I have been wanting to try making homemade graham crackers for a while now. This past weekend I decided it was as good a time as any, so I started looking at a few recipes. I was happily surprised to find that I had all of the ingredients on hand, so right away I started mixing up the dough. I always thought you needed graham flour to make graham crackers, but you don’t, all you need are pantry staples that you probably already have in your kitchen.
You might be wondering, why make homemade graham crackers when it’s much easier to just pick up a box at the grocery store? The obvious reason is that the homemade version tastes much better, and these definitely do. They have the same graham cracker flavor you are used to, but are just so much better. The day you make them, they will be a little soft in the center and crisp around the edges. After that, they are crisp all the way through.
While you do have to invest some time to make these, it’s pretty minimal. Maybe about 15 minutes to mix up the dough, plus another 15 to roll and cut them out. This is totally worth it to me because I like knowing exactly what’s in these crackers. I’ve recently discovered that my usual store brand contains a small amount of partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats), which I try to avoid completely for health reasons.
There are a few inactive time steps that you need to plan ahead for when making this recipe. First, you’ll need to cut the butter into cubes and freeze it for 20 to 30 minutes before you can make the dough. The dough will need to be chilled for at least 2 hours before you can roll and cut the crackers. (I chilled mine overnight because I didn’t have time to bake them the day I made the dough.) Finally, you will need to chill the cut-out crackers for 30 to 45 minutes before you can bake them. None of these steps bothered me because they are all inactive time, and it was nice to be able to make the crackers in smaller steps, since it’s not always easy to find a bigger chunk of time to spend in the kitchen these days.
If graham crackers have been on your list of things you’d like to make yourself some day, I encourage you to give these a try. I’m so glad I did, and I’m not sure why I waited so long!
Homemade Graham Crackers
Makes about 3 dozen 3 by 2-inch rectangles
- 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. (300 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (75 grams) whole wheat flour
- 1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tsp. (6 grams) baking soda
- ¾ tsp. (4 grams) kosher salt
- 7 tbsp. (3 ½ oz. or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and frozen (at least 20-30 minutes)
- 5 tbsp. (77 grams) milk (whole is best)
- 1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
For the cinnamon-sugar topping:
- 3 tbsp. (43 grams) sugar
- 1 tsp. 5 grams) ground cinnamon
- To make the dough, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to blend. Add in the butter and pulse in short bursts until the mixture has the texture of coarse meal. (This can also be done in a stand mixer or with a pastry blender if you don’t have a food processor.) In a liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, honey, and vanilla. Whisk to blend. Add the liquid to the flour mixture and process just until a dough has come together. The mixture will be fairly sticky. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, form into a disk, cover tightly and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
- When you are ready to bake the crackers, line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Generously flour a work surface. Place half of the dough on the work surface, sprinkle with flour, and roll out into an even layer about 1/8-inch thick. (Keep the second half of the dough in the refrigerator while you work). Re-flour as needed since this dough can be quite sticky. Use a cookie cutter or pastry cutter to cut the dough into your desired shape. Transfer the cut-outs to the prepared baking sheets, spacing an inch or two apart. Re-roll additional dough scraps as needed, and then repeat with the second half of the dough. Chill the cut-outs once more until firm, about 30-45 minutes in the refrigerator or 15-20 minutes in the freezer.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl. If desired, use the blunt end of a wooden skewer to poke a dotted pattern in the top of the crackers. Bake until evenly browned and just crisp, about 15-17 minutes total. About two minutes before the crackers are done baking, sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, if using. Let the crackers cool on the pans briefly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Crackers will keep in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.