In the US, we use graham crackers in the ever popular s’mores and graham crackers are the main ingredient in many pie crusts, but very few of us reach for a graham cracker for a snack after the age of 8. My friend who is a nurse says that they are a popular snack in hospitals. I’m not sure that counts as a culinary achievement.
People inherently understand the value of a homemade chocolate chip cookie or brownies made from scratch. However, even seasoned bakers seem to turn to a box when it comes time for graham crackers.
I decided to give the graham cracker the status it deserves as a treat unto itself for all ages and to make graham crackers from scratch.
I’ll give you the recipe first this time, but read on for some graham cracker facts and random tales of graham.
Homemade Graham Cracker Recipe
I got the graham cracker recipe from Free Range Living. She got the recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book.
I am reprinting the recipe below along with all of my baking notes. It makes 36 2 1/2 inch squares.
- 4 T (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 6 T sugar
- 4 T honey (Some graham crackers use half honey and half molasses. You might consider trying that as a variation.)
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 2 t water
- 3/4 t salt
- 1 1/2 C graham flour (If you can’t get ahold of graham flour, there are plenty of graham cracker recipes that use regular whole wheat flour such as this graham cracker recipe from Baking Bites. You may also be able to directly substitute whole wheat flour in this recipe, but I haven’t tested it and I make no promises.)
- 3/4 C all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Combine the butter, egg and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the honey and blend.
- Dissolve the baking soda in the water and add to the butter mixture.
- Add the salt, graham flour, and all-purpose flour to the mixture and blend thoroughly. The dough should hold together and be manageable. If it is too “tacky” add a little more graham flour.
- Liberally dust a surface with graham flour and roll the dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. For convenience in handling, cut the rolled dough into three or four sections that will fit on your cookie sheet. (I am not good at rolling things out. It doesn’t come up too often since I mostly make cupcakes. To make my life easier, I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper and rolled the dough directly on the cookie sheets. That way I didn’t need to worry about the dough breaking when I lifted it onto a cookie sheet.)
- With a knife, score the dough, without cutting through, into 2 1/2 inch squares. (Boring! Since your graham crackers are not store-bought, they don’t have to be square. Use your cookie cutters to make them any shape you want!)
- Prick each square a few times with the tines of a fork. (I did this because those little pricks do make them look like graham crackers, whatever shape they are.)
- Using a spatula, place the sections of scored cracker dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I didn’t have to do this since I rolled right on the cookie sheet.)
- Bake on the first side for 8 minutes, then turn the cracker over and bake for another 6 or 7 minutes. (Cheryl of Free Range Living said that she found that flipping wasn’t necessary. I agree. I left out the flip step.)
- Remove from the oven and cool on racks. (They weren’t quite crispy when I removed them. However, they hardened up as soon as they cooled.)
Will I Make From Scratch Graham Crackers Again?
Homemade graham crackers taste very similar to the store-bought kind. However, they were fresher and slightly less sweet. I buy my graham crackers at Whole Foods and they contain basically the same ingredients that I used in my from scratch ones. However, mine were so easy to make and were such a hit with my friends that I’d definitely try it again.
Graham Crackers Destroy Your Sex Drive?
Maybe graham crackers are typically served to kids because somewhere in our collective memory we know that graham crackers are wholesome and we worry that graham isn’t good for sex?
Graham flour and later graham crackers were created by the Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham.
He had some great ideas…
- We should eat foods high in fiber and with whole grains.
- Eating pure foods on a regular basis results in a long, healthy life.
and some less great ones…
- If food sits in the stomach for too long, it overstimulates the organs and causes sexual arousal.
- Rich, fatty foods only increase sexual urges.
Graham invented graham flour in the 1830s. It’s a form of whole wheat flour that has a slightly coarser grind. It’s higher in fiber than white flour and according to Graham, digests faster so as not to subject people to the desires of the flesh. This flour led to to the graham cracker: The Anti-Sex cracker. Now there’s a marketing campaign slogan if I ever heard one.
Graham crackers were originally made with 100% graham flour. Nowadays as you saw in the recipe in this post, they are typically a mix of graham or regular whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.
I wonder what Graham would think of my Better than Sex Chocolate cupcakes?
Graham Crackers and Dieting
As far as dessert snacks go, graham crackers are not that bad for you. According to calorie-count.com, two squares of graham crackers are 59 calories.
When I was a kid, I used to put graham crackers in my cereal bowl every morning. I loved eating them all soggy with milk. (FYI – I strongly recommend dunking graham crackers in milk. Mmmmm.)
Anyway, one day I decided I needed to lose weight and I decided the way to diet was to stop putting graham crackers in my cereal. I don’t recall if that 59 calories a day reduction in food intake caused any weight loss, but I do wonder if I am the only one to ever go on a diet that only involved refraining from graham crackers.
And This Relates to Cupcakes How?