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I’m pretty sure that Sylvester Graham was a weird dude. Imagine someone telling you that you need to bathe daily when, to get enough water for a bath, you had to first hand-pump the water from the well, schlep the water in to the house by the bucketful and finally heat it up enough to be able to stand it. Not only that, but he wanted people to eat whole-grain bread; I mean really! I would have dismissed him as crazy, a lunatic, absolutely batty.
Or maybe the Reverend Graham, Presbyterian, was just a man born before his time (1794-1851). Vegetarian, clean and regular he might have been, but he was eccentric for his day and age. Still, he managed to amass quite a following; enough so that his crackers are now commonplace fare for toddlers, pie-makers and girl scouts everywhere. However, I am sure that Rev. Graham would be appalled at what passes for graham crackers today. His breads and crackers contained only specially ground whole wheat flour, probably little sugar, and no chemical leveners (baking soda and baking powder). Today’s store-bought cracker ingredients read like the good reverend’s no-no list; white flour, calcium carbonate, malto dextrin, and high fructose corn syrup (if it were around in his day I’m fairly sure he would have been against it).
I don’t think my version of graham cracker would necessarily get the Reverend Graham stamp of approval, but they are better than the store brand. I do use chemical leveners and enough sugar to entice a youngster, but not as sweet as the pasty bear-shaped graham cracker snacks that are found in most grocery stores. These taste better, are better for you and make far better s’mores. Enjoy.
Graham Crackers – click here for a printable version of this recipe
makes approx 30 – 3X2” crackers
1 1/2 cups graham flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, cut in 1/4” inch pieces
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
In the bowl of a large food processor, combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
Pulse to combine then sprinkle butter pieces over the top of the flour mixture. Pulse several times until butter is in small pieces and mixture resembles wet sand.
In a small bowl, combine milk, molasses, honey and vanilla. Pour over flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Empty dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until the dough is even and smooth. Divide into two discs, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take dough out of refrigerator. If the dough has been chilling for more than an hour let it warm up for about ten minutes before rolling out. Roll dough directly on silicone baking sheet or parchment paper to about 1/8” inch thickness.
You can cut and move pieces of the dough until you have a nice rectangular shape. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough to 3×2 inch rectangles.
Prick the top of the crackers with a fork.
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes until the edges are slightly darker in color than the middle. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from the pan. If crackers are not crunchy when cool, return to oven for another minute or two. Store covered for up to a week.