Homemade Graham Crackers

by brittany on October 2, 2012

It feels like my with-it-ness comes and goes in phases.  One week, I’ll plan and execute perfect meals with ease, pull off my Low-Commitment Project without a hitch, walk to work incident-free, and somehow avoid sticking my foot in my mouth.  Unfortunately, that week will be bookended by months of my typical behavior.

I’m currently wading through a clumsy (stubbed toes), disjointed (stopping at the grocery store every day because I can’t get my needs coordinated), food fail (loaf of bread that turned out crappy?  great, I’ll make it into a bread pudding and ruin another meal with it), say the wrong thing (oh wait, if that isn’t how I know you, then how do we know each other and what was your name again?) kind of phase.

There is an up-side.  Yesterday, I needed graham crackers to make a pie crust, but opened the box to find two sad, slightly stale sheets of cracker.  Since my day wasn’t full of pressing matters, and I was interested in putting off some chores, I decided to make my own graham crackers.

Guess what… I kind of like them.  Usually, I’m not terribly interested in cookies (and let’s be honest–that’s what graham crackers are) that don’t contain chocolate or caramel, but these are sneaky, pleasant little crunchy biscuits.  They’re rather good with a cup of tea.  The honey flavor comes through loud and clear, and the pinch of salt pulls them back from the brink of bland.  If this doesn’t sound like an absolutely glowing review, just know that I’m surprised that I really do like them and I think you will too.

Graham crackers aren’t something you should make last-minute.  The dough requires refrigeration, and there are a few steps, though they aren’t difficult.  I cut mine in zig-zag-edged circles.

I baked some batches on parchment and some on silpats, and both worked equally well.  I used a blunt toothpick end to make cute dots.

Graham Crackers  (lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Yield:  75 or so cookie-sized crackers

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons white whole wheat flour (you can use all-purpose, but I think the wheat works really well for these)

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and frozen for at least 1/2 hour

1/3 cup honey

5 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

In the bowl of your food processor, fitted with the standard steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Add the frozen butter and pulse to process into a coarse meal.

In a large measuring cup, whisk the honey, milk, and vanilla extract to combine.  Add the liquid to the ingredients in the food processor and pulse until it forms a sticky dough.  Scrape the dough out onto a large sheet of parchment paper, flatten it to 1″ thick, and fold the paper up and around the dough.  Refrigerate the dough for at least 1-1/2 hours.

Flour your work surface liberally.  Remove the dough from the fridge and cut it in half.  Return half the dough to the fridge, and roll the other half out on the floured surface to about 1/8″ thick.  Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.  Use cookie cutters to cut out whatever shape you like, or use a knife to cut traditional sheets of graham crackers.  Use a toothpick to add decorative holes in the crackers.  Transfer the crackers to parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheets, and freeze them for 15 minutes (or put them in the fridge for 30-40 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Remove the crackers from the freezer and bake them for 13-18 minutes, until they’re golden brown and slightly darker on the edges than in the center.  Set the baking sheets on wire racks to cool.

Repeat the process with the remaining dough.  Ball up the dough scraps and refrigerate them, then re-roll another sheet of crackers.

Note:  my crackers cooled very quickly, so I was able to remove them from their baking sheets and reuse them pretty expediently.

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