Graham Crackers

Graham Crackers: Honey Maid on the left, homemade on the right

Graham crackers usually make me think of a room full of preschool kids having a snack and are not a food that I eat often so I’ve never considered making them at home.  However, as I was recently doing a post about homemade marshmallows it got me thinking about other components of S’mores.  Since the homemade marshmallows turned out so well, I began to wonder if homemade graham crackers would also be noticeably better than store bought.  My daughter doesn’t really eat graham crackers at home, but I might give them to her more often if I could make homemade ones that we would all enjoy and had less sugar than the boxed variety.

As I looked at recipes for graham crackers, I was surprised to find that many recipes did not actually contain graham flour but used whole wheat instead.  This was a pleasant surprise since I didn’t really want to buy a whole bag of graham flour for one recipe that I wasn’t sure I would even be repeating.  The first recipe I tried (from marthastewart.com) did not turn out well.  The dough was much too dry and crumbly so that I couldn’t even get it to roll out correctly.  I ended up using a modified version of the same recipe that worked much better for me and is actually quite easy to make.

Homemade Graham Crackers

(adapted from marthastewart.com)

I used all white whole-wheat flour in this recipe in an attempt to make them more nutritious.  If you do not have white whole-wheat flour, I suggest using half whole-wheat flour and half all-purpose.

Makes about 2 dozen small crackers (each is about half  the size of a store bought graham cracker)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.  In a medium bowl, stir the dry ingredients together and set aside.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat on medium speed until well combined.

3.  With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and beat just until everything is moistened.  Divide the dough in half and form each portion into a ball;  wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4.  On a lightly floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll out one ball of dough to form a rectangle roughly measuring 8 X 12 inches.  Trim the rough edges of dough off with a sharp knife and then cut the dough into 12 rectangular pieces.  Pierce each cracker with a fork a few times and then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat this process with the second ball of dough.

5.  Bake crackers, one sheet at a time, in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the crackers are slightly puffy and just beginning to brown on the edges.  Immediately transfer the crackers to a wire rack to cool.

We compared these homemade graham crackers to a box of Honey Maid crackers and there were definitely noticeable differences.   The homemade crackers had a softer, crumbly texture and were much less sweet than the boxed graham crackers.  I much preferred the milder, softer taste and texture of the homemade crackers, but these same traits may not appeal to children who are used to the boxed kind.  Also, it is difficult (at least for me) to cut the homemade crackers perfectly evenly so that they may not be ideal for making S’mores, which require two crackers of the same size.  The homemade crackers obviously require a lot more effort and time than store bought ones, but they are also noticeably cheaper.  While 2 dozen homemade graham crackers cost about 80 cents, the same number of Honey Maid crackers comes in around $2.00.

Bottom Line: If you mainly keep graham crackers around as a toddler snack, store bought crackers are probably the best as they are convenient and have a kid-friendly taste.  However, the homemade variety are a cheap, lower-sugar alternative and I think they’d be great paired with homemade marshmallows for fancy s’mores.

Homemade Graham Crackers Honey Maid Graham Crackers
Cost: 80 cents Cost: $2.00
Time: 1 hour Time: None