Baking: June 2008 Archives

The first strawberries of summer finally arrived after a later than normal end to the Northwest gloom. What better way to celebrate than with the first strawberry shortcake of the season. The recipe here calls for heavy cream, but I substituted Silk soy creamer in keeping with my general avoidance of dairy. This is another recipe that's fun to do with kids because the steps are fairly simple and the payoff for your kid is dessert. Wyatt and I tackled the shortcake while Robin prepared the rest of dinner.

Strawberry Shortcake

Shortcake Recipe

3 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbl sugar
1 1/2 Tbl baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or 1 1/4 cups soy creamer)
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract


  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix dry ingredients with a fork.

  2. Cut the butter into the dry mix with a fork until there are only small pieces remaining (you can also use a food processor).

  3. Combine cream, egg yolk, vanilla, and almond, mixing until the egg yolk is beaten into the liquid.

  4. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and pour in the cream mixture.

  5. Mix your batter with a fork until the dough is evenly combined but still rough. Knead the whole mixture with your fork.

  6. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and let dough chill while oven comes to temperature.

  7. Place dough in 8-inch round baking pan, pushing it evenly out to the edges with a fork.

  8. Bake until the top is a medium golden brown, which should take approximately 20 minutes.

Allow shortcake to cool in pan and serve with strawberries and your favorite whipped topping.

When Robin told me she was making graham crackers for part of a Skillet Street Food dessert this week, I thought it sounded like a great project for Wyatt (our 6-year-old son) and I to tackle at home too. The ingredient list for graham crackers is fairly simple, the preparation steps are easy, and I don't know a kid that doesn't love graham crackers. The dough is even safe to eat raw since there are no raw eggs, which makes it even more fun. We didn't have any graham flour in the house, so the recipe below uses whole wheat flour in its place.

Wyatt's Homemade Graham Crackers

Homemade Graham Crackers Recipe

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick if you buy quarters)
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl honey
2 Tbl molasses
1/4 cup water

The recipe this draws on calls for adding the two flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to a food processor for mixing. Wyatt and I dumped them all in a bowl first and then in the food processor. You could also use a mixer with a paddle and get the same result.
Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the dry mixture in your food processor, mixing until it looks fairly coarse and there are no visible lumps of butter. This should take between 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add the honey, molasses, room temperature water, and vanilla. Mix until the dough becomes a big lump. This may take about 1 minute as well.
Take out a big cookie sheet with no sides and place a layer of parchment or waxed paper on it. Scrape the dough onto the parchment paper and place another piece of the paper on top. Roll the dough until it's about 1/8-inch thick.
Chill for 1 hour (longer is okay). I left the parchment paper on the cookie sheet for easy transportation. Wyatt and I played cards while we waited.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While oven heats, remove the top layer of parchment paper and cut the dough with a sharp knife into approximately 2 1/2-inch to 3-inch squares, which will yield about 20 graham crackers. We left the cuts together, which created crackers similar to the ones you get at the store that break apart at the seams. We ate the portions that were removed to square the edges.
Using a toothpick, poke holes in the top of each cracker (we did 9 per cracker).
Bake for 15 minutes until the edges are lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan.

Once the crackers are cooled, eat plain or top with Nutella or your favorite spreadable.

Finished Graham Crackers

Before baking:
Graham Crackers Ready for the Oven