Graham crackers are a quintessential staple of childhood. In my own experience with growing up, they seem to have been a persistent phase until my preteen years, making a comeback as an essential component in the almighty campfire snack, s'mores. These days, I don't really seem to eat them. They're cumbersome to throw in a backpack and take away without crumbling up, and aren't nearly as satisfying as a cookie or another carbohydrate.And yet I find myself compelled. Maybe it was the Smitten Kitchen post on homemade graham crackers, or the buttery Tiny Trapeze cookies I used to pick up at Whole Foods, but the draw has gravitated graham crackers enough to shift them from gritty to glamorous. When I got this artisan graham cracker mix, I couldn't resist baking them right up.
The mix came in a brown paper bag, but was filled about a quarter of the way up. It seemed like a waste of packaging to include the rest of the bag. I needed butter and a honey-water slurry to complete the remainder of the recipe. It wasn't bad preparation, but I found it difficult to incorporate the cubes of butter in with the rest of the batter. At first, I was a little worried. The flour had an artificial scent to it that overpowered even the honey and when mixed, was very wet and crumbly. Without wax paper, it was arduous to roll out the dough to the correct thickness without it sticking or snagging and tearing, and it was possible to obtain either an even surface, minimal stickiness, and a thin cookie, but not all three. Because I have a touch of the OCD, I opted for slightly thicker cookies with smooth tops and as little stickiness as I could achieve.However, this made for graham crackers that were more like soft cookies. I wasn't really able to get that wheatmeal flavor adjusted. All that crispiness and buttery, crumbly goodness was translated into a cookie that resembled a hermit or my personal local favorite, Sand Dollars. It had a honeyed flavor that wasn't overbearingly sweet, but definitely with syrupy flavors abound. At the last minute, I poked some holes on top and sprinkled some sugar. While the holes seemed aesthetic only, the sugar gave the tops of the cookies a pleasant crunch. They still came out thick. I noticed that around the edges, the honeyed flavor was a little more caramelized and far more concentrated, which is what I'm basing the overall flavor off of if the recipe had come out perfectly. I'm still dying to make homemade graham crackers, but these make a terrific lunch box treat or deconstructed dessert base, and lent a spiced streusel flavor to our Riesling pear sorbet.
Labels: 7, cookie, cooking, dessert, snack