...comes from the best graham cracker crumbs. Contrary to what the Frankenfood people say, the best graham cracker crumbs do not come from boxes. No, those actually taste like...shh, come closer....sweetened cardboard. I can't stop you from using them. I can't even stop you from buying the crusts that have already been lovingly pressed into foil pans by heartless robots. What I can do is tell you that the best graham cracker crumbs come from the best graham crackers. And the best graham crackers come from your kitchen. No, not from the pantry, smart guy! From your oven.
They aren't hard to make, I promise. And, once you've made them, save some for eating and then grind the rest up in the food processor and freeze them. That way, you'll be ready to make a mean crumb crust at the drop of a hat. By the way, Honey Maid Graham Crackers have a 182-day shelf-life. Plus, they contain partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Do you really want to eat them?
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat (or Graham) flour
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. salt, or to taste
- 8 oz. butter
- 5 oz. dark brown sugar (you can use light, if that's what you have)
- 2 T. honey
Thoroughly whisk together dry ingredients. Cream butter, brown sugar and honey until smooth. You're not looking for light and fluffy, just a homogeneous blend. After all, we are making crackers, not cake.
Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough just comes together. Remove from mixer and roll out between two sheets of parchment to about 1/8" thickness. Chill this sheet o' dough until firm-ish.
You can cut these with cutters, just bake it in a sheet, or you can slice them into thin rectangles and poke them with a fork to look like the boxed kind. No need to separate them before baking. You can break them apart when they're cool.
Sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar before baking, if you want. Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheet/s at 350 degrees, F, until golden and firm--the timing depends on if you've cut them apart or are baking them as one humongous cookie.
You know how sometimes when you try and cut through a crumb crust, you can't do it? "It's just crumbs, What the...?" you think. The crust gets really hard when there's a lot of sugar in the dough. So, if you want your crust to cut easily, don't add extra sugar. If you've added cinnamon sugar to the tops of your crackers, you might want to cut the crumbs with some finely ground nuts to lower the sugar concentration. (Thank you, Shirley Corriher, for teaching me this).
To make your crust, take some graham crumbs and mix them with melted butter and the optional nuts until it just holds together. Then, press it into the pie pan and bake at 350 degrees, F, for about 8 minutes to set the crust.
So, I've done what I can do. I've explained about the shelf life of commercially produced graham crackers. I have, I hope, dispelled any illusions you might harbor of a little grandmother busily making crumb crusts so you can buy them at the store. I have offered a simple recipe. Now, I must rest. Do what you will, people, but do write and tell me how awesome your homemade graham crackers are.