29 June 2011

homemade graham crackers.

baby n. eats everything in sight. he loves to eat anything you are eating, and will try almost anything new. one of my good friends in dallas recently introduced him to graham crackers, and he hasn't looked back since. cort and i will watch in amazement as he inhales one almost completely whole. i thought it was pretty cute, so i picked up a box of honey maids to keep him entertained. it took me a day or two to glance at the ingredient list, but once i did, i wasn't too pleased. lots of extra oils and sugars! something i haven't wanted to introduce into baby's diet anytime soon. so, with the help of the internet, i found a recipe to make some graham crackers, all on my own.

this is not a recipe i'd usually tackle. it takes time, waiting and waiting, rolling out the dough, rolling, rolling, and rolling it out again (for which i enlisted the husbands help). i much prefer things that are quick and easy, but for my son, i will do almost anything and i decided to give it a shot. it actually turned out to be a lot of fun - i loved decorating the crackers, and though they didn't look that pretty this time...i figure they will improve with each batch. even better? the smell of cinnamon lingered in the house for hours. and the result? baby n. gobbled them up in record time.

homemade graham crackers
adapted from smitten kitchen
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour (although i used whole wheat flour and they turned out great)
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher or sea salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild flavored honey
5 tbsp milk - full fat is best
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

topping (optional)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

make the dough: combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade or an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (used the bosch!). pulse or mix on low to incorporate. add the butter and pulse on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. in a small bowl, whisk the honey, milk and vanilla. add to the flour mixture, and mix on low until the dough barely comes together - it will be very soft and sticky. lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, and dust in lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1" thick. wrap it, then chill it until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight. meanwhile, prepare the topping - mix ingredients together and set aside.

roll out the crackers: divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. sift an even layer of flour onto a 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 about 4" inches wide. working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2" to make 4 crackers. this makes the traditional graham cracker shape. {note: i didn't even bother with all of this - i just rolled out the dough and cut the crackers the way i wanted, which is why they look awful...i'm such a rebel}. place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle with the topping. chill until firm, about 30-45 minutes. repeat with the second batch of dough. finally, gather any scrapes of dough together into a ball, chill until firm and re-roll. whew...are you still with me?

decorate the crackers (for traditional graham cracker-look): mark a vertical line down the center of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough. use a toothpick or skewer (i used the blunt end of the skewer), prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2" for each side of the dividing line.

adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower rack positions and preheat the oven to 350.

bake for 15-25 minutes (big range depending on oven!! mine were closer done closer to 15 min), until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.

this was a big undertaking for me, and i can't guarantee that i will always be making homemade graham crackers...because let's be honest...sometimes convenience wins. but, this recipe is always nice to keep in my back pocket for overly-ambitious days.

enjoy! xo.


Ellie said...

I feel the same way. They are pretty much as bad as all of the other kids snacks out there. I have a box on reserve that we use for special occasions (like trying to keep her quiet at church). I've looked up recipes before but they always seem to hard to me. I think I'll give it a try though. They look so yummy.

Bethany said...

Hi Laura,

Love your blog! Little Noah looks adorable. I hope you three are well.

We also LOVE homemade graham crackers. I have an old family recipe that's super easy - thought you might like it!

Graham Crackers

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 cup butter
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 TB molasses
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dries and wets separately, then combine. (I use a stand mixer for the wets and cream butter and sugar first, add molasses and vanilla, then add water last. It gets a weird consistency but blends fine when you add in the dries) Let sit for 30 mins. Roll out thin and score into cracker size. Bake at 325 for 20 mins.

The best part: the dough has no eggs so is edible for little kids! Our 3 year old likes to "help" me make these and ends up eating as much dough as he can cram into his little mouth. :)


Bethany Anderson

Jamie said...

Hi Laura..have you heard of weelicious.com...i think you'd love it. Thanks for being so darling, a great mom and sharing!!Love your blog!