Sunday, March 18, 2012

Graham Cracker Recipe Test No. 2

While I considered another attempt at the Miette graham cracker recipe, I ended up deciding with five recipes to try I’d just move on and if none of the others were spectacular, I’d give it another go.  Sorry, Miette, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back to your graham crackers.
from left to right:  the decline of my patience
The recipe I tested today is from One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casale and David Crofton.  Although I wouldn’t use “charming” to describe this book, I love the personal stories and vintage family photos included.  My only complaint (and this is totally a personal pet peeve) is that the recipes are solely in volume measurements.  To compensate, I weighed out my ingredients as I measured them and made notes so next time I’ll be prepared.  And I know that when testing recipes I should actually follow them, but I just can’t help myself.  Instead of all-purpose flour, I used whole wheat pastry flour for more “graham-y” graham crackers.

the little holes were made with a No. 5 piping tip
Even though the dough came together incredibly quickly, the rolling, cutting and baking seemed to take for-ev-er.  After I rolled the dough between parchment sheets, I put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up before cutting.  (I will confess that I was much more diligent about keeping the butter-based dough cool with this batch of graham crackers.  Not a particularly easy task when our temperatures were in the lower 80’s today, the oven was on, and I just can’t bring myself to turn on the air conditioning in mid-March.)  The biggest problem was the dough would only be out of the freezer for about a minute before it started to soften up and get sticky.  I had to put the dough back in the freezer several times just to get the scraps out from in between the cut crackers.  After getting one sheet of fluted rounds, I went with cutting rectangles.  I thought being quicker, they would also be easier to work with.  I was only half right. 
believe it or not, the rectangles didn't save much time

By the time I finished baking the two sheets of graham crackers, I was not feeling the love for finishing the scraps of dough.  And having the oven on had made it even warmer - bordering on unpleasant.  Given that, the last of the dough is rolled out between parchment sheets, wrapped in plastic and resting in the freezer.  Maybe I’ll finish them tomorrow in the cool of the morning.

Comparing these graham crackers to my Miette graham crackers would be kind of like comparing fleur de sel to iodized table salt:  they're not even in the same league.  These graham crackers baked up light and crispy, and not a bit greasy.  Their texture and crunch are really quite wonderful.  I went with cinnamon instead of ginger this time.  The cinnamon was barely noticeable in the background, but I think any less and it would have seemed like something was missing and any more would have been too much.  I wish I would have remembered to sprinkle them with sugar, but it's a small thing.  Overall, I definitely think this recipe is worth keeping, but maybe just made when cooler temperatures prevail.  Cooler temperatures or not, my next graham cracker recipe to try is from Martha Stewart's Cookies.  As much as I like Martha, her graham crackers are going to have to be pretty awesome to top these!

Homemade Graham Crackers
Recipe adapted from One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casale & David Crofton

315 g whole wheat pastry flour
40 g stone ground whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
113 g unsalted butter, at cool room temperature (65 – 68°F)
100 g granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
60 g brown sugar
1/2 cup water, cool but not cold

Sift the flours, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together over a medium bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 3 – 5 minutes on medium speed.  Stop and scrape the bowl and paddle.  On low speed, add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the water.  Repeat, ending with the flour.  Mix the dough just until the ingredients are combined, finishing with a rubber spatula.  Use the spatula to turn and fold the dough a few times to “knead” it.

Divide the dough in half, keeping one half covered while working with the other.  Place the dough between 12” x 16” sheets of parchment paper and roll out to approximately 1/8” thickness.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Carefully place the rolled dough (still sandwiched in parchment) on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one sheet of dough at a time from the refrigerator or freezer and place on a cutting board.  Peel off the top piece of parchment paper.  Cut the dough with cookie cutters or cut squares or rectangles with a ruler and knife, trying not to cut through the parchment.  Grab the bottom piece of parchment and flip the cut dough over onto the cutting board.  Peel off the remaining piece of parchment.  Place the graham crackers on the prepared baking sheets and sprinkle lightly with the extra sugar.  (The dough scraps can be re-rolled, chilled and cut in the same manner.)

Bake the graham crackers for 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.  Cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container. 


  1. What are you planning on doing with all these graham crackers you're making? I love those little holes in the cookies. I never would have thought to use an icing tip to make those. I can't wait to see which graham crackers are the best!

    1. It is a lot of graham crackers! I've started working on a business plan for a (very) small scale bakery I hope to start up next year. I've made a list of some of the things I would like to offer - obviously homemade graham crackers among them - and will be spending a significant amount of time over the next year testing and re-testing recipes to determine which ones I feel will be the most well received in my area. Such tough work! ;)

  2. Having just suffered through the Miette recipe only to end up with crumbly cookies that could not be rolled out (I ended up re-chiling the dough and slicing through them) I share your struggle to find the right recipe - I will try the one you cite here and hope it works - great blog - good luck with the bakery!!

    1. Oh, I do feel your pain! I purchased the first edition of Miette and wish I would have waited. In going through it, I found errors that weren't even on the (page-long) errata sheet. While I really liked the flavor of the One Girl Cookie graham crackers, if memory serves, the recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies was a bit easier to work with. Thanks for visiting and for your comments!


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