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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Home-Made Graham Crackers

Holy cow! It's March 1st already!  March 1st is exciting for a few reasons: 1) It's national peanut butter lover's day.  Woah!!  WOAH.  2) I turned 28 today! I don't completely know how I feel about turning 28 yet, but I'm eager to take on the new year and find new ways to tackle my ever-slowing metabolism.  Even more important is the fact that I share a birthday with Ron Weasley!  3) It's also national pancake day.  Um, what??  Seriously, peanut butter lover's day AND pancake day?!  This is an unbelievable combination that must be made, stat.  4) The sun is out shining, blue skies, and we're supposed to have 38 degree temps later on in the day.  5) I'm on spring break - which means that I'm halfway through what is turning out to be a really tough semester - and by the time I return, it's all downhill from there! (Note: National Peanut Butter lover's Day was placed before my birthday... I mean, have you seen the name of my blog?! Originally, I had national pancake day ahead of my birthday as well. Then, I realized that my blog post would scream "oink oink" and I switched it up.)
Instead of posting pancakes for National Pancake Day.  And instead of posting a birthday treat.  And instead of posting one of the many recipes I have in my drafts that have yet to be posted, I'm posting a recipe that is pretty special to me.  The recipe is special because I finally attempted baking my own graham crackers AND I added peanut butter! As many of you know, I've had a serious peanut butter and graham cracker addiction for as long as I can remember. Hence, the name of my blog. My pantry is never without the two items. But given the fact that I eat "clean" fresh ingredients about 98% of my day, it's odd that my day turns to hell around 10:00p.m. when I crack open my box of graham crackers and enjoy a serving of ... well, I don't even know because I cannot pronounce many of the ingredients.

Since turning 28 a few hours ago, I've gotten wiser.  This just doesn't make sense to blow my day of clean eating with two delicious store-bought graham crackers.  So, baking my own seemed like a natural step.  This is definitely going to be one of the hardest habits to break, but it's one worth trying. The graham crackers were very easy to mix up and a breeze to roll out with the parchment paper.  I'm not 100% sold on the taste of them yet, but I think this is because I eye-balled the molasses and I am pretty sure that I added way too much.  Regardless, I kept munching on these and the flavors got better the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that.  I think it will take some time and tweaking to get them to the flavor and texture I am looking for, but I think it's definitely worth the challenge. 
Home-Made Graham Crackers
from FromAway
  • 1 3/4 cups WW flour
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup skim or 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a food processor, combine both flours, salt, and baking powder. Add cubes of butter and pulse until mixture takes on a coarse, crumb-like consistency. Add honey, molasses, and 1/3 cup sugar. Pulse again. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add milk and vanilla. Mix using hands until a stiff dough forms, adding more milk if needed to make the dough hang together.
  2. Lightly oil two baking sheets. Lay a piece of parchment onto your work surface, and place half of the dough in the center. Cover with another piece of parchment, and roll out to a 1/4 inch thickness. Using a knife, pastry cutter, or cookie cutters, cut dough into 3" crackers, saving leftover scraps to rework into more cookies, by re-rolling and cutting again. Transfer to a baking sheet, leaving space between crackers. Prick the crackers all over with a fork and then sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Lightly press the sugar into the surface of each cracker with your hand.
  3. Repeat the rolling and cutting process for the other half of the dough, placing the crackers on the second baking sheet and sprinkling with the remainder of cinnamon and sugar. Place both baking sheets in the freezer, and freeze for 15 minutes. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the chilled dough for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges.
  4. Let cool completely before eating.

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