Brooke Dowdy gets a book that inspires her to dig deeper into the world of flours.
Text And Photo By Brooke Dowdy
For Christmas last year, my mom bought me Good to the Grain, my new favorite baking book written by pastry chef Kim Boyce, that guides you through experimenting with different whole grain flours. Before discovering this book, the flours in my pantry ranged from all-purpose white to whole wheat with some ground flaxseed meal that I rarely used for anything other than smoothies. Now my pantry is stocked with everything from oat to graham to teff flour (a flour that I had never even heard of before!). The book is divided into chapters highlighting each flour with a descriptive introduction by Boyce explaining the flavors, textures, and baking properties of each. Recipes using each flour are included in their respective chapters. Every recipe is flavorful and nutty, including these homemade graham crackers.
The term “cracker” is a little misleading when describing these grahams. Similar to a cookie or biscuit (for those across the pond), these grahams have the snap of a cracker. In these homemade graham crackers, Boyce uses teff flour to achieve a crisp cracker with a rich mahogany color. Honey and brown sugar add sweetness while the molasses lends a slightly bitter edge. These cookies are a fantastic snack or a dessert for those that don’t like their desserts too sweet. The grahams that were not eaten after a few days at my house were blended into a graham cracker crust that was perfect for key lime pie, but I can’t promise these will last that long.
- Dry Mix:
- 1 cup graham flour
- ½ cup (75 grams) teff flour
- ¾ cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (112 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- Wet Mix:
- 3 ounces (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¼ cup (3 ounces) honey
- 1 tablespoon unsulphered (not blackstrap) molasses
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) whole milk
- ¼ cup (56 grams) sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back any bits of flour or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, honey, molasses, and milk.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir into a moist cookie dough. Press the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Rub two baking sheets lightly with butter.
- Dust a work surface with flour. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half, working with on half while keeping the other half chilled. Use your hands to flatten the first half until it is ½ inch thick.
- Dust the counter and both sides of the dough with flour. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is ⅛-inch thick. Move the dough around frequently to make sure it isn't sticking. If it is, slide a pastry scraper under the dough and dust the counter or the dough with flour.
- Use a sharp floured knife to cut the dough into 5-by-2.5-inch rectangles and transfer the shapes onto the baking sheets. "Score" these rectangles into traditional quarters using a knife without separating them (this keeps the lines showing after baking). Using a fork or a skewer, press holes into the surface of the cookies.
- Stir the cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle each cookie with a few pinches of the mixture.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. The grahams are ready when the edge is a darker shade of brown than the rest of the cookie. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack so the grahams become crisp. If the cookies are not quite thick enough, next time they need to either be rolled out thinner or baked longer.
- Repeat with the remaining half of the dough.
- These cookies are best eaten once cooled. They will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.