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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Graham Mom's Day

Ok, I admit I love graham crackers or at least I used to love them. I mean, who doesn't? Honey and cinnamon mixed in a crunchy wafer-like shell. I say "used to" because the more I looked at the ingredients, the less I was convinced that my graham crackers actually contained any of the things I loved about it: Cinnamon - nope; honey - nope; sweet brown sugar - nope..... Anyway, it's been my quest to make my own graham crackers and recently I did just that.

How did I make them? Well I will tell you, but before I do, a brief history lesson on graham flour thanks to our friends at about.com. Graham flour was created by "Sylvester Graham... in 1829. Graham was a Presbyterian minister and avid vegetarian, who promoted the use of unsifted and coarsely ground wheat flour for its high fiber content. The flour was nicknamed "graham flour" after Minister Graham, the main ingredient in Graham Crackers."

There's a little more to Sylvester as he was a pretty interesting character who had quite a following and influenced the likes of J.H. Kellogg and John D. Rockefeller. If you want to read more about him check out the link. 

Now with our history lesson done, on to the recipe. I had to adapt several recipes I found online because some were overly complicated and very few of them actually used graham flour. Why some recipes did not call for graham flour is a mystery - not sure how you call a graham cracker a graham cracker without graham flour - but hey, to each his own.  I used the Barry Farm Graham Flour sold by Bazaar Spices, brown sugar, butter (a lot of it), honey, a little bit of sea salt, and Korintje cinnamon. Overall the preparation was about 15 minutes. It would have been shorter had I been able to find the ingredients in my spice cabinet! I let the dough chill for two hours, give or take, for the first batch and about 24 hours for the second batch.

The taste was FANTASTIC: slightly crunchy, cinnamon-ny, light. It took me back. Once you try this recipe you will never, and I mean never, go back to those bland tasting box graham crackers again.   I think this may be my new go to recipe when I am craving a little snack. There are some variations of the recipe that I have seen such as using milk and eggs which the next time I make I may try, just to see how that alters the flavor and texture.

I am so glad I finally had the chance to make my own graham crackers. Once you give it a go you'll be glad you had the chance to make them as well.

Graham Crackers
Hands on time 15 min plus another 15 minutes after dough has chilled to cut and place into oven

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2  cups graham flour
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or other quality salt kosher is fine)
1 1/2  tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
2 tablespoons honey - or little more wouldn't hurt!

Gather your dry ingredients and stir in a bowl until mixed well, then add the wet ingredients. Blend gently until consistently mixed throughout.

Form the dough into a ball and wrap in wax or parchment paper and roll the dough until about 1/8 to 1/4 inch in thickness.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or so. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, take the dough out of the refrigerator and let sit for a few minutes to soften. Then cut into squares and put on an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes and that's it!

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