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Two flavors that are so prominent in my childhood memories are Honey Maid graham crackers and Skippy peanut butter. Put a smear of creamy peanut butter on a crunchy graham cracker, and I'm instantly transported back to our kitchen and many after school snacks. Fortunately, both graham crackers and peanut butter are also great crafting and baking materials, so I've got a couple of fun family holiday ideas for you using Skippy peanut butter and Honey Maid graham crackers.
Up first, these Peanut Butter S'more Pops I made. It's a peanut butter-flavored marshmallow that's dipped in chocolate and then rolled in graham cracker crumbs. This is one of those things where the sum of its parts is more delicious than the individual parts on their own.
I love making marshmallows at home, because they're one of those things that impress people, even though they're actually super easy to make… one caveat though… they're only super easy if you have a stand mixer. I can't imagine making them without my trusty Kitchen Aid, and I don't even know how marshmallows got invented without the stand mixer because OMG 15 minutes on high speed is a long time! Fif. Teen. Minutes.
- 3 packets plain gelatin
- 1 cup Ice Water
- 1½ cups White Sugar
- 1 cup Corn Syrup (Light)
- Generous Pinch of Salt
- 1 t. Vanilla Extract
- ¼ cup Creamy Skippy Peanut Butter
- ¼ cup Powdered Sugar
- ¼ cup Corn Starch
- Lollipop Sticks
- 1 bag Chocolate Candy Melts
- 1 package Honey Maid Graham Crackers, crushed into crumbs
- Put ½ cup of ice water and gelatin packets in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir just a little to combine, then set it aside.
- In small saucepan, put other ½ cup of water, corn syrup, sugar, and salt.
- Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and put candy thermometer on edge of pan.
- Keep sugar mix at a simmer until it reaches of 235° F. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.
- Once it reaches 235°, remove from heat.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the sugar mixture into the bowl. (I recommend transfering from saucepan to something with a pour spout)
- Once all of the sugar is poured into the mixer, turn up to medium/high and let it go.
- Continue whipping for 15 minutes, add the vanilla and peanut butter in the last couple of minutes.
- While the mixture is whipping away, prepare your pan for the next step:
- Mix the powdered sugar and corn starch and use it to powder the 9″x13″ pan after you spray it with non-stick spray.
- Tap out the excess, but set it aside for later.
- Spray a rubber spatula with non-stick spray and use that to get the batter from the bowl into the prepared pan.
- When all mix is in pan, spread corn starch/sugar mix on top.
- Allow marshmallows to set until cool.
- When cool, turn marshmallow out onto cutting board.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out marshmallow shapes.
- Put marshmallows on sticks, dip in candy melts.
- Working quickly, roll pop in graham cracker crumbs.
- Allow to set.
Graham Cracker Houses
While I was in the kitchen mixing and melting and dipping, I wanted to give Max the opportunity to do something I loved doing as a kid, and to decorate a “gingerbread” house made of Honey Maid graham crackers. I built the house for him, so he could focus on decorating. I built the house itself using a traditional royal icing recipe, but then I made a peanut butter buttercream for him to use to adhere the decorations… it's tastier for him, because he ate as much as he used, and I liked that it matched the color of the graham crackers better, so he could get a nice look without being quite so precise with the icing.
After I piled our entire kitchen table with all of the leftover Halloween candy, various sweet snack items, and a ridiculous number of sprinkles options, I learned that Max is a minimalist when it comes to holiday cookie house decorating, and he used about 5 things total. Of course.
A couple of house-building tips… Use a serrated bread knife to cut crackers if you need them; I just let the weight of the knife itself press down; I didn't actually add any pressure to it to cut. Just gently saw through the crackers and they'll break off clean.
I also reinforced the walls using extra lollipop sticks I had from the S'more Pops. It helped hold the two vertical crackers together, and acted as an additional level of support for the roof.
After I saw Max's minimalist house, I couldn't resist the urge to make one for myself too… I used one of my peanut butter marshmallows cut in a tree shape for decor in front of my house as well, and I used a little food coloring in the peanut butter icing for the “grass” in front… the roof is candy melts, and the windows on the house are Oreo Thins, and the walkway in front is peanut butter with some sugar sprinkled on top
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