If you uncover any more graham cracker-related conspiracies, please contact me. I need to know.
If the heat of summer has got you all sweaty and lathered, I propose cooling your jets with some homemade graham crackers. For extra measure, substitute saltpeter for cinnamon in the topping as listed in the recipe below.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that Nancy Silverton's recipe for these beauties is the very last word, so who am I to argue? Here is her recipe, more or less. Mostly more.
Makes about 10 4" crackers or 20 2" ones. The math is easy.
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry or all-purpose flour. Unbleached. Dr. Graham loathed bleached flours, so please bear that in mind.
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup honey (mildly flavored, like clover)
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse just enough to incorporate the ingredients. Add butter and pulse until mixture is the consistency of coarse meal.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse until the dough just comes together. Don't worry, it's supposed to be sticky.
3. Turn dough onto a lightly-floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch in thickness. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm; anywhere from 2 hours to overnight.
4. Prepare the topping by combining sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
5. Divide the dough in half and return the unused half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto your work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8" think. The dough will still be sticky, so flour as needed. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4" wide. Working with the short side that should be facing you, cut the strip every 4 1/2". (I chose to make mine 2" wide, but that is a personal preference.) Place crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with topping, and refrigerate. Repeat rolling and cutting actions with the second half of the dough. If you are frugal and not lazy, gather the remaining dough scraps, re-form, refrigerate and repeat. The crackers should chill to firm for another 30 to 45 minutes.
6. Preheat your oven to 350º F and adjust the oven racks to the upper and lower positions.
7. Make a vertical line through the middle of the crackers, being careful not to cut all the way through the dough. Score them. That's the better word. Prick the dough in decorative rows. But not too many. Mine look rather like dominoes.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm-to-tough. Rotate baking sheet (or sheets, depending on how many you are making) half way through baking to ensure an even doneness.
9. Let the them and your passions cool, put on a nice Andy Williams album, place a cracker or two in the unhairy palm of your hand and enjoy with a wholesome glass of milk.