Tuesday, October 5, 2010

HoMeMade Honey Ginger GrahaM Crackers

Hey Ma,

Ok, so that soup you posted yesterday looks seriously delicious. I'm going to have to make it very soon, particularly if this cold weather we've had for the last couple of days sticks around any longer (you never know what October will bring here in the Bay Area). Thanks for giving me the recipe. I like having your recipes to cook from (and from other people I love). It's such a nice way to feel connected to someone.

Anyway, this weekend something really exciting happened: I baked for the first time since M was born. I love baking, like love love love love it. I find it incredibly relaxing and gratifying. Following a recipe requires just enough attention to keep my brain from spiraling away from me, but not so much attention that I can't get some really good thinking done while my hands work. I've been wanting to bake--longing, really--but what with the general chaos of our lives these days a window simply hadn't presented itself.

John and M went out to run errands for a few hours the other morning and G was still asleep. I decided doing something I really wanted with this time was more important than doing homework, which is what I--no joke--do with every second I have to myself these days (ok, I shower, too). I needed to fuel myself a bit and so I poured a cup of coffee, put on Loretta Lynn and busted out my cookbooks.


I decided I would try to make something I'd never made before--never even had a homemade version of before, in fact. As I perused my copy of "The Craft of Baking" by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox I stumbled across a recipe for homemade graham crackers. I checked the fridge and pantry and, having the ingredients (ok, having the ingredients needed if I halved the recipe...close enough), immediately set about baking.

I'm going to share the recipe as I slightly modified it with you. The only warning I'll give is that you definitely want to roll your dough for these as thinly as you dare. I think Dad would really enjoy these (they're not super sweet at all) and, based on the fact that they disappeared from the counter within a day, I'm guessing just about anybody else would, too. I can't wait to make them for M when she's a little older (you'll notice I punched mine with Ms in her honor). I have high hopes of making my own marshmallows and chocolate sometime, too, and preparing entirely homemade s'mores. If you're lucky, we'll be living close enough for you to stop by when I finally get around to this project.

Anyway, I love you. Back to the books for me.


you can double this recipe
1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
1/4+1/8 tspn. kosher salt (I'm sure there's a better way to articulate that measurement, but it's evading me right now)
1/4 tspn. baking soda
1/4 tspn. cinnamon
4 oz. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
1/8 c. packed light brown sugar (dark brown probably would've been better, but we didn't have it)
1/8 c. granulated ginger sugar (this was sugar I had leftover from making Dad candied ginger)
1/8 c. orange flower honey

In a bowl, mix well the all-prupose flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. In your electric mixer (oh wait--you don't have one) fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and honey. Mix until well combined. In two additions, add the dry ingredients, letting the first addition fully incorporate before adding the second.

Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place in the fridge until chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days (supposedly you can freeze the dough, too, for up to a month).

When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet (I have a silpat, but parchment paper would work I'm sure). On a lightly floured surface, unwrap your dough and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into rectangles the size that you desire (mine are roughly 2"x4") and use a spatula to transfer them to your baking sheet. You can reroll your dough scraps once to cut out more cookies. Using a fork, pierce each rectangle (I did two Ms and a line across the middle so the grahams would break in half nicely).

Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.