Friday, January 21, 2011

[Cookie 096] Homemade Graham Crackers

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A few weeks ago I went to the Mojave Desert with my parents, just to get my dose of the wild west before I had to go back to the tame east. It was insanely beautiful, as usual, with its vast expanses of beautiful muted colors and variations of textures everywhere. I really love the landscape in California--it really has everything, from mountains to oceans to deserts to woods. And it's all pretty spectacular. This was no exception!

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Since we had to spend the night out there, we decided to car camp. Definitely felt luxurious compared to backpacking, since we got to bring as much snacks and frivolities as we wanted. So that, of course, included marshmallows to roast over the fire. However, we had no graham crackers, and no chocolate, so no s'mores. Sad! Should have made these Homemade Graham Crackers before we went on the trip!

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I've been waiting to try out this recipe for quite some time now. I love store bought graham crackers anyways, so the thought of making my own and knowing exactly what was going into them really appealed to me. They have both whole wheat flour as well as wheat germ, which makes for a hearty, wheaty flavor with a nice crunch to it. Perfect!

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For the honey, I used some of this super expensive stuff my mom picked up on a whim at the farmer's market (did I get that right, Mom?). Anyways, it's the kind that has an almost waxy texture, not clear and runny at all. You scoop it with a spoon and it even has granules of honey comb inside it. The flavor is much more complex than your regular old honey bear squirt tube kind that you buy at the supermarket, and this flavor really added to the cookie. I would recommend splurging on a fancy honey with a nice flavor (have you heard of Caramelized Honey? Got some from this guy--amazing!), because it really does make a difference.

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The recipe itself is pretty much your standard cookie-cutter recipe, except you divide the dough with a fluted device (which I didn't have--used a knife, not as purdy); but you could totally use cookie cutters if you want! But if you're looking for that traditional 4 rectangle graham cracker that you can split in half, follow the directions. And make sure to bake them fully, or else they won't be crisp and crackery. What could be worse than a slightly soft graham cracker? Well, a lot of things, but don't mess with something that's so classic!

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So, obviously the next logical step, after letting your graham crackers cool, is to make s'mores. I don't know about you guys, but I've always been a little irritated with the whole Hershey's bar thing. I know s'mores are supposed to be messy, but it's just impossible to bit into one and get an adequate amount of chocolate per bite. So, my dad had the brilliant idea to melt some chocolate chips and spread them on the graham crackers. Seems really obvious, but it's so much better! I'd try Nutella next time...

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Now get to makin' these so you can whip up some s'mores for the cold cold weekend ahead!

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Homemade Graham Crackers
Makes 20

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup untoasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons high-quality honey

  • Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flours, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Put butter, brown sugar, and honey into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
  • Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and divide into quarters. Roll out each piece between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper into rectangles a bit larger than 9 by 6 inches, about 1/8 inch thick.
  • Using a fluted pastry wheel, trip the outermost edges or each rectangle, and divide into three 6 by 3-inch rectangles. Pressing lightly, so as not to cut all the way through, score each piece in half lengthwise and crosswise, to form four 3 by 1 1/2-inch crackers. Stack parchment and dough on a baking sheet and chill in freezer until firm, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove two sheets of dough from freezer. Pierce crackers using the tines of a fork. Transfer to large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake, rotating halfway through, until dark golden brown, 8 to 9 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes; transfer crackers to wire racks to cool completely.

  • ****
    {End Results}
    Baking Difficultly: 2/5
    Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
    Tastiness: 4.5/5
    Attractiveness: 3.5/5
    Is it worth it?: Yes! A must try...

    {Pairings}
    Drink: Have you heard of this Marshmallow Milkshake? I'm a bit wary...
    Song: Ecstasy -- jj
    Activity: Camping, duh! Or making s'mores by the stove, if you're lazy.

    7 comments:

    Barbara E said...

    Hey there! Yes I think I got the honey at the farmer's market --- to be honest, I don't remember -- might have picked it up at Figueroa Produce Market in LA.

    Just wanted to say that no one should ever have a single digit in the weather forecast... 6? what's that all about?

    robin said...

    Yum! These look good...and they are healthier than the preservative rich kind at the store.
    I've always wanted to do smores with chocolate and peanut butter. It just seems like the perfect combination.

    Kotryna said...

    ohh finally i will taste those famous graham crackers! (where is no graham crackers in stores) and finally i will be able to make that crust for the pies :)
    but..there is no whole wheat flour too.but i'm gonna to try it with whole-rye flour.
    and yesss crystallized honey is the best! i always use white hard honey (it's less sweet) and dislike fresh and runny one (except with cucumbers:))

    thank you :)

    Sara said...

    Yum, I LOVE homemade graham crackers...so much better than the storebought. Those smores look amazing. :)

    Anonymous said...

    gimme s'more blog posts. amma right? amma right?

    ((guess who))

    kotryna said...

    loved the honey flavor.
    only wonder if they are really similar to store-bought? i've tried two crackers already (the other one is Heidi's from 101 cookbooks) and they are quite different especially in fat content.

    BlondeBomber said...

    Great idea to make homemade graham crackers! It's usually the simple things that taste divine when made by one's self. I used to go to this place in NY that served S'mores as a dessert - on of the best places to eat in New York - and it was so much fun. Thanks for sharing.