It’s a week from Thanksgiving and I am super excited! I love, love, LOVE the holiday season. All of it. I love the decorations, the camaraderie and spirit, the cozy evenings, and, of course, the food and drink! For me, Thanksgiving is all about food and family, whereas Christmas is all about the gift giving…I’m one of those people that relishes in finding the perfect gift. I L-O-V-E it…but we’ll talk about that later. Let’s talk Thanksgiving now.
This Thanksgiving is a totally different scenario for Sean and I. It’s the first year that we aren’t going to be with our families back in Nevada. We’re feeling lucky and excited though, because my brothers-in-law and father-in-law are all traveling out to Michigan to spend the holiday with us! I usually don’t do a lot of cooking during the major holidays, especially with my family, since there are always plenty of people to take over those duties and there are a lot of favorites dishes that are the territories of moms/aunts/grandmas. This year, though, I’m doing all of the menu planning and cooking! Yee! I’m going to employ Sean to be my kitchen helper and I’m sure at least one of his three brothers will help too.
There’s turkey and hard cider gravy, mushroom stuffed pork loin, dried cherry and sausage dressing, shaved brussel sprouts with walnuts, caramelized green beans, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, scalloped corn, and homemade cranberry jelly, on the menu. Also, lots of bread-y things like pumpkin-cheddar muffins and copious amounts of dinner rolls, as well as a coconut-banana cream pie AND a cheesecake. The menu is way more than enough to feed 6 people with huge appetites, but I don’t think Thanksgiving is even worth the effort unless there are piles of leftovers…I’m all about crazy, Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches!
I made these graham crackers in anticipation of next week, because I need crumbs for cheesecake crust. Duh. I certainly could have purchased graham crackers, like I usually do, but I’m excited for this crazy, homemade Thanksgiving, so I made my own. I get a little overzealous that way. These grahams are great. Like, really, really, really great. They don’t contain graham flour, which is odd, but they taste like the real deal. Only better. They have undertones of honey and dark brown sugar, a snappy crunch, and wholesome nuttiness from a little whole wheat. I left them unadorned of a cinnamon-sugar topping, since I just plan on grinding them up for crust anyway, but if I were making them to snack on and spread with pb or frosting, I would definitely sprinkle away.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving? I’m curious to know, are you cooking or contributing a dish? And, what is it?! Are you leaving the cooking to someone else and just eating? If so, what’s your favorite dish?
Homemade Graham Crackers
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
So, I totally didn’t have the 1/3 cup of honey for these grahams, I only had about 3 tablespoons. To make up for it, I used a combination of maple syrup and honey. These things happen, it all worked out.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, whole wheat flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed lightly
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons butter, cubed and frozen
1/3 cup mild honey (or a combination of honey and maple syrup)
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
In either a food processor fitted with a steel blade or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attatchement, combine flours, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, pulse or mix to combine. Add cubed butter and pulse or mix on low until you get a coarse meal.
In a measuring cup stir together honey, whole milk, and vanilla. Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture and pulse or mix until just combined. The dough will be quite sticky. Wrap the dough loosely in plastic and pat into a 1 inch rectangle. Wrap well and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
Working with half of the dough at a time (keep the other half refrigerated), roll out dough, using flour as needed, into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into crackers, either with a knife, pastry wheel, or cookie cutters. Re-roll scraps once for more crackers. Place grahams on parchment lined baking sheets, about 1 inch apart, and chill until firm. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 15-20 minutes until crackers just barely yield to the touch and are dark brown, but not burnt, in color. Remove from the oven, cool slightly on the cookie sheet, and remove to cool completely on a cooling rack. The crackers will crisp as they cool. Store in an airtight container.