The Lean Green Bean

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Homemade Graham Crackers

You're all familiar with these, correct?

I love them. Especially because they are used to make s'mores. While I was flipping through my Martha Stewart cookies book, I came across a recipe for homemade graham crackers and I knew immediately that I wanted to try them. I didn't really like the fact that they called for two whole sticks of butter though, so I did some online searching and settled on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

The whole experience was quite an adventure and quite frankly, a pain in the butt. The end product tastes good, but I'd rather invest my energy in something more cooperative so I don't think I'll be making these again.

But I still wanted to share the recipe with all of you, so here we go!

What you need:

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons  unbleached all-purpose flour (I used 2 c AP flour and 1/2 c whole wheat)
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed (I used light brown sugar)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen (I didn't freeze mine)
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey
5 tablespoons milk (i used skim)
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Topping (optional)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar (I just sprinkled a little on top and didn't measure...not nearly 3 Tbsp though)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (skipped this)

Here's what you do:
Make the dough: Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. (My food processor is not working so I did it the old fashion way)

 In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky. (I added about 3 more Tbsp of milk and it still didn't stick together that well)

 Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. (My dough was very crumbly and didn't stick together well at all, especially when I lifted it up to take it to the freezer)

 Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. (I waited about an hour)

Roll out the crackers: Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. (The dough was super sticky and stuck to my rolling pin so I had to use my hands. And I just eyeballed the size, didn't measure. I used this tool to cut around the edges. Then I scored them and used a fork for the holes)

Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll. (I skipped this step and just put them straight in the oven. I found that the dough only really rolled if I warmed it up with my hands first. I also sprinkled them with a little sugar)

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. (Mine took about 20 min. Since the dough was so sticky, it was hard to get all of the crackers even thickness so some got a little crispier than others. Some also didn't break nicely, just like real graham crackers)

Since the dough didn't stick together well, some looked like this:

 But for the most part they turned out well:

Give them a try if you're up for a challenge...but I'm sticking with store bought!

Well done, Honeymaid!



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