Let sit uncovered for 4 hours or overnight.  Dip a knife or cookie cutter into the cornstarch mix and cut into shapes, coating the sticky edges with the cornstarch mix.  Keep in an airtight container.

Graham Crackers

Summer is winding down. Kids in brand new backpacks are biking to school on wobbly bikes.  But here we are about to see the warmest part of the year.  I wanted to make one more summer-y snack on here in this last little spurt of freedom. It will happen in three parts.

I. Before this year I only really ate graham crackers if I was at camp and it was snack time or if there was a square left over when I was making a pie crust.  Embarrassingly, now I keep little packets of them in my pockets to stave off low blood sugar emergencies on long days.  While it's usually too late by the time I make it to a quiet corner to pop one in my mouth, I've learned how wonderful they are to scoop up cheap peanut butter, drizzled with honey from a packet, or dipped in instant coffee, tea, milk, or even orange juice.

Homemade ones are of course infinitely better than the ones I carry (which could be confused with the Saltines packs that come with your soup).  I combined a bunch of recipes to get this.  I wanted to make some with the "wholesome taste" of whole grains and molasses. The whole-wheat, bran, and germ combination should resemble the taste of graham flour.  If you like, you could substitute graham flour for the combo. You can find graham flour at some specialty stores or online and if you live in SF, you can buy graham flour in bulk at Rainbow.

Graham Crackers

  • 1 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C wheat bran
  • 2 T wheat germ
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 7 T butter, cut into small pieces and very cold
  • 4-5 T whole milk
  • 3 T honey
  • 2 T molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Mix the flours, bran, germ, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a food processor. Add the cold chunks of butter and pulse until the mixture looks like crumbs.  Then mix in the rest of the ingredients.  Gather the dough into a ball and divide into 3 or 4 pieces.  Roll each piece to 1/8" between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper. Stack and chill the sheets for an hour or so.  Then either use a floured pizza wheel or knife to cut the dough into squares.  Or you can cut into shapes using a floured cookie cutter.  Poke gently with a fork. If you want, you can sprinkle the tops with cinnamon-sugar. Leave the cookies on the parchment and freeze for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350 °F.  Then bake on the parchment lined cookie sheet for 15-25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.