Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Toddler Treats

Everyone knows that when you're pregnant what you eat matters. Every bite should count to make sure you're getting the proper nutrition your baby needs, and that you're not feeding your growing baby nasty, toxic stuff. Even after they're born babies aren't fully finished developing and need special food developed just for their tender digestive systems that augments their brain development and builds their immune systems (it's called breastmilk, in case you were wondering).

So why is it that after they start eating solids, common wisdom says to load up their little bodies with.....umm..... how can I phrase this delicately?.....poop? Ok, that wasn't that delicate, but you get my drift. If you look at the "toddler foods" section in a grocery store and start reading labels, it's appalling. It becomes something of a game to see if you can find anything that doesn't have High Fructose Corn Syrup. Or hydrogenated fats. Really? This is what we're supposed to feed that precious miracle that took so long to grow?

Fortunately, a baker, like a three year old, can "do it myself!" So as the first in an ongoing effort to "redo" classic kids foods, preparing for when my granddaughter comes over to Gramma's for a snack, here's my take on graham crackers. They have whole grain nutrition and taste great! Perfect food for my little sweetie to suck on, gum up, crumble on the carpet, feed to the hamster, and fill up the cracks of her carseat with.

If the sugar amount is too much for you, you can play with that. But because sugar is considered a liquid in baking, be aware that reducing the sugar will affect the texture and consistency of your crackers. To add a little more kid appeal to them, I used my zoo animal cutters, but the dough was kind of sticky for that. Next time, I'll just roll them out and cut them in squares like the ones at the store.

Gramma's Graham Crackers
- adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

1 cup (4 oz) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (2 oz) whole barley flour
1/2 cup (2 oz) graham flour
1/4 cup (1-7/8 oz) packed light or dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup (2 oz) milk
2 Tbsp honey
Cinnamon-sugar (optional)

1- Combine flours, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl or bowl of a food processor. Cut or process the chilled butter into the dry ingredients until very crumbly.

2- Add the milk and honey and combine until you have a stiff dough - you may need to add a bit more or less milk.

3- Knead the dough lightly till it's smooth, cut it into 2 pieces and flatten each into a rectangle. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 1 hour, or overnight.

4- Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5- Working with one piece of dough at a time, turn it out onto a floured surface and roll it to 1/16th-inch thickness. The thinner you roll it, the crisper the cracker. If you prefer, you can roll your dough out directly onto the parchment paper, to save the step of transferring.

6- When you're done rolling, trim the edges so you have a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Set the scraps from both pieces aside and roll them for a third rectangle.

7- Cut the dough into 3-inch squares, then cut each square in half. Prick the crackers several times with a fork and place the crackers on the prepared baking sheet. If you rolled onto the parchment paper, this step is done. If you like, sprinkle the crackers with the optional cinnamon-sugar.

8- Bake the crackers until they're lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. They'll brown more quickly if they have cinnamon-sugar on top. Remove the crackers from the oven, transfer to a rack, and let cool completely before serving.


Colleen said...

These are adorable and sound yummy too! I know you said the dough was a bit sticky for the animal cookie cutters, but I was curious...where did you find those animal shaped cutters? They're so cute! Thanks!

Mindy said...

Yea! Great gramma cookie recipe. I must say, we don't look and act like traditional grammas though, do we? Except you bake and I don't, you must be more grammaey than me.

But, this one I will try. Thanks!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Colleen - I got the cutters from Williams Sonoma. I don't think they carry them anymore, but you might be able to find them on ebay.

Mindy- You might not look or act like a gramma, but you love like a gramma, and that's where it counts.

Elle said...

It truly is amazing how we mistraeat children once they are old enough to eat 'people' food instead of breastmilk. When my kids were at that stage we had a food grinder, which was sort of like a tiny cheese grater, and we used it to grind up cooked veggies and some fruits to baby food consistency.Now you could do it with a food processor and a tea strainer. Cookies, of course, are something else, and yours look wonderful! Now if you can create a teething biscuit you will be all set!

Elpi said...

so cute. .elephant cookies is a good treat for kids. Very creative
happy healh pad

Kaytee said...

This is perfect! My nephew's birthday is coming up and he doesn't need any more toys/clothes. I will bake him these instead!

Peabody said...

I'm jealous of those cookie cutters.

Melinda said...

Grandma Cookie, you're the best! Those are so adorable.

grace said...

my grandma just gave me candy, but i was okay with that. :)
i love animal crackers to this day--i like to decapitate each animal one by one. is that morbid? i promise i'm not a nut job. :)

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie said...

I have three adorable grandkids and they are so loaded up with sugar. Their parents try to keep them away from the most obvious sugar like ice cream or donuts - unless it's a special occasion. But anyone who eats the nationally manufactured brands of foods - toddlers to seniors - is getting a boatload of sugar. Do you know that ketchup is 25 percent sugar. It's amazing.

Barbara said...

Those "animal" crackers are adorable! How did you ever keep the legs on?? Cute and healthy idea.