Saturday, 15 March 2014

Graham crackers

Graham crackers (Please view my earlier post, saltine crackers for elaborate discussion on 'crackers') are mildly sweet cracker, that are named after its  creator,  Sylvester Graham.  They are made from graham flour, which is coarsely ground whole wheat flour.  Honestly, I haven’t tasted one, but curious enough to try them out due to their magnified applications in S’mores,   crust for cheese cake, etc


 Their texture and taste achieves an  perfect balance,  that lies between an cookie and cracker.  And when I browsed through Smitten Kitchen’spage, I was confident that I could make them, thanks to her simplistic method.  J  Only ingredient I had to replace here is bleached all –purpose flour instead of unbleached one since, I could not find one at my place  :/  To those, who are quite new at this,  APF is generally processed, in order to yield that bright white colour, before packing commercially.  For this processing, this flour is made to pass through  chemicals or preservatives.  So, the normal flour, you buy at grocery stores are all bleached ones.  Unbleached flour, on the other hand, is less processed with an pale colour, which makes it not only healthy, but also used extensively in baking.  I learnt that unbleached ones yield an little rough texture on the output (Which makes them important in our ‘cracker’ preparation), unlike bleached one, that yields softer  output.  However, an basic substitute of unbleached one will be an mix of bleached flour and whole wheat flour.

 
 Since this is an mix of APF and wheat flour, I would consider this as an guilt-free snack, that I could offer to my family.  Not only sweet, they were also flavourful  with an dash of cinnamon at the top.

PREPARATION TIME:  25 minutes (excluding overnight refrigeration)
BAKING TIME:   10-15 minutes (I made about four to five batches with same time)
YIELD:   60-65 crackers

INGREDIENTS REQUIRED:

·         1 cup of  All purpose flour
·         ¼ cup of whole wheat flour (I used Aashirvaad branded wheat flour)
·         ½ cup of brown sugar
·         ½ tsp Baking soda
·         ½ tsp salt
·         3 tbspn butter
·         ¼ cup honey
·         2 tbspn milk
·         1 tbspn vanilla essence
For the topping
·         1 tsp  cinnamon powder
·         2 tbspn granulated white sugar

METHOD:

Combine  all purpose flour, wheat flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.  Mix them thoroughly, keep aside.




Add all the butter and combine them well into our dry mixture till they resemble bread crumbs.




 Also, whisk  honey, milk and vanilla essence in an separate bowl and add to our crumbly mixture.



Knead them using hand into an soft dough.  Don’t worry if the dough is too soft or sticky, add few tsps of flour and knead them again. Alternatively, one could use an food processor also. 


Press them into 1-inch rectangle, cover this in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 


Next day, morning,  I kept them at room temperature for about an hour.  After that I kneaded them, be careful that unkneaded dough will ooze out honey or yield an uncrisp cracker.  I dusted some flour into my working table and rolled them out till the sheet reaches one eighth inch thickness.  Also note that dough will be sticky, so dusting with lots of flour, will be helpful. 




For easy cutting, when my sheet reached required thickness, I cut them into square shape and gathered bits around them, kept  sideways.   (Which will be rolled again, to form an second batch)




Now,  I measured them, and accordingly drew lines to form 5*5 squares.    The measurements can be done as you desired, or in accordance with the square you achieved,  but let me tell you, my square was 4 cm in length. 



Now I punched holes in them, with help of grilling stick.  One could also use lollypop sticks or toothpicker etc. 
I sprinkle toppings (Which is mix of cinnamon powder and sugar) and press them with the help of roller.


Finally,  now transfer this to baking sheet and chill for atleast twenty minutes.  Pre-heat the oven alternatively, for 180 degree Celsius. 





I, baked them for about ten to twelve minutes.  I, suggest you guys to start watching at nineth minute, as baking may vary from oven to oven, also this cracker is highly sensitive, and may get easily burnt.  Bake them, till they are slightly brown near the edges and cool completely in wire rack.  Serve with an glass of milk.  Happy Baking :)




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