Graham Cracker Hearts with Theo Chocolate's Honey Ganache

Can you feel the love in the air? For me, it's a little hard to pin down this year.

As is the norm with our life, everything is up in the air once again. My husband's company down-sized by 25%, leaving him to find a big job in a small town that is saturated with talent and bereft of opportunity. Put another way, we're probably moving again. But, we'll know more when we know more.

And so it goes.

Let's talk about Valentine's Day. Every year, I think chocolate. But lurking at the back of my mind lately has been this brown sugary heart cookie stuffed with ganache that I used to get at the now-shuttered Mani's Bakery. Is anyone from LA? Remember how au courant Mani's was when they opened a sugar-free bakery that had vegan options? You can get this stuff everywhere now, but not in the 90's. In the 90's it was Mani's or you had to boil down apple & white grape juices to make fruit syrup to attempt subbing that in for sugar in a recipe that rarely tasted right.

Back to the brown sugary heart. This was not a vegan option and the cookie itself tasted like a brown sugar shortbread, although rolled out very, very thin. They packed that sucker with ganache that really kind of knocked the wind out of me. Rich, dark, no-holds barred ganache filling against crisp, complex "sugar" cookie. I had to try to recreate this one.

It just so happens that this graham cracker recipe was basically handed to me brought to my attention through my copywriting job. We were covering a nutritionist's post about healthy Valentine's Day treats and this cookie recipe was one of them. "Healthy" cookies? I'll try anything, once.

The ganache comes from Fair Trade chocolate company Theo Chocolate. Based in Seattle and now authors of this book (thanks, Toya!), Joe Whinney and Debra Music are artists with chocolate and downright good people. Their ganache includes honey which paired absolutely perfectly with graham crackers and elevated this cookie to a whole new height.

The best part about this treat is that I did most of it with my five year old daughter. She loved rolling out the dough, whisking up chocolate and especially chowing down the results. My husband wolfed about 12 crackers in 2 minutes before realizing we were stuffing them with chocolate. Then, he had to eat at least 2 sandwich cookies, so, don't ask him if these felt healthier than regular desserts because I'd venture a guess that he felt kind of heavy after all this eating!

Spending time in the kitchen with the ones I love is the perfect elixir to what ails me. Anxiety disappears with the wafting scent of baking honey and steaming chocolate. Wherever we go, we'll be fortunate enough to have a kitchen. There's no place I'd rather be, especially with them.

Honey Graham Crackers
  • 1C graham flour
  • 1½C all purpose flour
  • ½C dark brown sugar
  • ½t salt
  • 1t cinnamon
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, chilled & cubed
  • ¼C honey
  • ¼C water
  • 1t vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a food processor combine the graham flour, all purpose flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Pulse 3-5 times. 
  3. Add butter to the mix and pulse 3-5 more times, until it resembles coarse meal.
  4. Add honey, water and vanilla and pulse until the dough comes together. (It may look wet or piece-y. Don't worry because it all comes together when you roll it out.)
  5. Remove and shape the dough into a flat disk and place between two pieces of wax or parchment paper.
  6. Roll dough out until ¼ inch thick. Cut into crackers or shapes. Repeat until all the dough is used.
  7. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 13-15 minutes.
  8. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Theo Chocolate's Honey Ganache
10 oz. Theo 85% dark chocolate, finely chopped
4½ T unsalted butter, diced
1C heavy cream
3T honey

1. Heat the cream and honey just to boiling. 
2. Pour over chocolate and begin whisking. 
3. Add the butter in about 8 additions until fully combined. 
4. Let ganache set by coming to room temp or by refrigerating, stirring every 30 minutes until fully set. 

Graham Cracker Ganache Sandwiches
Place three teaspoon-sized scoops of ganache on each heart and cover with another. Let set at least 30 seconds, if you can wait. Hehe.