Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chocolate "Animal Cracker" or "Graham Cracker" Recipe

I've been on my coconut oil kick this week.  I hope you have been inspired to go out and try some.  It is such a versatile oil that I think you will enjoy incorporating into your kitchen creations.

My sister-in-law, Annie Bhagwandin, and her husband have a chestnut orchard in Washington.  This prompted her to write this amazing cookbook:  The Chestnut Cookbook.

Annie is a genius at utilizing the American chestnut.  She even made the most amazing cookies which incorporated whole wheat pastry flour along with chestnut flour.  They were AWESOME:  not too sweet, full of fiber and protein, a wonderful snack.

This combo that Annie had come up got me to thinking about how to create a chocolate cracker that  wouldn't be too sweet, would incorporate whole wheat flour along with a nut flour, and would use virgin coconut oil.  Well, thanks to Annie's inspiration, I have one to share with you.

Chocolate Graham Crackers (with Animal Cracker Option)

Notes:  You want to use virgin or unrefined coconut oil.  This type of coconut oil will have a pleasing coconut scent when you open the jar and will add sweetness and subtle coconut flavor to your finished cracker.  Also, almond meal may be purchased from the store (I purchase mine from Trader Joe's and it is located in the nut section) or you can make your own by placing almonds in a food processor and processing until it kind of resembles cornmeal...if you process it too long you will have almond butter.  Whole wheat pastry flour can usually be found in the natural food section of your grocery store or at a store like Whole Foods (it is NOT the same as regular whole wheat flour)

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.    In a bowl, place the coconut oil, sugar,  and salt.  Mix until well blended.  Add egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix until blended.  Now add your whole wheat pastry flour, almond meal, and cocoa powder. Mix.  Your dough will be like a "drier" cookie dough but shorter (meaning a bit oilier than typical cookie dough).

On your work surface, sprinkle some whole wheat pastry flour.  Then turn about 1/2 of your dough onto your work surface and roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick.  Using  knife or pizza cutter, cut your dough into squares.  Once your dough is cut, transfer your squares onto the lined cookie sheets.  Repeat with the second half of your dough.  (Note, your crackers will neither spread much nor rise during the cooking process so you can place them close together.)  Bake in your preheated oven for 7-8 minutes or until your crackers begin to brown around the edges.  Remove from oven and transfer your crackers to a cooking rack.  They will firm up and harden as they cool.  Enjoy!

Option:  Animal Crackers
If you'd like to make animal shaped crackers, first divide your dough into two equal pieces.  Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool (minimum of 1 hour).  When ready to make crackers, take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll out to 1/4 inch thick.  Using animal shaped cookie cutters, cut out your animal crackers.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

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