Sunday, December 30, 2007

graham crackers

I came back from my sunny vacation, only to be met with dreary weather and gray skies. As I found myself slipping into the post-vacation blues, the only cure I could think of for my sad state was making some comfort food... homemade graham crackers. Mmmm, remember eating these out of the box when you were little? Somehow they always made me feel better. The graham cracker definitely doesn't get enough recognition. Often overshadowed by fancier, more buttery cookies with chips and nuts, the graham cracker is sadly shooed into a dark corner of the cookie world. Maybe it should be renamed a graham cookie or just a really damn good honey and cinnamon crisp. And let's rethink the dull shapes for a moment... perhaps if they didn't come in such banal slabs, and instead in endearing shapes and cutouts, they'd fall back into favor.

I felt like a kid making these cookies, cutting the dough out into shapes of my favorite animals, pigs and owls. (I love pigs for their loyalty and owls for their they say.) What a lighthearted and comforting way to send out the old year and welcome the new. And a kitchen that smells of sweet butter and cinnamon to boot!

Happy 2008 to everyone.

Graham Crackers
makes about 3 dozen cutouts

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp honey

1. Combine the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, both sugars and honey until light and pale in color, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the dry ingredients and blend well for the dough to come together. With your hands, form into a ball.

2. Between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper, roll out the dough to about 1/8" thickness. Use cookie cutters to make desired shapes, or a pizza cutter to cut out rectangles for a traditional graham cracker shape. Carefully transfer cutouts onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or Silpat.

3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up the cookies. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F.

4. Remove the cookie sheets from the refrigerator and with a fork, gently poke a few holes in each cutout. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until they are a golden brown. Remove, and cool completely on the baking sheets.