S’more Brownies: meat-free (thank goodness!), not dairy or wheat free. Time: About an hour. Difficulty: Medium. Recipe at bottom.
OK, time for the institution of a promised institution: kitchen disaster corner. This is a regular feature about how even in the best of kitchens, disasters happen. Let’s laugh at them and share our war stories, but not let them scare us away from cooking. : )
This week’s Frazer kitchen disaster came at the hands of a box of Graham Crackers. Some really old Graham crackers. Now, I’m pretty cheap. That’s a big reason I cook at home, and a big reason I started this blog. I like to economize and want to spread the gospel. But there is, as I’ve found on multiple occasions, a cheapness line you probably shouldn’t cross. I crossed that line last week.
I’d decided to make a delicious S’more brownie recipe my sister lifted from the Food Network and praised to high heaven. Perfect! I thought. I have an old box of Graham crackers lurking in my cupboards that’s been waiting for a use for . . . well . . . a long time.
I’d purchased them for a camping trip in years past, but just how many years ago I couldn’t say. You see, for those of you who are Easterners and confused by the survival in non-mush/molded form of graham crackers over the course of several years, you must realize this: In the Rockies, we suffer from horrible dry skin in winter, but our crackers, cookies, chips and cereal stays crisp forever. I mean forever. Those Graham crackers were as crisp as the day the package was opened.
I neglected to realize one thing: though the crackers will keep in Colorado forever, their oils won’t. I ground them in a food processor only to discover they smelled. . . well, a bit off. I have a big thing about noticing when oils and whole grains (which also have oil in them) have gone rancid, and it dawned on me that Graham crackers might fall in this category as well.
Oh well, I thought, maybe the funk will bake out. I should have known better. Once, when I lived in the Boston suburb of Roslindale, I made a dessert using flour that my roommate must have purchased sometime during the Reagan administration. It produced baked goods with the flavor of wallpaper paste. Not cool.
The S'more brownies before I browned the marshmallows.
After their quality time with my broiler. If you try this at home, watch the brownies like a hawk . They will go fast!
Still, the miser in me persisted in insisting the finished product would be fine. It was not. It tasted, well, off. Fishy. I ended up having to scrape the Graham cracker crust off to make the brownies palatable. And believe me, they still were.
But I relearned an old lesson: Don’t cut corners if it means compromising on taste and quality. I could have easily afforded the extra $3 for a fresh box of store brand graham crackers or graham cracker crumbs. The final product’s value would still have far exceeded the expense and cost far less than the equivalent purchased product. But I didn’t.
Coloradans and Wyomingites — Don’t be fooled by our climate! Taste or smell your grain and oil products before you use them. Crispiness isn’t enough.
OK, open mike time. Who else has had a kitchen disaster lately. Care to share? : )
Oh, and in case you’d like to make these brownies with fresh graham crackers, here you go. You’ll want to make them for a crowd; they’re super rich.
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