Lately I have been interested in learning to cook things that you might not normally cook. I think this is a phenomenon that is common in my age group demographic. When I encounter books like Can It, Pickle It, Cure It or blogs like Food in Jars, I completely relate to the authors. Perhaps in this time of computers and fast food and automatic everything, there is an urge to return to a simpler way of life and to understand the fundamentals of how things are made.
This interest has led me to try my hand at making things like bread, cheese and mayonnaise. I try to keep my ingredients and recipes seasonal and fresh, although it doesn’t always happen. I also try to gear my food to themes, activities or other appropriately timed moments.
Last weekend, the Memorial Day holiday coincided with my birthday. With the added day off for my birthday, we had a 4-day weekend. Mike planned a trip to Acadia National Park for a mini vacation. Originally the plan was to go camping. I was so excited! Although we’re not regular campers, it is something I would like to do more of. There is nothing quite like sleeping in a forest and waking up to the sound of the birds. There is also nothing quite like a hot shower and a warm bed. These second thoughts were what led us to find more secure accommodations. That, and the realization that Maine in late May/early June is really cold at night. I’m glad we wound up staying in a cabin instead of out in the woods. We’ll have to save the wooded camping trip for July or August.
I was so excited about our trip and the thought of being outside in nature. So in preparation, I tried my hand at graham crackers. I was envisioning the most delectable S’Mores I’d ever had – with homemade graham crackers, deep dark chocolate and light fluffy marshmallows. Unfortunately, I forgot that the main part of this vision involved a camp fire. Since our plans changed to stay in a cabin, we would not have a camp fire. Undeterred, I forged ahead and decided that we could still have s’mores even without a campfire.
I pictured a graham cracker much like the Keebler variety I’d grown up with. Little did I know, that a graham cracker is really a cookie masquerading as a cracker. This was not going to be as difficult as I thought! I know how to make a cookie. After some tinkering, I came up with this recipe for delicious graham crackers. The only thing is, they taste so much like cookies. I think they should be renamed Graham Cookies and relocated within the supermarket. No more hiding in the cracker aisle, for this little graham!
Makes 30+ cookies. Inspired by Sassy Radish.
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/8 c. honey
1/8 c. maple syrup
1. In a medium bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
2. Combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar, honey and maple syrup, mixing in an electric mixer until well combined.
3. Add the dry ingredients in 2 stages, mixing thoroughly between each addition. 4. Lay a piece of plastic wrap out on the counter. Dump the dough onto the plastic wrap. It will be rather crumbly. Use your hands to mush it together and shape it into a rectangle.
5. Wrap the plastic around the dough. Add a second piece of plastic and wrap your dough package up.
6. Put in the refrigerator, about 30 minutes (or up to 2 days), until chilled. Dough can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
8. Unwrap chilled dough and lightly flour your work surface. Break off a piece of dough and roll it out, about 1/8 inch thick.
9. Use a ruler to cut out 3 inch squares of dough. Lightly score the dough at the 1 1/2 inch mark down one side. Use a fork to create rows of marks on the cookies. This gives them the authentic graham cracker look and also lets steam escape.
10. Roll out remaining dough and repeat until all the dough has been cut into graham squares. You can also use a cookie cutter to make other graham shapes. I like graham circles, graham hearts, or graham animals.
11. Put cookie on lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. You may need to rotate cookies halfway through to ensure even baking.
12. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.
13. Cookies will keep in a Tupperware in the fridge for well over a week.
Not surprisingly, we never did have S’Mores. But we enjoyed graham cookies with fruit, chocolate, milk, peanut butter, jam… each combination is better than the last. I don’t think you can go wrong with graham crackers!