October 11, 2012
How do you choose recipes to make? Because of the gorgeous photo that makes your mouth water? Because it is new and different? Or maybe it is familiar, similar to something else that you enjoy? I am probably motivated by all of these reasons. I am often drawn to new recipes when they provide a chance to make something in my own kitchen that I've only ever seen on a supermarket shelf perfectly shaped, wrapped, boxed and sealed. I don't bring a lot of these boxes home since I'm not that interested in factory made foods. Creating a version of a classic at home? I have to try it!
This is what piqued my interest in making graham crackers. I like to eat them but I can certainly live without them. They are one of those foods that seem to appear on earth in their perfect perforated rectangles which meant that I had to eventually try making them myself. I used a recipe from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce which uses teff and whole wheat flour. I wasn't sure what to expect from the homemade version but the grahams turned out to be a bit sweet, lightly spiced and resulted in the familiar crunch (and occasional shower of crumbs) that a bite of graham cracker should.
When I was racking my brains for possible things to say about graham crackers, I remembered that I used to eat them as an occasional after school snack. My sister and I would each take a stack of cinnamon grahams and set the bowl of my mom's homemade chocolate sauce that was usually chilling in the fridge on the table between us. The graham crackers might have been a way to legitimize eating the equivalent of chocolate ganache straight from the bowl, but it was quite a nice treat. If plain graham crackers are too dull, try them with a spread of chocolate, a toasted marshmallow, or both.
Adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
I enjoy using and experimenting with different flours, such as teff in this recipe. My co-op sells a variety of flours, as does Bob's Red Mill. If you can't find or don't want to use teff flour, substitute whole wheat flour. This recipe does require some time for the dough to chill so you will need to plan ahead a little bit. Also, I didn't use enough of the cinnamon sugar on my graham crackers and wished I had sprinkled them more liberally so keep that in mind.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup teff flour
3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 ounces butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon unsulphered molasses
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sift together the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and spices. In a separate bowl whisk together the butter, honey, molasses and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together to form a soft dough. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap with parchment or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 350'. Line two baking sheets with parchment (or butter them). Cut the dough in half and dust your work surface with flour. Roll out half the dough with a rolling pin until it is 1/8 of an inch thick, flipping or moving it often to make sure it doesn't stick. If the dough is too thick the graham crackers won't be crisp. When the dough is rolled out use a knife or pastry cutter to cut it into uniform shapes. Place each cut graham cracker on a baking sheet. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Using a fork, press holes into each cookie. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle the graham crackers generously. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the graham crackers are darker then the middle. Cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Makes about 16 small rectangular graham crackers.