Monday, August 27, 2012

Graham Crackers

Graham Crackers
After announcing I had made some s'mores desserts (yes...with an "s") last week, I felt I couldn't be too mean and hold out on you for long. Obviously, this is not a s'mores recipe. But it is a base component! In the effort to make as much from scratch, un-processed, etc. I decided to use homemade graham crackers for the base of the dessert that I will be sharing Wednesday. But then I still had a lot left over. So I used them for the crust for the pie. Then I still had a lot left over. So I used them for the crust of another s'mores related dessert that I will also, eventually, share. I even had enough graham crackers to snack on after all that! 

Suffice it to say, these were put to use.

I'd been wanting to make homemade graham crackers for awhile. And I've seen recipes for them posted everywhere, and they all seemed to vary a great deal. But, when I saw Annie's Eats post sharing these, I knew they had to be good. She swore up and down that these tasted just like the real thing, PLUS I had pretty much all the ingredients on hand. It was really a good situation. About a week after finding the recipe, I made them. And was shocked by 3 things.
  1. How ridiculously easy these are.
  2. How good they smell.
  3. They forreals taste like graham crackers (a bit softer in texture, but who cares? And honestly..that could totally be my fault from doing something wrong, like not rolling them out thin enough perhaps.)
Oh yeah, and how many crackers this recipe made. It really does give you a good amount. They store great, too. Oddly enough, I almost found that with time they tasted more and more like normal graham crackers. I don't know if it was just because I'd gotten used to how these tasted or if the actual lack of freshness contributed. It doesn't really matter.

I seriously believe you NEED to make these. Make them for your kids (if you have them). Make them for s'mores. Make them for smearing with peanut butter. Make them into a graham cracker crust. Use them for whatever graham cracker needs you have because, trust me, YOU WILL NEVER BUY GRAHAM CRACKERS AGAIN.

I know I won't.*

*(probably)


Graham Crackers


Graham Crackers
Makes about 4 dozen 2 in. squares.
(Note: weighing the ingredients with a kitchen scale yields the best results.)
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp. (300g) all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup (75g) whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (176g) brown sugar, lightly packed (light or dark, or a combination)
  • 1 tsp. (6g) baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. (4g) kosher salt
  • 7 tbsp. (3.5 oz or 100g) unsalted butter, cubed and frozen 20-30 minutes.
  • 1/3 cup (114g) mild honey
  • 5 tbsp. (77g) milk, preferably whole
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
Preparation:
Graham Crackers
  • Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper/silpat.
  • Combine flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a food processor.
  • Add cubed butter and pulse until they are pea-sized and the mixture resembles course crumbs (you can also use a stand mixer, pastry cutter, or 2 knives if you don't have a food processor to cut the butter in).
  • In a measuring cup whisk honey, milk, and vanilla together. Add to the dry ingredients.
  • Process until a sticky dough comes together.
  • Form the dough into a disc and cover it with plastic wrap.
  • Chill dough for at least 2 hours, until firm.
  • Generously flour a work surface. Flour dough and roll out to about 1/8" thick. Re-flour as needed.
  • Using a cookie cutter, pastry cutter, or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into your desired shape. Re-roll and re-chill as needed.
  • Transfer cut dough onto prepared pan(s) and space 1-2" apart.
  • Chill cut outs until firm (30-45 minutes in refrigerator or 15-20 minutes in freezer).
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Using the blunt end of a wooden skewer, or a fork, you can poke a dotted pattern into the top of the chilled cut outs, if desired.
  • Bake until evenly browned and just crisp, 10-17 minutes.
  • Cool on the pan briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling.
  • Store in an airtight container.
  • Use for s'mores, crusts, other recipes, or just eat them as is!
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