Three down… and only twenty-seven left to go! Even if I do feel like the tortoise in the race, I’m slowly but surely tackling my ’30 Before 30′ list. This time around, it’s the Graham Cracker.
This is some of the stickiest dough I’ve ever worked with, but no bother, because these were so much fun to make. It took almost all day for the entire process, so I’m glad that I had a calm, relaxing Sunday (which is quite rare) to enjoy baking them. They reminded me of past school lunches and class parties where the Room Mom (normally mine) would bring in Graham Crackers and PB as the snack. Even now, as an adult, it’s such a tasty little treat… PB and all. My choice? Dark Chocolate Dreams, of course.
Just make sure that you have a large workspace with plenty of room to roll out your dough… and be prepared to get flour everywhere. I’m still finding it on my camera.
Source: Pastries from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton
Yields: 15 large crackers
2-1/2 c + 2 tbsp pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 c dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 c mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tbsp whole milk
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more flour and roll out the dough to get about two or three more crackers.
Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.