Buttery Graham Crackers

April 17th, 2014  |  5 Comments

graham_crackers_final

I don’t have nostalgic feeling towards graham crackers. They’re good and all, especially when called on to settle queasiness after giving blood. My friend loves to eat them with a cup of tea or as a midnight snack.

That’s all well and good, and if that’s where your graham crackers begin and end, then you’re in for an easy recipe here that is very, very tasty.  These have a deep, soulful flavor from the honey, cinnamon and molasses. And the butter really comes through, making these seem more like a cookie than a cracker.

I, on the other hand, love my graham crackers for crusts. All pastry chefs have a nagging sensation that everything needs to be made from scratch, whether truly necessary or not. We like to bake our own pumpkin to get puree for pumpkin pies, rather than used canned. We like to make our own puff pastry. Even Braveheart makes her own sprinkles.

This is one of those techniques that mimics a pie dough, where you mix together the dry things, incorporate the butter, and then add the wet things. But unlike pie dough, you can’t make a mistake here, because we’re not worried about keeping anything cold.

So, I guess the cat’s out of the bag — I’m soon going to post another recipe where I pulverize these into dust for my crust-making pleasures, where nothing but graham crackers will do. While we wait for that, we’ll eat the edges, like graham cracker thieves in the night.

If you prefer a gluten-free graham cracker, I did make one a while back for Nainamo bars, and coincidentally, also to be used for crust.

Some tools that I used for this recipe include aluminum sheet pans, and I much prefer the uncoated because they don’t require delicate care. As long as I use parchment paper, they are just as non-stick. I also like to have a pastry brush on hand to deal with the excess flour.

 

Buttery Graham Crackers

I purposely didn’t use any sort of mixer here, so anyone can stir their way through this using good old-fashioned manual labor, but if you have one, by all means, make your life easier.

Recipe makes about 30 crackers, depending, of course, on how big you want to cut them.

1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups (250 g) whole wheat flour

1/2 cup (110 g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda

1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt

1/4 teaspoon(2 g)  cinnamon

1 1/2 sticks (170 g) unsalted butter, which must be softened to room temperature for easy incorporation, and diced into little chunks

1/4 cup (75 g) honey

3 tablespoons (60 g) molasses

1/3 cup (100 g) milk

1 teaspoon (6 g) vanilla extract

 

 1. Les ingredients for our crackers de graham.

graham_crackers_ingredients

 

2. All the dry ingredients go into a large bowl.

graham_crackers_pour

 

This means the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

graham_crackers_pour_dry

 

 Stir it all up.

graham_crackers_stir_dry

 

Cut in the butter by mushing it around in the bowl.

graham_crackers_butter

 

This is as much incorporation as I could get.

graham_crackers_butter_in

 

The honey, molasses and vanilla go into the milk. Give it all a good stir to make a nice, dark sludge.

graham_crackers_LIQUIDS

 

 

 Pour that over the buttered dry ingredients.

graham_crackers_add_liquid

 

And work that spatula through until the dough is free of butter lumps. At this point, the dough will be quite soft, thanks to all the softened butter and liquids we just added, and it will need to firm up in the refrigerator before it can be workable enough to roll. I’d say at least 2 hours.

graham_crackers_mixed

 

It’s a couple of hours later. Now’s a good time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. I grab a hunk of dough, and roll it out directly on a piece of lightly floured piece of parchment so it won’t stick to the table. Ideally, a piece that will fit the sheet pan you plan to bake in.

graham_crackers_roll

 

I sprinkle on more flour as necessary, so the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin, using as little as I can get away with. I don’t want to work too much excess flour into the dough.

graham_crackers_rolling

 

Because we have leaveners in the dough, the cracker will rise a bit in the oven, therefore, I want to roll this thin. This is still a little too thick.

graham_crackers_thick

 

This is better.

graham_crackers_rolled

 

I like to brush all the excess flour off.

graham_crackers_brush

You can slide this onto a sheet pan, parchment and all, and bake uncut for about 30 minutes. You can also use a cookie cutter first if you prefer, and re-roll the dough.

The cracker is still quite pliable right out of the oven but will set and crisp up as it cools. When it first comes out, I take the opportunity to cut the shapes I want. You can also use a fork and poke some decorative holes in the tops. Let these cool completely, and store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about a week.

graham_crackers_cut

 

Or wait till midnight and snack.

graham_crackers

Buttery Graham Crackers

I purposely didn’t use any sort of mixer here, so anyone can stir their way through this using good old-fashioned manual labor, but if you have one, by all means, make your life easier.

Recipe makes about 30 crackers, depending, of course, on how big you want to cut them.

1/2 cup (70 g) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups (250 g) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (110 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (4 g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (4 g) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (4 g) salt
1/4 teaspoon(2 g)  cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks (170 g) unsalted butter, which must be softened to room temperature for easy incorporation, and diced into little chunks
1/4 cup (75 g) honey
3 tablespoons (60 g) molasses
1/3 cup (100 g) milk
1 teaspoon (6 g) vanilla extract

1. Stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

2. Cut the softened butter in until it starts to look like a shaggy, coarse meal.

3. Mix together the liquid ingredients — honey, molasses, milk and vanilla extract, then pour over the flour mix. Stir this all together until it’s smooth and you don’t see any visible butter chunks.

4. The dough will be quite soft and will need to be chilled before it can be rolled, at least 2 hours.

5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. After a couple of chilling hours have gone by, I grab a hunk of dough, and roll it out directly on a piece of lightly floured piece of parchment so it won’t stick to the table. Ideally, a piece that will fit the sheet pan you plan to bake in. It should be quite thin, about 1/8″.

I sprinkle on more flour as necessary, so the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin, using as little as I can get away with. I don’t want to work too much excess flour into the dough.

6. Brush off the excess flour.

7. Slide this onto a sheet pan, parchment and all, and bake uncut for about 30 minutes. You can also use a cookie cutter first if you prefer, and re-roll the dough.

The cracker is still quite pliable right out of the oven but will set and crisp up as it cools. When it first comes out, I take the opportunity to cut the shapes I want. You can also use a fork and poke some decorative holes in the tops. Let these cool completely, and store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for about a week.






5 Responses to “Buttery Graham Crackers”

  1. pastryguy says:

    Tried this recipe this weekend, really great graham crackers. If you have never had a home made one, try it. You’ll never buy them from a store again!

  2. PastryPal says:

    Hey PastryGuy — That’s one helluva recommendation! :)

  3. Jenna says:

    Honey question!

    Can I use raw honey? Is it too thick? Could I use it if I heated it?

    Ok, that was three questions. But seriously, I have a huge jar of this stuff I need to use.

  4. PastryPal says:

    Jenna,
    You can use raw honey. It should dissolve among all the other liquids, and I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to give it a 30-second zap in the microwave, just to loosen it up.

  5. Jenna says:

    Yum! Thank you, I’m getting right on it!!

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