Ingredient SpotLight

I'll admit it. I keep graham crackers in the house for two reasons. First, I have them to make s'mores in front of the fireplace. Second, to spread frosting or peanut butter over them as a quick sugar fix! But these fun crackers are for more than s'mores.

Graham crackers were named for the 19th century champion of wholemeal wheat (graham) flour and vegetarianism in general, Sylvester Graham. Graham crackers are whole wheat crackers sweetened with honey or molasses and were invented by Graham in 1829. But what we really think of when they are mentioned are the yummy desserts that can be made with them! Here are two of my favorites!

Blueberry Lavender Cranberry Crisp

  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender flowers
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups crushed oatmeal graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the blueberries, cranberries, lavender flowers, and sugar. Mix well and pour into an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.

Combine the crushed crackers, brown sugar, melted butter, and sliced almonds. Crumble over the top of the filling.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly. Cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Key Lime Cheesecake

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons grated lime rind
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled
  • Whipped cream for garnish (optional)
  • Lime slices for garnish (optional)

To prepare the crust, stir the crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium-size bowl. Press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

To prepare the filling, combine the lime juice and water in a small saucepan; sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes to soften. Stir the sugar, eggs and lime rind into the pan. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until almost boiling, about 7 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F.; do not boil. Remove from the heat.

Beat the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until well mixed, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the lime mixture until well blended. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to mound slightly when dropped from a spoon, about 45 minutes.

Beat the chilled cream in a small chilled bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into the lime mixture. Pour into a prepared crust. Cover; refrigerate until firm, 3 to 4 hours.

Run a thin knife around inside of the pan to the loosen sides; remove the sides of the pan. Garnish with whipped cream and lime slices if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Note: For authentic Key lime flavor, use Key limes, which are more aromatic and citrusy than the commonly available, larger Persian limes.

  • Yields: 16 servings
  • Preparation Time: about 6 hours