Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust

This past weekend it was a friend’s birthday and I wanted to make a lemon cream tart, but she can’t have gluten, so that had me hunting for a recipe to make gluten-free graham cracker crust.

The solution? Animal crackers.

It ended up being one of the best-tasting graham cracker crusts I’ve ever made, and I like that you won’t have any leftover graham crackers hanging around in your kitchen if you use these cookies.

Yield

1 9″ crust + a bit extra for 3-4 small 4″ diameter cups/glasses

Ingredients

  • — 2 cups of graham cracker cookie crumbs = 2 whole bags of gluten-free graham flavored animal crackers (6.0 oz per bag) — I got these from Whole Foods but they are also sold at Walmart
  • — 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • — 1/3 cup sugar, + more to taste
  • — 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions

Finely crush the graham cracker cookies in a food processor until it looks like sand and there are no more large cookie pieces. Add the sugar and salt, pour in the melted butter, and use a pastry cutter or your hands to mix the crumbs until they’re evenly moist. Taste a few crumbs, add more sugar if you like a sweeter crust.

Press crumbs firmly into a pie tin along bottom and sides. If you’re not sure how thick the crust is, just pick a spot and press your finger into it until it breaks, then reform as necessary.

Don’t worry about cracking your crust, as long as the butter is still melted and warm, you can always patch it up again. Breaking up graham cracker crumbs is not the same as ripping or overworking a thin pie dough, so hooray!

Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

I filled mine with lemon curd that you can make the night (or a few days) before, mascarpone, whipped cream, and blackberries.

Notes

If you want to make only one 9″ pie crust, cut the ingredients down to this:

  • — 1 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • — 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • — 1/4 c. sugar, + more to taste
  • — 1/4 tsp salt, + more to taste

Crispy Mushroom “Bacon”

Crispy mushroom bacon (also vegan!)

Who knew that crispy vegan bacon made from mushrooms could taste so good?

This recipe from Serious Eats looked so intriguing, I did a rough, half-assed trial batch leaving out the garlic powder because I didn’t have any, and skipping the last step of smoking the mushrooms because I didn’t have liquid smoke or a chunk of wood to burn, just so I could have some kind of baseline.

And sure enough, even though a significant portion of the recipe was basically done incorrectly, the result was still delicious.

Next time I would probably try to make 2 sheets full of mushrooms because — as a lot of commenters pointed out — it’s a lot of work for just a few nibbles.

I was incredibly lucky to have this monster king trumpet mushroom from my farmers’ market to work with, but if you can’t find anything this big, it just means you’ll have a few more flips to do.

king-trumpet-mushroom

Super easy granola!

granola-yogurt-bowl

6 parts dry, 1 part wet. Followed Epicurious’ granola instructions and used the following for dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup chopped raw pecans
  • 1 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s “Golden Berry Blend” (golden raisins, cherries, cranberries, blueberries)

Wet ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

Extra, to taste:

  • Splash of vanilla extract (1 Tablespoon if I had to estimate)
  • Sprinkle of salt (about 1 tsp. but I’m not totally sure)

Bake at 300°F, stirring every 15 minutes, for 45 minutes. I accidentally overcooked this batch (for an hour, instead of 45 minutes) so the sunflower seeds got extra toasty (since they’re so small) which I’m not sure I love, so I think next time I would wait 15 minutes before adding them. Make sure to seal it in an airtight container so it doesn’t get soggy!

homemade-granola

The most incredible breakfast sandwich at Hi*Rise in Denver, CO

Egg, cheese and bacon biscuit sandwich at Hi Rise in Denver, CO

 

The best bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit I’ve ever had in my life. I bought an extra biscuit to take back to San Francisco with me, and was given it for free (“all you want is just a biscuit?”) as if it was JUST a biscuit (are you kidding me?) that I ate with butter and jam for breakfast the morning after I arrived home and it was still incredible.

Someone send me some, I’ll design things and build websites for you in exchange :)

Hi*Rise in Denver, CO

Brown Butter Apple Loaf from the Kitchn

brown butter apple loaf

Over the weekend I made the Kitchn’s brown butter apple loaf twice. Served with tea and coffee, it was perfect for the cold and rainy weather we’ve been having here in SF.

The recipe is pretty solid, but I wrote some notes for the more ambiguous parts.

What size pan?

I used a loaf pan approximately 8″ x 4″ (at the bottom) and 2 1/2″ tall. My loaf pan measured 8 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ at the top.

How many apples?

The recipe lists three apples but doesn’t specify what size. Your apples should weigh about a pound after peeling and coring. It’s the same as using two large apples, or one large one and two small ones.

Whole wheat flour

The recipe calls for a mix of whole wheat and all purpose flour, but both times I used 100% apf and it tasted just fine.

Sour cream or crème fraîche

I used sour cream both times, and thought the loaf still tasted great. If you don’t have or can’t find crème fraîche at the store, Smitten Kitchen explains how you can make your own.

Browned butter

The first time, I didn’t brown the butter because I was impatient. I was in a hurry, so I only melted it until it was golden yellow and full of clear bubbles. The second time, I kept it on the burner a bit longer, and the butter started to become golden brown. Both apple loaves tasted delicious, but the one where I used properly browned butter had a slightly nuttier aroma. How to brown butter

Liquor

I used regular brandy instead of apple brandy. From other comments, it seems like you can substitute bourbon or boiled cider as well.

Baking time

Both times, I baked my loaf for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until it passed the toothpick test. It could have been because I substituted all purpose flour for whole wheat flour, though.