Not Your Mama’s Graham Crackers
For as long as I can remember, I have loved graham crackers. I can still picture myself as a kindergartener fidgeting in my chair, hands clasped on my lap (trying to look angelic of course), waiting for snack time, a carton of milk and graham crackers. I was a dipper, I would break my cracker in half, dip it in my milk and quickly pop it into my mouth and feel it dissolve on my tongue.
The cookie of choice, Honey Maid Graham Crackers of course and not just in school, my mom always kept a box of graham crackers in our pantry. The perfect after school treat or bedtime snack.
One of my favorite farmer’s market stands is 2nd Story Bake Shop. I usually stop by for my favorite indulgence, their pie cookie. A delicious bite size treat of buttery crust filled with a seasonal fruit- fall apples, spring strawberries, summer peaches. On my last visit as I grabbed my pie bite their cookie jars came into view. One contained almond sticks and the other graham crackers. The graham crackers were slightly darker than golden brown, round not square, and with none of the characteristic markings. They looked rather unassuming. The vendor exclaimed it was her favorite cookie. Ok, I’ll try one. It was DELICIOUS-crispy, buttery with hints of cinnamon and honey. Wow, this was not your mama’s boxed graham cracker. Their recipe was inspired by one in The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco (Tom Colicchio’s pastry chef). Lucky for me I own a copy. No big surprise there.
Homemade graham crackers. I know, who would have thunk it that you can actually make graham crackers at home. Of course you won’t have that familiar blue box with the honey bee on it, but you won’t miss it after you try these.
Making these cookies is similar to shortbread cookies. I opted not to roll out the dough but to form a slice and bake log. Easy peasy. The dough is pretty soft, chilling makes it easier to form a log. I used clover honey which is very mild in flavor. I’m sure you can experiment with other honeys. I am waiting for my embossed rolling pin to arrive so I can roll and stamp the dough before baking, an idea I saw on food52. The cookies looked amazing.
I couldn’t resist turning some of these homemade graham crackers into the quintessential campfire treat, S’mores. I can almost hear all of you going hmmmm, I remember making S’mores! So keep this recipe in mind, and when summer rolls around travel back to your kid days, get out the marshmallows, Hershey’s Chocolate bars, whip up a batch of these grammies and enjoy!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- In a bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, dark brown sugar, granulated sugar, and honey. Mix on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. In two additions, add the dry ingredients, letting the first fully incorporate before you add the second.
- Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to 2 days. (The dough can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- Unwrap the chilled dough, and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Using a ruler and a pastry cutter or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-1/2-by-3-inch rectangles; use a spatula to transfer the rectangles to the prepared baking sheets as you go. Reroll the scraps of dough once, and cut out more cookies. Using a fork, pierce each rectangle with two rows of four to six marks.*
- Bake the graham crackers, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until they are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- The graham crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- *Or alternatively, shape dough into a log 3x3 square or 3 inch round, chill until dough is firm enough to cut. Slice 1/8 inch thick slices. Place on cookie sheet approximately 1 inch apart. Bake 11-12 minutes until golden brown. Optional" sprinkle with cinnamon sugar before baking.
- Makes approximately 30 cookies