graham crackers

June 10th, 2009

The other day as I was browsing through smitten kitchen I saw a recipe for graham crackers they looked so tasty. Graham crackers were always a favorite snacks as a kid but one of those things that I would have never thought to make. I couldn’t get that recipe and the thought of grahamy goodness out of my head, so I set out to make them this weekend.

The recipe takes part in stages, so these are good to make on a lazy day or in between running errands. The first part starts with a little mixing in the food processor. Once the dough comes together, just wrap it up and pop it in the fridge for a few hours.

After the dough was thoroughly chilled, I rolled it out on a well-floured surface. I dug in my way-too-full utensil drawer and found a ravioli cutter that hasn’t been used in about 4 years, but this seemed like the perfect time to test it out again. I cut as many little squares as I could and then used some wooden skewers to add little decorative dots to them. Then, back in the fridge they went.

Finally, after they’re last chilling, I sprinkled a little cinnamon sugar over top and popped them in the oven.

Pretty soon the apartment started to fill with the sweet graham crackery smell of opening a box of Honey Maid. Only this time when I popped one in my mouth it was warm and fresh and full of flavor. They were a little denser and chewier than the boxed kind, but the flavor was deep and honey hued. They’re perfect on their own, but I keep thinking they would be awesome with a little ricotta and honey.

graham crackers
from smitten kitchen

Makes 10 4 x 4.5-inch graham crackers or 48 2-inch squares

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (a swap of 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour works well here, too)
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract

Topping (optional)
3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) ground cinnamon

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. [Alternately, if you don't have a food processor or electric mixer, you can cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender. Just make sure they're very well incorporated.]
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.
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. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using, by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.

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. [This makes a traditional graham cracker shape. I rebelled and made mine into 2-inch fluted squares.]
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.

Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.

Decorate the crackers:
Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough (again, this is for the traditional cracker shape).
Using a toothpick or skewer (I like to use the blunt end of a wooden skewer for more dramatic dots), prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.

Bake the crackers:
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the tough, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. [The baking time range is long because the original recipe calls for 25 minutes but my new oven -- which I suspect runs crazy hot but have yet to confirm with the actual purchase of an oven thermometer -- had them done in way less. Be safe, check them sooner. Nobody likes a burnt cracker!]

Comments: 12 Total

  1. Dana

    June 10, 2009 at 9:33 am

    I love graham crackers but have never made my own. After seeing them here and on Smitten Kitchen, I think it’s time. My older son’s name is Graham and he loves that there is a cookie named after him!

  2. kate

    June 10, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Oh YUM! I never thought about the possibility to make your own! And now I really want to go buy some graham crackers right now…

  3. helen

    June 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve been eyeing the same recipe. Yours look wonderful!

  4. Whitney

    June 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I wish I had a big stack of these right now. With some cold milk.

  5. madilyn

    June 10, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    You mention that the crackers are denser than you want. Have you thought about adding baking powder to the recipe for more loft, working the dough by hand rather than the food processor to lessen the gluten development and increasing the oven temp to cause the internal water to vaporize during the initial exposure to heat and help leaven the cracker? the thick honey may contribute to the lower volume. In the food industry, a powdered honey product is often used instead of the syrup.

  6. Memoria

    June 10, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Your graham crackers came out beautifully! I love how you shaped them with the ravioli cutter.

  7. madilyn

    June 10, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    the gals at Cupcake Project made graham crackers from a slightly different recipe and seemed very happy with the crackers. she made her grandmother’s recipe, used her hands and less honey.

  8. Kelly

    June 11, 2009 at 6:28 am

    thanks for the info.

  9. Erica from Cooking for Seven

    June 11, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I saw those over at smitten kitchen as well. They look so tasty.

    Can you believe that I don’t own a ravioli cutter? What a shame. They make such cute little crackers. The last time I made graham crackers, I cut them into circles. It makes for a more unique shape.

    Wonderful, bright photos, btw.

  10. links london

    April 6, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Wonderful, bright photos, btw.

  11. piles

    May 12, 2011 at 5:57 am

    could it possibly be seriously that straightforward?

    I believe for a person knowledgeable that can be the situation

    whereas I don’t know that everyone can think that way

  12. Darren Clore

    September 13, 2011 at 1:08 am

    Nice blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your design. Appreciate it

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