30 September 2014

Alice Medrich's Cinna-Grahams

Today I'm going to encourage you to make Graham Crackers. Cinna-Grahams, as a matter of fact. This is my second batch of these in two weeks. I just had to make them again and this time I added cinnamon to the dough and sprinkled the tops with cinnamon-sugar rather than plain sugar. These grahams are special, authentic and healthy and brought to you by none other than Alice Medrich. They come together quickly, and have no white flour. Yes, that's right. Alice Medrich, author of my favorite brownies is also known to kick around in the whole grain flours realm. She's coming out with a new book soon, but this recipe is actually from her old book and was recently posted on Food52

To make Grahams, you'll need some graham flour, which is a nuttier, slightly coarser form of whole wheat flour, and some oat flour ( just grind rolled oats until powdery in a coffee grinder) and the rest, I'm sure you have already: milk, honey, vanilla, sugar and optionally cinnamon. The dough is mixed in a food processor but I don't see why doing it by hand wouldn't work if you don't have one. I found the process quite streamlined, very similar in technique to the Ivy Manning Rye Crisps I posted a year ago on here, and the results ideal: homey, crispy, rustic and available to be kept in the pantry several days for afternoon or mid-morning snacking or to dole out to anyone you see, which is always, you know, nice. 

You can keep the dough patties wrapped a day or two. Ideally, with cookies or crackers that are new, I like to make a  batch or two to understand the dough, before sharing with you. Having made these twice, I tweaked a few things in the process. Since I have a small oven and subsequently small sheet pans, I found it best to work with a half batch of dough at a time. This helped in the rolling out and let them have a bit more room on the sheet pan. You need to be sure the big cracker you roll out is uniform in thinness, and having less to roll helps with this. Lastly, I baked for the full 25 minutes and found them to be just right on the crispness front. And, I don't think I have to tell you this, but grahams are perfect as they are as a snack, particularly if you add the cinnamon, but they also don't mind a thin schmear of peanut butter and a dollop of honey atop if you're feeling fancy. And one bit of Housekeeping: I'm on ShopRite's Blog this week with delish raisin bran muffins. They actually appeared on here a year ago, and when life gives you raisins...you make these muffins. They are super-good. 

Cinnamon Graham Crackers 

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen grahams

notes: I used the grams measurements! These are grahams after all : ) Below is a half recipe from Alice's original. I recommend this amount if you have a small processor or want to take your time with getting to know the dough. If you're cooking for a lot, the whole recipe can be found via Food52 via Cirspy Crunchy Melt in Your Mouth.

3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp (113 grams) Graham flour 
1/4 c + 1.5 tsp (26 grams) oat flour
2 Tbsp (25 grams) sugar + 1-2 tsp for sprinkling
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp for sprinkling (optional)
3 Tbsp (42 grams) cubed cold butter, unsalted (if you only have salted on hand, use half the amount of salt above)
1.5 Tbs (32 grams) honey
1.5 Tbs whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Place both flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon if using, baking powder and soda into a food processor and blitz a few times to combine (or whisk well). Drop the butter cubes atop and pulse until you have a cornmeal texture. 

In a small bowl or cup, blend the milk, honey and vanilla, until the honey disolves. Pour into the processor and blitz a few times until the dough is moistened and comes together as a uniform mass. It does not have to form a ball, but moistened clumps are good. Dump out dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap.

Pat the dough into a square patty about 6-7 inches. Divide this in half with a knife or bench scraper, and wrap both in plastic.

Place patties in fridge 20-30 minutes to rest (at this point dough can be stored up to 48 hours in fridge well wrapped. Let sit out 10 mins before using). Heat the oven to 350 while dough rests.

If baking both dough patties at once, set racks in top and lower third of oven and get two sheet pans and two sheets parchment. If baking one sheet, set oven rack in center. 

Unwrap a dough patty and place it on a sheet of parchment. You'll transfer this to the pan momentarily. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness rectangle, making sure the center is not thicker than the edges. Prick dough with a fork all over and sprinkle with cinna-sugar. Score dough evenly into roughly 2x2 cuts. Repeat with the other patty if using. 

Bake 20-25 minutes, turning tray 180 degrees halfway through and switching both pans from top to bottom. Grahams are done when the edges are darker brown and the crackers are a nice golden brown throughout. Important: let cool on rack completely. Let cool for a bit as a sheet, then break the crackers at their score marks and continue to cool. Store airtight for a week or so. 

*if not completely crisp after the cool, Alice says you can return them to the oven at 325 for 10 mins. I didn't have this problem because I baked for the full 25. 

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