Monday, October 29, 2012

Lunch Box Chronicles Day One-Hundred Sixty-Nine (Of storms, neighbors, and sweet things to eat). Guest Blog from Courtney Young.

This is a Guest Blogpost from one of my favorite NYC finds: Courtney Young - professional dancer, wonderful mother, accomplished baker, loyal neighbor, and one hell of a Spelt Right bagel demo-er!

"The hurricane is coming to New York City.  The subway is stopped, shops are shuttered and city slickers are staying sheltered.  I love this kind of day.  Normally life is rush here, hurry there, off to work, time for school. .  . A day like today when the city is literally shut down allows me to stay in my apartment, enjoy my family at a relaxed pace and accomplish some of the to-do’s I have at home.  The list of course is quite long - everything from design, create and install curtains in our bedroom to painting a kitchen wall with chalkboard paint so that the kids and I have a spot for daily inspiration, to baking graham crackers in autumnal shapes.  

Today, I don’t have the supplies I need for curtains or painting so the graham crackers win.  I’ve wanted to make them since I was at a girl’s weekend over the summer with my sister and friends in Minnesota.  One of the woman, Stacy May, casually mentioned that she makes her children graham crackers.  I must admit, I figuratively rolled my eyes as she handed me a copy of the recipe.  Who has time to make graham crackers?  The thought never once occurred to me.  Aren’t the store bought ones perfectly acceptable?  Then the competitive New Yorker in me kicked in and I figured if Stacy May in Minnesota could do it then Courtney Young in New York could do it better.  I would certainly be a superior mother if I could navigate the confusing world of the city pre-k admissions process AND make homemade graham crackers.  I had to improve upon them though. 

Lucky for me, several months earlier, Beth George, owner and creator of Spelt Right Baking, moved into my neighborhood.   Since then I’ve been enjoying her breads, bagels and pizza dough and have suspected that my family’s health is better off for them.  As of late, I’ve even been assisting Beth at demos at Whole Foods and telling customers about the benefits of the Spelt Right Baking Co. My zeal for this ancient grain has been growing.  Spelt Graham Crackers it is! 

So at 9:30am on hurricane day with Blythe (age 15 months) in the Ergo Carrier on my back and William (age 3) as my very enthusiastic helper we took the graham cracker to the next level.  The process is incredibly easy. William loved operating the big Kitchen Aid mixer and cutting out the pumpkin, turkey and leaf shapes.  Blythe was delighted to sample the dough. All of us including daddy, Scott, enjoyed eating them.  Beth and her family even gave them an enthusiastic Spelt Right approved thumbs up.  Her only suggestion was to add two tablespoons of molasses next time in order to keep them moist.  Great advice.  I’ll try it."

Here is the recipe. . .

2½ Cups Organic Spelt Flour
½ Cup Dark Organic Brown Sugar
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ Cup Butter, chilled and cubed
¼ Cup Honey
¼ Cup Water

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.    In a food processor or mixer combine the first 6 ingredients.
3.    Add cubed and chilled butter and pulse/mix until it resembles coarse meal.
4.    Add honey and water and continue to mix until it all combines.
5.    Remove and shape dough into a flat disk and place between two pieces of parchment paper.
6.    Roll dough out until ¼ inch thick.  Cut into crackers or shapes.
7.    Place cookies on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes (less time for smaller shapes).
8.    Cool and serve

Beth’s daughter Olivia suggested we make homemade marshmallows, melt chocolate and make S’mores.  Great idea.  Might have to save that for the next hurricane though. 

PS:  Thank you William for the modeling!!


  1. And, the coolest thing is you can eat the raw dough because there are no raw eggs in the recipe!