The night before we left for Nashville, just as I was throwing clothes into my suitcase and packing up a bag of snacks that included carrot sticks, blueberries, strawberries and granola (I know, right? party animal that I am), I got a hankering for graham crackers and then, when I clicked over to Twitter just to check in for a second, there was a link to a new post at Roost for, what else, exactly that.
I enjoy that kind of serendipity in life. It’s like when Becky and I went to Margot Saturday night after being told on the phone there were no openings and then, wouldn’t you know it, someone canceled and we got seated in 10 minutes. Or like a year ago when my car kept putting out smoke and smelling like burnt metal but finally the mechanics saw it was the catalytic converter! all along!, just weeks before my warranty expired, which paid for the entire replacement.
You have to embrace these things, these providences, so that’s what I did last Thursday. I pulled out all the ingredients, plugged in my food processor and set to work. Who knew the process is so crazy simple: mix ingredients to form a dough, roll out dough and cut out crackers, freeze for a quick 15 minutes and then bake. That’s it. Literally, I pulled these together while also baking bread (also for that hot bag of snacks) and playing online and reminding myself of toiletries to pack, so there’s no way you can’t make these, too.
As far as taste, these graham crackers are definitely distinct from the store-bought kind, with hints of molasses and honey lending a richer flavor throughout and a slightly crisper texture that crunches when you bite in and is almost chewy inside. This version calls for more whole wheat than unbleached all-purpose flour, which I liked, but I’ve also seen those proportions swapped, if you’d like.
The only real caution I’d add is to make sure you roll out the dough to at least a quarter inch thickness. Anything thinner (say, if you’re thinking you’ll get more crackers! how clever? no), you’ll end up with some burned and some too crispy to enjoy. Not good.
Oh and also, if you want your graham crackers to be prettier, follow CoCo’s lead from Roost, and use a pastry cutter with fluted edges, adding dusts of sugar to the top so everything sparkles; but if, like me, you’re leaving town the next morning and just want something fast and tasty to hold in your lap while you drive through fog and across state lines, this, even with its dusts of leftover flour, is simply perfect.
Homemade Graham Crackers
Adapted from Roost
Ideally, you’re going to want a food processor to mix the dough up (it’s SO easy that way), but according to the original recipe, you could also use a mixing bowl (stand mixer, hand mixer, a big spoon), and I’d imagine a blender is another possibility.
On that note, if you didn’t click over there already, CoCo’s version of these are so! so! pretty! and you should check them out, and be inspired.
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder (preferably the non-aluminum kind, but I won’t judge)
1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter cut into cubes
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling (I used organic cane sugar)
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In your food processor, pulse whole-wheat flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder together until mixed. Add the butter and pulse until the dough is the consistency of coarse crumbs (or cut in the butter). Add the honey, molasses and sugar, and combine. Then add the milk and vanilla, bringing it all together into a stiff dough (if it’s more crumbly than dough-like, add a splash of milk; if it’s too wet, add a little flour).
Lightly oil, butter or cover with Silpat mats two baking sheets. On a floured work surface, cut the dough in half, and shape the first half into a rectangle. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a bigger rectangle. If the dough sticks to the counter, keep sprinkling it with flour until it no longer sticks. The dough should be 1/4-inch thick (no less, trust me!), and around 12 by 13 inches.
Using a knife (or a fluted pastry cutter for cute wavy edges, if you’d like), trim the edges of the dough rectangle to yield neat crackers (or leave them uneven, your call). Cut into approximately 3-inch squares. Lightly prick the dough with the tines of the forks, so it looks like little graham crackers. Using a spatula, carefully transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheets (if they’ll fit in the freezer) or another surface that you can easily stick in the freezer for a few minutes. Repeat the process with the second half of the dough and remaining scraps.
Freeze the crackers for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the chilled dough for 18 to 20 minutes, until just a little bit browned at the edges. Cool completely and enjoy!