I have a notoriously bad memory, so it’s no surprise that I have a hard time remembering names, and faces too, if I’m being really honest. More than once a vaguely familiar person has come up to me and enthusiastically said “hi” to only be rewarded by a blank stare. Given my horrible memory, I find it hilarious that I remember someone I met in one of my first-year university class.
Truly, I only remember his name, and only because it was Graham. When he introduced himself to me, I repeated, “Graham, like the cracker, right?” He laughed generously, even though I’m sure he heard that sentiment thousands of times before. I have no idea what happened to Graham, but I guess those funny name remember mnemonics really do work – kind of.
I’ve never made homemade graham crackers before and I was plesantly surprised at how well these turned out. They’re crisp, with a touch of honey flavour.
Graham Cracker Recipe 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 all purpose flour*
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup honey
5 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon 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.
[Alternately, if you don't have a food processor or electric mixer, you can cut the ingredients together with a pastry 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 pulse on and off a few times or mix on low 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, then chill it 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 edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers.
Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. 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.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Decorate the crackers: Using a toothpick or skewer prick the dough in any pattern you like.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
* The original recipe calls for whole-wheat flour, but I didn’t have any on hand; I substituted all-purpose and they turned out great!