Fact: Bears love graham crackers. "Bears don't love graham crackers", you say, "They love honey. And wearing red shirts that barely cover their little bear bellies. And stealing picnic baskets." Be that as it may, bears also love graham crackers, and because I love bears, I love graham crackers. Could it be how perfectly crisp and crunchy they are? Or, their mild sweetness? Or, the fact that they are the bookends of a s'more? Maybe. Either way, I found this recipe a few months ago on Lottie + Doof (via Nancy Silverman) and made these for my mom's birthday with some salted caramel ice cream. They were so delicious i've made them a few times since, but i've yet had the time to photograph the process properly, so, I set aside this afternoon to capture graham cracker making in all it's glory. Unfortunately, even though I was anal enough to break out my ruler when cutting these guys out, somehow, I lost track of time when they were in the oven. Truth be told, I broke the cardinal rule of baking and walked out of the room in their last 7 minutes of baking. You can't smell them burning if you aren't in the room. Don't cry little bear, there are still enough to share. Try the recipe at the bottom, this is one of the few recipes i'll guarantee 100% satisfaction from.
- 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
- 1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
- 5 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
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, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. 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.
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.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
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, or cut into whatever size/shape you prefer. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350° F.
Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll. Dust the surface with more flour and roll out the dough to get two or three more crackers.
Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using a wooden skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the tough, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
**note: I've made this dough a week or so in advance and frozen it until I have the time to roll it out and slice it up and i've seen no adverse affects.