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Classic Snacks Made from Scratch – Graham Crackers

Food Quotes from Casey Barber's Kitchen - The Messy Baker

These quotes wrap around the bulkhead in Casey Barber’s kitchen. I like that she’s not afraid of orange, or irreverence, or figuring out how to get the cream filling inside a homemade Twinkie®. Her book, Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favourite Brand-Name Treats (Ulysses Press, ©2013) lives up to its title. Hostess® Cupcakes, Klondike® Bars and Peeps® are a few of the recipes she tackles. My husband must never know you can make your own Cool Ranch Doritos®. Ever.

Why would anyone make their own when the you can just buy them from the store? If you have to ask, it breaks my heart. Barber does it “to prove it can be done.” I’d have accepted: Because it tastes better, to avoid chemicals or an enthusiastic “Why not?!”

classic-snacks-made-from-scratch-117598l2 With the exception of the Neapolitan Ice Cream Sandwiches, which Barber admits are a lot of work, most of the recipes are no harder than your standard cookie recipe. They’re merely familiar items with particular tweaks. “Peeps are just funny-shaped marshmallows,” she says.

Are her recipes exact replicas? No. They’re better. You get all the flavour, but without the chemicals. If she couldn’t nail down a recipe — like the elusive buttery Ritz Cracker — it didn’t make it into the book.

Being Canadian, I’m not familiar with all the snacks. Sure, I know Fig Newtons® and Goldfish® Crackers, but in my world Raspberry Zinger is an herbal tea, not a cake. To knock an item off last year’s neglected Culinary Bucket List, I made the Graham Crackers. The brand I’m familiar with has honey and a touch of molasses but no cinnamon, so I tweaked Barber’s recipe a tiny bit to reflect the Canadian version.

Graham Crackers - The Messy Baker

Graham crackers are a carryover from my youth. They were always eaten at the kitchen table, slathered in butter, and washed down with a cup of clear orange Pekoe tea. They are one of the few store-bought snacks in my pantry — until now. From now on, if I get a hankering I’ll make my own. This version has the familiar crunch but a more honey-like, less cardboard-sweet taste. So, my question to the doubters is why wouldn’t you make your own?

What brand-name snack you can’t resist?

Homemade Graham Crackers - TheMessyBaker.com

Graham Crackers
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 64 crackers
 
Graham crackers are a classic snack that are not too sweet and oh, so satisfying. This recipe has a hint of honey and cinnamon but comes with a variation for those who prefer theirs without.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup honey (3 ounces)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (5⅜ ounces)
  • 1 scant cup Bob’s Red Mill graham flour or 1¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour (4¼ ounces of either flour)
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar (I used demerara to mimic molasses)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (I omitted since Canadian graham crackers don’t have cinnamon)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the overn to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.
  2. Whisk the honey, egg and vanilla together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Using a food processor or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flours, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt for a few seconds or until combined. Add the butter cubes and pulse in 3-second on/off turns in the food processor, or stir at medium speed with the stand mixer until incorporated.
  4. Add the beaten honey and eggs and continue to pulse or stir until a soft dough forms.
  5. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Dust one of the pieces liberally with flour and roll with a floured rolling pin into a rectangle slightly larger than 10 by 15 inches and no more than ⅛ inch thick. (Make it as thin as humanly possible, since the cookies will puff up when baked.)
  6. Transfer the dough rectangle to a prepared baking sheet with the help of a cookie spatula or turner. Cut into 16 (2½ by 1¼ inch) rectangles, using a pastry or pizza cutter, cleaning up any ragged edges as well. The crackers don’t need to be separated. Alternatively, you can cut your own graham cracker shapes with cookie cutters.
  7. Poke holes in the crackers using a toothpick or cocktail fork.
  8. Whisk 3 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon. Add a final 1 tablespoon sugar if you wish, according to taste. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly and liberally over the crackers. (Save any that’s left over for breakfast toast!)
  9. Bake for approximately 12 to 15 minutes, until hints of golden brown appear around the edges. Watch carefully! Transfer the crackers to a wire rack and let cool completely.
  10. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.
Notes
Graham flour, also known as whole wheat pastry flour, contains all the parts of the wheat berry, but it’s milled to have a softer texture than regular old whole wheat.


Excerpt published by permission from Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats by Casey Barber. Published by Ulysses Press ©2013.

 

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8 Responses to Classic Snacks Made from Scratch – Graham Crackers

  1. Amy Proulx March 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    Next – homemade marshmallows to make real s’mores, minus the homemade chocolate. Very elegant moulded chocolates is completely do-able, but chocolate from scratch is a little beyond even the most ambitious of us.

  2. Charmian Christie March 12, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    Amy, you’re gonna kill me! Actually I am curious about homemade marshmallows. They’re not on the bucket list, but there’s always next year.

    Once, I ate chocolate marshmallows. I only found them the one time and haven’t seen them in decades, but wonder… if I made s’mores with homemade chocolate marshmallows would that count?

    • Amy Proulx March 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

      Homemade marshmallows are a cinch if you have a stand mixer and a good thermometer. We make them with kids who come to the school, and they have a great time. How about instead of chocolate from scratch (we all have to set limits!), you could do a hot fudge sauce to drizzle on.

      • Charmian Christie March 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

        I have both a stand mixer and a good thermometer. I make a mean chocolate sauce so if I ever get my act together…

  3. Brittany April 23, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    I’m totally making these today! I have moved from Canada to the UK and they have no idea what graham crackers are or s’mores. I will be making my British friends some homemade s’more!

    • Charmian Christie April 23, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      The UK doesn’t have graham crackers? I lived there for a semester and never noticed. But then again, I was distracted by their amazing digestive biscuits (St. Michael’s brand, of course) and Hobnobs. And Jaffa cakes…

      I’m sure your British friends will love your graham crackers and s’mores.

      If you have time, don’t forget the Nanaimo bars and butter tarts :-)

      Happy baking!

      • Brittany April 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

        I made Nanaimo bars last week and everyone loved them! They don’t even know what S’mores are. They looked at me quizzically when I mentioned a S’more….

        • Charmian Christie April 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

          I believe it. I didn’t know what a Hobnob was when I landed in London. I learned. All too well!

          Have fun with your culinary cultural exchange. I’m sure you’ll all have a delicious time.

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