Thursday, March 4, 2010

honey graham crackers

seriously, aren't they cute?

When I was in sixth grade, I joined the Girl Scouts at the great urging of my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Sledge who, by the way, was a cool, cool lady. Apparently, it was the thing to do in our class, as all the girls joined and I succumbed to peer pressure. Mrs. Sledge happened to be our troop leader – she spent years in the Girl Scouts, ever since she had her daughters, who were now all grown up, married, and with kids of their own.

graham cracker mise

As a newly-minted Russian immigrant, trying to fit into a new school and make friends, I took her words as gospel and promptly joined, though the Scouts reminded me of the Young Pioneers Organization in the USSR. Since then, I was generally mistrustful of all groups where you had to pledge membership, and though I wanted to conform and be accepted, conformity, at its center, scared me. I tried to sell this idea to my even more skeptical father. Girls Scouts, I explained, were supposed to unite young women and boost confidence and morale. To which my father’s response was, as usual, “Read more books.” But while he wasn’t a buyer, he certainly didn’t stand in my way – he too wanted me to make friends.

shaping the doughshaping the dough - easier wrapped in plastic
shaping the dough - easier wrapped in plastica nice little rectangle

At first Girl Scouts seemed to me a musical version of home-ec classes. We did nothing more than gather in the music room and sing songs and learn how to sew on buttons. Well, the other girls had to learn how to sew on button. This kind of stuff is passed to you by your Russian grandmother at a very young age. I could sew on a button at four and around eight, I tried to knit a sweater. Anyway, songs and sewing got old really fast for me, but I liked the camaraderie and wanted to befriend as many girls as I could, so I stuck around. Attrition wasn’t going to be looked upon kindly. Middle school was a tough place for a new kid with an accent, odd clothes and an affinity for beets and cabbage.

rulers and pastry wheels

And just as I was getting really bored with the whole girl power get-togethers, we went on a camping trip. A real, sleep-in-the-tent-and-make-food-over-a-fire-camping-trip. We hiked, made gorp, slept in sleeping bags, and brushed out teeth with baking soda and water. And we made s’mores.

ready for baking

S’mores might not seem like anything special to you, dear readers, but that maybe it’s because you grew up with them. S’mores came to me at the age of twelve, like a bat mitzvah rite of passage, only instead of a anxiety-filled Torah portion, s’mores conjured up glee and delight [apologies to all who read their Torah portion with glee and delight.] Everything about a s’more was new to me: the marshmallow: burnt, and gooey; the chocolate: melted and oozy; and the graham cracker: crumbly and honey-sweet.

stacked, show-offs!

Graham crackers and I fell into an instant and torrid love affair. One bite sealed the deal. I couldn’t get enough. The slight kick of cinnamon, the hint of honey, the restrained sweetness – they all spoke to me. I made my parents buy a box with every grocery run. For years, graham crackers were my go-to snack.

honey graham crackers

It would seem natural that I would have tried to make them at home, but it had never occurred to me, until Karen DeMasco’s book made its way to me, that graham crackers could be made at home. Yes, hello world, meet the slowest learner in the history of learning. That’d be me. I could have googled it or something, but sometimes the most obvious things aren’t so obvious? Having made them now, I can tell you that I will never, ever buy a box of honey graham crackers again. It just doesn’t compare. At all. Out of a box, they’re fine, but made at home, they’re just about heavenly. The dough comes together in a pinch and after some chilling and meticulous cutting (I blame my grandmother for all my kitchen OCD tendencies) – you have the cutest, tastiest graham crackers you could imagine. Buttery, laced with honey and cinnamon, it’s a decadent cookie on its own. But paired with some dark chocolate (think Scharffenberger!) and some homemade marshmallows (easier that you think!), your homemade s’more will reach a new sophistication.

it was, after all, valentine's day

Now, all I need to do is plan a camping trip and bring these along. Maybe I wait a few weeks until it warms up?

Honey Graham Crackers
Adapted from Karen DeMasco’s The Craft of Baking

Ingredients:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 whole-wheat flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 oz (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

Preparation:

1. Sift together, in a medium bowl, the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add salt to already sifted ingredients. (The reason for that is that salt, Empire Kosher, which is what DeMasco here uses throughout the book, gets stuck at the bottom of the sifter, leaving you with a salt-less dry ingredients mix.)

2. Combine the butter, both sugars and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the ingredients on medium speed until they are well-combined, about 1 minute before adding dry ingredients, in 2 additions, letting the first addition be fully incorporated before adding the second.

3. Over a piece of plastic wrap, dump the dough out of the mixing bowl and spread it out. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and shape the dough into rectangular shape. Lift the top piece of wrap off, use the bottom piece to cover your dough, the top piece to cover again and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes or up to 2 days. (You can also freeze the dough, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.)

4. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Unwrap the chilled dough, and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out into a thinner rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Using a ruler, and a pastry cutter, a sharp knife or a fluted pastry wheel, cut the dough into 1 1/2 x 3-inch rectangles. Use a spatula to gently transfer the cookie rectangles to the baking sheets as you go about cutting. Re-roll the scraps of dough once, and shape more cookies (I rerolled many a time, and it worked out fine!). Piece each rectangle with 2 rows of 4-6 marks, using a fork.

6. With the baking rack positioned in the middle, bake the crackers for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown, rotating the baking sheets half way for even baking. Let the crackers cool on a wire rack.

The graham crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. If using frozen dough, allow to come to “workable” temperature” by placing in the refrigerator overnight.

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57 Comments

  • 1
    Beth said:

    These look divine! I might go get the ingredients this afternoon :) Like you, I seem to have to relearn with each recipe how simple making my favorite foods from scratch really is. And while I *know* that the homemade variety will be more delicious, I seem to need reminding about that as well.

    Any idea on how well these store? I live alone and would love to have these on hand to grab a couple at will. Would it be better to flash-freeze the dough after cutting it out or could I make a whole batch, bake them, and then freeze them?

    March 4, 2010 10:23 am
  • 2
    Beth said:

    Oops! I entered my website wrong on the first comment I left!

    Thanks for sharing this great recipe :)

    March 4, 2010 10:24 am
  • 3
    Radish said:

    Beth – I think you can freeze the dough and then thaw in the fridge overnight OR bake and freeze. OR you can share them with friends, who will, without a doubt, deem you the best human being on the planet!

    March 4, 2010 10:32 am
  • 4
    maggie said:

    Glee and delight! Love it.

    I, too, have a soft spot for s’mores…I reallllllly wanted to have them at our wedding but they were nervous about the open bonfire issue. I was heartbroken.

    At the summer camp I worked at, there was a tradition of “gifting” s’mores—staff would make them, with great care, for each other at the huge campfire at the end of each session. Magic.

    March 4, 2010 10:32 am
  • 5
    pam said:

    Oh! Heaven! I love graham crackers, and for a while I was going to make them for my kids since they went through an addicted phase, but quite frankly, I’d rather save these for me. :)

    March 4, 2010 10:51 am
  • 6
    Cate said:

    I’ve only made graham crackers from scratch once, and it was so long ago I don’t even remember how they tasted. This post has me excited to make them again!

    March 4, 2010 10:57 am
  • 7

    Wait, no graham flour in the graham crackers?

    Graham crackers were always a favorite snack for me too as a kid, especially since in my junk-food-less house they were the closest thing to a cookie! I made some at the end of January as part of the Daring Bakers challenge- like you, never something I thought I’d make at home, but I’m glad to have tried it. I used a Martha Stewart recipe and it was good but way too rich and buttery, more like a shortbread cookie than something you could eat a small stack of. I reserved half the dough in the freezer to be used as a pie crust at some point.

    March 4, 2010 11:02 am
  • 8
    Radish said:

    Noelle – yeah, Karen calls for whole wheat flour and I just went along, but I thought the same also.

    March 4, 2010 11:04 am
  • 9

    oh YUM. i love smores so much, and always burn the heck out of the marshmallows. i am particularly enjoying this set of photos. cheers!

    March 4, 2010 11:10 am
  • 10
    Whitney said:

    S’mores are so delightful. I haven’t had one with a truly roasted over the fire marshmallow in YEARS. The microwave version just doesn’t cut it.

    March 4, 2010 11:41 am
  • 11
    Irene said:

    Yeah, I totally identify with the whole story. :) Smores were a complete revelation and I still make them in the oven!

    March 4, 2010 11:43 am
  • 12
    Nicole said:

    Loved the story and your homemade graham crackers! I’ve been wanting to try making some for a while…thanks for the inspiration!

    March 4, 2010 12:46 pm
  • 13
    barb said:

    Wow, look great! This &/or marshmallows is my favorite go to snack even now that I’m diabetic. I will try to make them & sub splenda & more wheat flour. Good recipe!

    March 4, 2010 12:47 pm
  • 14
    barb said:

    Wow, look great! This &/or marshmallows is my favorite go to snack even now that I’m diabetic. I will try to make them & sub splenda & more wheat flour. Good recipe!

    March 4, 2010 12:47 pm
  • 15
    Maria said:

    Homemade graham crackers are the best, so much better than the store bought. Yours look perfect!

    March 4, 2010 12:56 pm
  • 16

    These look delicious and I love how much memory plays a part in the mix! Thanks for the great story too!

    March 4, 2010 12:56 pm
  • 17
    kickpleat said:

    I’ve been wanting that cookbook for ages! I’ve never made graham crackers before and always thought they had some kind of wheat germ in them as well (aren’t they usually flecked with them?). Though I hate rolling out cookies, I think they’ll be worth the effort!

    March 4, 2010 1:21 pm
  • 18
    Radish said:

    Jeanette – yes, that’s where the Graham flour comes in, but DeMasco advises on whole wheat, so this was my “control” recipe. I will attempt a variation at a later date.

    March 4, 2010 1:25 pm
  • 19
    Liz said:

    A graham cracker recipe is very exciting! It’s not really a cookie you think to bake, I don’t know why. Maybe others do, but I never do. But now I want to!

    March 4, 2010 2:01 pm
  • 20

    I love how your graham crackers look…whimsical and illustrated.

    March 4, 2010 2:12 pm
  • 21
    lo said:

    *sigh* Homemade graham crackers are so much better than anything you can find in the store. I’m thinking these particular cookies are begging for some burnt marshmallow ice cream to be layered in between them.

    March 4, 2010 3:06 pm
  • 22
    Radish said:

    Lo – you had me at burnt marshmallow ice cream! Where does one get the magical recipe?

    March 4, 2010 3:11 pm
  • 23
    Phyl said:

    Beautiful! I love graham crackers, but it has never even dawned on me to make them from scratch. I am going to try this recipe as soon as I finish the last Bread Baker’s Apprentice recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    March 4, 2010 6:34 pm
  • 24

    Lovely story! I was in camp fire girls as a kid and distinctyly remember “gorp” – you made me instantly have a flashback moment. Smores have to be one of the best desserts and what great way to make them with homemade graham crackers. Have a great upcoming weekend!

    March 4, 2010 7:17 pm
  • 25

    I love Graham Crackers. Yours look so precious. I made some with Merlot Grapeseed Flour last week (on my blog). Graham Crackers aren’t the easiest thing to make, but they’re so worth the time!

    March 4, 2010 10:26 pm
  • 26

    [...] Honey graham crackers, from Sassy Radish. [...]

    March 5, 2010 6:52 am
  • 27

    [...] Recette: Honey Graham Crackers [...]

    March 5, 2010 4:20 pm
  • 28

    I have never made my own graham crackers – why?? I love graham crackers and yours look so wonderful! And I have been wanting to make homemade marshmallows anyway… could it get any better than a homemade s’more? Yum!!!

    March 5, 2010 7:54 pm
  • 29
    Elycooks said:

    OK, I’m a voice from the dark side. Graham crackers are one of the few things in life that I can’t eat – I have an instant gag reflex. No idea why. And what is the first thing a nurse, ER tech, mother or doctor offers when you have a queezy stomach? Sigh. Graham crackers.
    Yours look lovely. Perhaps I’ll tempt fate and give them a try!

    March 6, 2010 8:52 am
  • 30
    alice said:

    Beautiful. I’ve never made home made graham crackers but you’ve convinced me to try.

    March 6, 2010 1:08 pm
  • 31
    molly said:

    I heart those heart-shaped grahams.

    March 6, 2010 8:29 pm
  • 32
    Taz said:

    wow, these look delicious. S’mores aren’t really an Australian thing but these make me want them. I’ll definitely be making these!

    March 7, 2010 1:39 am
  • 33
    noki said:

    I adore graham crackers and have been looking for good version with no eggs. Excited to try this. But one quick question: Is it supposed to be 1/2 *cup* whole wheat flour?
    Thank you!!

    March 7, 2010 10:12 pm
  • 34

    I’ve never had a graham cracker before. Whenever a cheesecake base asks for those, I use shortbread instead. I should totally try these out, gluten free, and make a delicious cheeeesecake…and smores. :)

    March 8, 2010 7:14 am
  • 35

    [...] Adapted from Sassy Radish [...]

    March 8, 2010 8:12 am
  • 36
    Beth said:

    Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I made a batch yesterday and they turned out so well! I didn’t have cookie cutters or anything to make cool shapes so I went with round crackers that I could cut out with a glass. I love them!

    I plan to dip some of them in chocolate this week for a richer dessert, but I absolutely love how subtle the sweetness is in the original recipe.

    March 8, 2010 8:25 am
  • 37
    shayma said:

    how i would have adored to have had this recipe when i lived in rome. a cheesecake was never made in my home there as no graham crackers were available. i was also in girl scouts, and we made gorp, too. now it’s called trail mix, right?

    March 10, 2010 8:55 am
  • 38
    shayma said:

    ps beautiful photos.

    March 10, 2010 8:55 am
  • 39
    Radish said:

    Shayma – thanks and yes, now it’s trail mix, though “gorp” is such a nostalgic word.

    March 10, 2010 9:07 am
  • 40
    Val said:

    Yum. These look great. It’s always good to have a stash of cookies around.

    I’m not from the US so the whole girl-scout-cookie-thing is not something I’m familiar with but those cookies look great for dunking into a cup of tea!

    March 11, 2010 7:08 am
  • 41

    these look fantastic and i’ve been wanting to pick up that cookbook as well!

    March 13, 2010 11:03 am
  • 42

    Mmm! I am inspired anew. Oh, by the way, I did NOT read my Torah portion with glee or delight, but I wish I’d had one* of these after I was done chanting.
    *Or eighteen, you know, for luck.

    March 17, 2010 2:38 pm
  • 43

    This is my first time to your site and I could not resist making a comment on the graham crackers. I’ve never made or even thought of doing so. THANKS!

    April 4, 2010 9:03 pm
  • 44
    Delishhh said:

    I have always wanted to try to make these. Now i have a recipe. Thanks!

    April 12, 2010 8:43 pm
  • 45
    Georgia Mrs. Sledge! said:

    Dr. Melinda Zitin sent me this site with the graham cracker recipe. Good heavens! Who would have thought a simple cookout would have such an effect on one of my sixth graders. I had several Russian students during my years of teaching so I’m not sure which one turned out to be such an excellent chef. My compliments and I shall try the recipe forthwith.
    And as your English teacher years ago, my compliments on your clear and concise writing!

    April 26, 2010 2:34 pm
  • 46
    Radish said:

    Mrs. Sledge – it’s Olga and you have made the most amazing impression on a Russian student desperately trying to fit in!! :) It is SO lovely to hear from you!!

    April 26, 2010 4:03 pm
  • 47

    [...] honey graham crackers « Sassy Radish [...]

    May 9, 2010 2:35 am
  • 48

    [...] Cookies Makes 30+ cookies. Inspired by Sassy Radish. 1 c. whole wheat flour 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 3/4 tsp. kosher salt 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 [...]

    June 6, 2010 8:31 pm
  • 49

    Just made these…they are so, so wonderful. I’ve never had American graham crackers before, but if there the teeniest bit as nice as these ones, then I would be broke rather sharpish!

    Thanks for sharing, will link back when I post about these beauties :)

    September 23, 2010 6:22 am
  • 50

    [...] big thank you to Olga at Sassy Radish for posting this recipe. I am now following her simply gorgeous blog, and you should too! Speaking [...]

    September 25, 2010 10:53 pm
  • 51

    My husband was away all day yesterday dealing with his late dad’s estate. Since our friends had just gifted us with a basket of Mexican limes (they’re small like key limes!), I decided to surprise him when he got home with a key lime pie – his absolute favorite.

    Two glitches – I didn’t have a can of condensed milk, or a box of graham crackers. So after a “thorough” internet search, I happened across your site. :-)

    Did you know that when you do a search for “graham cracker recipe,” or “graham cracker pie crust from scratch,” you mostly get directions to buy a box of graham crackers, then grind them in a food processor? So one could imagine my delight when I realized I had everything else I needed to make a real batch of crackers.

    So thank you, for the post. :-) I ended up going with a recipe from Nancy Silverton, but I AM coming back here to do it again with yours.

    Happy Wednesday!

    Kim

    December 29, 2010 10:39 am
  • 52
    Radish said:

    Kim – sadly, I know. I was dismayed to find this out when I tried the search. Graham crackers aren’t hard to make and they’re delicious. Nancy’s recipe is wonderful as well. I like Karen’s (here) too. :) Glad you stopped by – and do come back!

    December 29, 2010 6:54 pm
  • 53

    [...] and this is where I want to take some tape and seal my mouth shut, or, as my sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Sledge, used to say “staple my lips together” – because I’m the kind of person who, once [...]

    December 29, 2010 7:20 pm
  • 54

    [...] playing with their toddler daughter Sasha, eating the most incredible tomato soup, and chewing on heart-shaped graham crackers I had made earlier that morning. It was an excellent day all around. I couldn’t have wanted a [...]

    February 12, 2011 10:28 am
  • 55

    [...] Graham Crackers by Sassy Radish. Follow Sassy Radish on Twitter @sassyradish. Tweet If you enjoyed this recipe, get email updates [...]

    December 28, 2011 3:05 pm
  • 56
    LJ said:

    Howdy. I was wondering if there is a way to convert this to use spelt flour, as I love the flavor of spelt, prefer the lower gluten, and I have lots of it around. I have heard for spelt subbed for wheat in breads that one should decrease the liquids in the recipe by 10% (tho I kinda cheat and just increase the spelt by 10% instead). Do you think that would apply here? Any info is appreciated. Thanks.

    December 18, 2012 2:45 am
  • 57
    olga said:

    LJ – unfortunately, I don’t have much experience testing with spelt. I haven’t tested this recipe, in particular, with spelt at all, seeing as I adapted it from Karen Demasco. Good luck!

    December 18, 2012 12:13 pm

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