“How wacky,” you say. “You don’t make graham crackers, you make things with graham crackers—like s’mores and pie crusts. Why bother?”
It’s no bother, and it’s totally worth it. A homemade graham cracker is like homemade pasta. Once you bite in, you can’t believe it could taste—and make you feel—that good. This recipe bakes up a graham cracker that’s crisp and sweet, with a toasted wheatiness and tang of molasses. Sure it’s familiar—you’ve had something like it before, from a box. But this is the real thing.
This Boston Globe recipe lay dormant for 42 years in my recipe box. When I dug it out and gave it a whirl recently, it was like discovering a comet or finding a lost Beatles track.
You can make a meal with Grahammies. My husband and I both grew up in households where a bowl of broken graham crackers submerged in milk constituted a valid lunch. The crackers turned into—thanks to the miracle of capillary action—a sweet ethereal mush in just seconds. I’m proud we passed this dish down to our kids. Rest assured, Grahammies will also disintegrate nicely in milk, although they might retain their crunch a few seconds longer. And I’ve got to believe they’re more wholesome.
Another reason to make your own is that Grahammies fall into the “easy” category—a breeze compared to sugar cookies. And you can probably make delicious vegan Grahammies by substituting your favorite plant-based beverage for the milk.
And while we’re on the topic of healthy ingredients, don’t be concerned that these do not call for graham flour, a coarse whole wheat flour named after The Reverend Sylvester Graham, the granddaddy of American vegetarianism. Regular whole wheat works great.
If it weren’t for Graham, though, all flour might still be white. In the early 1800s, he convinced millers to stop discarding the nutritious germ and bran. He preached temperance and eating wisely at a time doctors prescribed cutting out vegetables, eating lots of meat and drinking port wine to fight disease. Sadly, he died after following this very prescription, breaking his own rules in a desperate attempt to beat the Grim Reaper*.
While Grahammies can replace graham crackers as snacks and in recipes, go ahead and serve them as you would cookies and cakes. They’re that delicious. So let’s lift our milk glasses and toast Graham for making this recipe possible. And to the prospect of my making Grammy’s Grahammies for my grandson.
*Or, “Graham Reaper,” as my sister-in-law Grammy Sheila corrected.
Grahammies: Great Homemade Graham Crackers
Adapted from The Boston Globe, “Recipe Rack,” June 21, 1978
Allow time for the dough to chill, from one hour to overnight.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup shortening
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Scant ¾ cup milk
- Mix flours, baking powder, soda and salt on a large sheet of wax paper or in a medium bowl.
- Cream shortening, sugar and molasses in a large bowl until fluffy. Add vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture to the creamed shortening mixture, alternating with milk and mixing well after each addition. It should all come together into a pliable dough, so adjust milk as needed so that it is neither too dry nor too wet to handle.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, for an hour to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Divide dough into thirds. Roll out each portion on a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of lightly floured wax paper) and trim to make a rectangle about 6”x12” and 1/8″ thick. Save trimmed dough to roll into extra Grahammies.
- Transfer each rectangle to a greased baking sheet. Cut each rectangle into six 2” x 6” rectangles. Score a line across the center of each rectangle, so that when you break them in half you’ll have 12 2” x 3” Grahammies from each third of dough. Prick rectangles with a fork and separate slightly so they can brown around the edges. You can make the batches separately, baking one while rolling out the next. Or, roll all out and bake all at the same time.
- Bake at 350° about 18-20 minutes, or until crisp and edges are brown.
- Remove immediately to cool on wire racks. Makes about 18 double Grahammies, or 36 Grahammies after you break them apart.