One of the greatest teachers of homespun, old-fashioned American cooking is Marion Cunningham, not the actress who played a mom in the TV show Happy Days, but the Marion who updated the classic Fannie Farmer cookbooks starting in the 1980s. I think she deserves much credit for sparking the revival of scratch cooking, preserving and homesteading that’s going on these days.
When I was thinking of making graham crackers, one my kids’ favorite after-school snacks and the base of many a s’more, I wondered why I or anyone else should bother when nicely wrapped and reliably crisp graham crackers are available at each and every grocery store in the land.
Marion laments the lack of cracker recipes in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book: “It’s a pity that homemade crackers are rarely made these days, because you can’t buy the wonderful kind that you make yourself. Fresh home-baked crackers have a lively, gutsy flavor and a rough, snappy texture”.
I would agree that these homemade graham crackers are worlds away from the commercial cracker – they are gusty and roughly snappy in their handmade imperfection, and the thinner you can roll out the dough, the snappier they will be.
Recipe adapted from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham.
Cinnamon Graham Crackers
Makes about 2 dozen crackers
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour, preferably stone-ground
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a large rimmed baking sheet.
Beat the butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer until creamy; beat in the egg, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours and baking soda. Lower the mixer speed and add half the flour mixture. Pour in the milk and stir for a few seconds to incorporate before adding the rest of the flour on slow speed, mixing until the dough just comes together.
Generously flour a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap on a work surface. Scrape the dough onto the paper and sprinkle the top with a little more flour. Cover the dough with a second piece of parchment or plastic and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Check if you need to sprinkle the dough with a bit more flour while rolling – you should be able to peel back the paper without any sticking.
Remove the top sheet of parchment and transfer the dough by gently peeling it off the bottom piece of parchment, wrapping it around the rolling pin and unrolling it onto the baking sheet.
Trim off the edges of the dough with a sharp knife to make a neat rectangle, and without cutting all the way through, lightly score the dough into approximately 2 ½-inch squares. Prick each square with the tines of a fork to make a pattern of holes.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with sugar. Bake 15 minutes, or until the dough is slightly firm to the touch and the edges are beginning to turn golden.
Cool the pan on a rack until completely cool, then break or cut the crackers on the scored lines.
baking, graham cracker, snack
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