Monday, February 18, 2013

Graham crackers

Is it s'more season yet? As I look outside at the cold, rainy, windy weather, I have my answer. This winter is just going on and on and on. The teaser days of 40 and 50 degree weather didn't really help matters. Now my toddler wants to go outside when it is 25 degrees without a hat on, because we did it last week. Sorry kid! Maybe if I start doing some preparations for bonfire season, it will magically appear. If it doesn't. I will be ready when it comes.

Graham crackers are in a league of their own. They are primarily sweet, not salty. They are good plain, in desserts such as cheesecake, or for spreading with cream cheese and jam. Or one of those trendy cookie dough or brownie dips I have been seeing. So, they are worth having around and worth trying to make homemade.

I started with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I looked at several recipes and they are all pretty different, so I started here and made my own tweeks.I didn't want to use a whole cup of brown sugar. So I used more like 2/3 of a cup. I also used more whole wheat flour - about half of the total flour amount. As far as crackers go, these were pretty simple. I started with blending the dry ingredients.

I then added the 7 tablespoons of cold butter and pulsed it in.

It'll go in much easier if it is cut up

I then added the honey, followed by the milk. I expected the dough would come together in a ball like the other recipes I have tried. Well, it didn't. This is kin of blurry, but you get the idea of what I was looking at.

So I decided instead of trying to add more and more milk, which most recipes don't even include, I would turn it out onto the table and work it with my hands. This worked pretty well and I was able to get a nice disc out of it. Then I had to refrigerate it. I hate it when I have to refrigerate things! With sugar cookies, I generally don't even do it. With these, however, since every recipe I looked at mentioned how crucial it is to refrigerate  I obeyed.

I didn't get to the rest until the next day. The dough was really tough, so I let it sit out for a while before messing with it. Then I rolled it out, took a pizza cutter to it, put the squares (and rectangles) on my baking sheet lined with a silpad, and put them in my 350 degree oven.  Since I didn't really follow the instructions very well, I just decided to start baking them for 10 minutes and see how they looked.

They ended up baking for about 12 minutes. When I took them out they still looked soft. Darn, I thought I had failed again! However, after waiting just a few minutes, they crisped right up and I put them aside to cool. I was surprised at how crunchy they were! AND delicious. Slightly sweet with a hearty texture. Gavyn had a little bit of a hard time taking a bite at first, but once he got a taste he came back for more and more. Now I just have to make homemade marshmallows and chocolate and we can have our s'mores! Maybe I'll get that done by bonfire season.

Here is my edited recipe:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup plus 2 T unbleached white flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
7 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 T mild-flavored honey, such as clover
3 T whole milk

As a note: I always use salted butter. In my opinion, a little extra salt always makes things better. You can use unsalted though :). 

Combine dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in butter until there aren't any chunks left. Drizzle in the honey followed by the milk. Turn out onto a flat surface and knead a bit until it all comes together. Wrap it and refrigerate it at least 2 hours. Take it out and let it sit at room temperature for half and hour. Roll out the dough decently thin, and cut into squares or shapes. Pole with a fork for ventilation and move to a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a sil-pad. Bake for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees or until they look set and slightly brown. COOL the suckers before trying them!

1 comment:

  1. I am pinning this and making these. We dip graham crackers in applesauce, yogurt, peanut butter-EVERYTHING! My own version will make me feel SO much better!