Finally the unofficial start to summer is upon us! This weekend obviously holds a lot of meaning: it’s the start of three full months of relaxation, sunshine and leisure after a lengthy winter and two months of rain. Bring it on. So the recipe that I post pre-Memorial Day weekend must have the same qualities as the actual weekend, of course. But why is it that I forget to take pictures of recipes I try when I’m in full-on summer-fun mode? Can’t blame me, I suppose.
I did make cannolis last week, which were delicious. Incredible, even. But far too labor intensive for the picnics and barbecues that will be occurring this weekend. (But not too labor intensive for the weekend after Memorial Day, so stay tuned). So, instead, I put a spin on the cannolis and created cannoli smores with homemade graham crackers! Yes, that’s a thing.
Think about how brilliant this is: homemade cinnamony graham crackers that are crunchier and more delightful than the store-bought version and represent summer in so many ways, but then are sandwiched with sweet sweet ricotta! You know how crazy I am about the ricotta. Delicious, incredible, and more importantly, relaxed and leisurely. They might even be filled with sunshine! They’re that good. Happy summer to you!
I’m giving a shortcut with the cannoli cream in this recipe (unlike the actual homemade cannoli recipe that will appear next week). But obviously, in a pinch, when, I don’t know, a cocktail is waiting for you on the porch in the 80 degree weather overlooking the beach, you can buy store-bought graham crackers too. I wouldn’t judge. Not this weekend, anyway.
Graham Crackers (adapted slightly from 101 Coobooks)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup honey
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a food processor, or blender, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low to combine. Add the butter and mix on low until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, mix together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and mix on low until the dough comes together. It will be soft and sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
Prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sprinkle an even layer of flour onto a clean counter and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Cut into squares of desired size. Gather the scraps together and re roll and repeat steps. Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the tough, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Let cool on a baking rack.
Cannoli Cream (recipe from Epicurious)
2 cups ricotta
3/4 cup powdered sugar
zest of 1 orange, or 2 tbsp. candied orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
In an electric mixer, blend together all ingredients except chocolate chips. Fold in chocolate chips and refrigerate.
To assemble: Spread 1-2 tablespoons of ricotta cream to one graham cracker. Sandwich with second graham cracker and dust with powdered sugar.
Photo Credit: Hannah Mellman, photos 1,4,5