Monday, April 19, 2010
Homemade Graham Crackers
There’s a group of four gals in my department who always lunch together. Between the four of us there’s some good baking and cooking going on as well! This makes birthdays especially fun. Some of the past birthday desserts have included Carrot Cake, Peanut Butter Cake, an incredible Coffee Cake, Pumpkin Cupcakes, and the list seriously goes on and on. This year, as Kristen’s birthday approached, Liesl & I had a conversation something like this:
Liesl: Let’s do something different for Kristen’s birthday. I’ll be getting my ice cream maker right before that, so I want to make a yummy ice cream!
Me: Ok, good idea! How about you make the ice cream, and I can make cookies, and we can do homemade ice cream sandwiches!
Liesl: I want to do S’Mores Ice Cream!
Me: Oooooh I’m going to do Homemade Graham Crackers.
And thus, this amazing combo was born. I had actually made these cookies back in July, for my 4th of July get-together with my friends. Along with homemade marshmallows, they made for some pretty freaking amazing s’mores. I did manage to get a couple photographs of them, but I hated all of them. And, I can’t stand to post a photo that doesn’t do the food justice! Besides, I knew these cookies were so delicious (and surprisingly easy!), they would get made time and time again.
On their own, these cookies are so delicious. Slightly softer than a storebought graham cracker, but 1000x more delicious. And they still have a bit of a crunch. They are definitely not exotic, but they give you this wonderful, warm, homey feeling when you eat them. When you pair them with the S’mores Ice Cream, it truly is a match made in heaven! The texture of the cookie was absolutely perfect. Not too hard, and not too soft. If you’re worried about the ice cream smooshing out when you bite in, have no fears, the cookies softened up just enough when you bite in to keep the ice cream inside the sandwich at all times. The ice cream was a marshmallow base with chocolate and graham crackers mixed in. It had such a creamy, and fluffy texture and flavor. Seriously, absolute perfection. You can learn all about the ice cream on Liesl’s Confection Dissection. If you’re a s’mores lover (like the birthday girl is) you will absolutely LOVE this combo. I guarantee.
Homemade Graham Crackers
adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook
(recipe located online here)
YIELDS: Approx 20
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for working
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup untoasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (2 sticks)
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons high-quality honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flours, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.
Put butter, brown sugar, and honey into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture, and mix until combined.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and divide into quarters. Roll out each piece between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper into rectangles a bit larger than 9 by 6 inches, about 1/8 inch thick. Stack parchment and dough on a baking sheet and chill in freezer until firm, about 20 minutes.
Remove from freezer. Using a fluted pastry wheel (or a pizza cutter works fine, if like me, that's all you have), trim the outermost edges of each rectangle, and divide into three 6 by 3-inch rectangles. Score each piece in half lengthwise and crosswise, to form four 3 by 1 1/2-inch crackers. (I skipped this step)
Pierce crackers using the tines of a fork. Transfer to large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake, rotating halfway through, until dark golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Be careful NOT to overcook, and remove as they just begin to golden. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes; transfer crackers to wire racks to cool completely.