Before I made these, I’d never eaten a homemade graham cracker and the thought of making one had never crossed my mind. Graham crackers were one of those things that just…came in a box. When I was looking for a recipe for homemade marshmallows, I came across this homemade graham cracker recipe on Smitten Kitchen, (one of my favorite food blogs) and decided to give them a go. I’m not going to say that they were a cinch to make; they took a while to roll out, cut out, decorate, etc. However, I was so pleased with the end result that I will definitely make them again. They actually tasted like a graham cracker (only better).
You start off by mixing all of your dry ingredients with the butter until it reaches a mealy consistency. I didn’t have any of the mixing tools that were suggested in the recipe, but my immersion blender did the trick.
Honey, milk and vanilla are the only wet ingredients involved.
After combining the wet and dry ingredients, you end up with dough that is somewhat sticky. After wrapping it in plastic, I chilled it overnight.
Rolling out the dough was a little tricky for me because a) I have a mini sized rolling pin b) it stuck to the surface no matter how much flour I used. I ended up rolling it directly onto the parchment lined sheet that I baked the grahams on, and it worked fine. My mom got me this wavy potato cutter a few years ago (it’s a totally random tool that she picked up for me because she knows that I love totally random tools). I put it to use on my cracker dough to make a decorative edge. I made each graham the length and width of my wavy cutter (around 2.5 inches).
These were from my first batch. I forgot to sprinkle the topping over them, and I also rolled them out too thick, resulting in a dense, slightly chewy cookie. The flavor was nice, but I was looking for something with more snap. I wanted a graham cracker, not a graham cookie.
For the remaining batches, I rolled the dough according to the recipe and they turned out perfectly (1/8 of an inch).
Homemade oven baked s’mores…mmmmm (this graham cracker was from the thick batch).
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 10 4 x 4.5-inch graham crackers or 48 2-inch squares
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (a swap of 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour works well here, too)
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) ground cinnamon
Make the dough: Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If you don’t have a food processor or electric mixer, you can also cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender or an immersion blender (just make sure they’re very well incorporated).
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and mix (I used a spatula) until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it and chill until firm (about 2 hours or overnight). Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using, by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.
Roll out the crackers: Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the crackers to desired size (you can also use cookie cutters to make untraditional shapes).
Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Decorate the crackers: Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form dotted rows and sprinkle the topping (if using).
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Notes: Mine were baked in just about 10-12 minutes (my oven is crazy) so keep an eye on them. I skipped the step of refrigerating the crackers before baking them (I just forgot) and it didn’t seem to affect the end result).