How to make your own Graham crackers
Graham crackers are not readily available in Switzerland. An appropriate substitution for most uses, including cake bases and pie crusts, is digestive biscuits or ginger nut cookies, both available at Coop. Another option is to simply make your own graham crackers. The process is simple and only requires about an hour. Once you have tried fresh made graham crackers, I think you will find they are superior in cost, quality and taste.
List of ingredients needed:
- 150 gr. all-purpose flour
- 50 gr. whole wheat graham flour (available in most Reformhaus locations)
- 30 gr. dark brown sugar (see below)
- 2 gr. baking soda
- 2 gr. salt
- 45 gr. butter
- 85 gr. honey
- 40 ml water
Combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix together the butter, honey, and water, then add it to the flour. Mix until the dough is smooth and pliable, but be careful to avoid over-mixing. Cover the dough with plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to a thickness of ½-cm, dusting with flour to prevent sticking. Mark the dough with a fork, then cut into 5-cm squares or rounds. Place the crackers on a parchment paper-lined baking tray, and bake in a 160°C oven (no fan) for 15 minutes. The crackers should be slightly soft with just a touch of browning around the edges.
You can keep freshly made graham crackers for up to one week in an airtight container.
If you can't find graham flour, feel free to replace it in equal quantities with whole wheat flour. Instead of honey, you can also use *Birnel Syrup* – available in most large markets. If you can't find brown sugar, simply make your own: mix 100 gr. of extra fine (not powdered) sugar with 15 gr. of good quality molasses.
If you want to just make crumbs, then roll out the dough a bit thinner, cut into small pieces (it's not necessary to be exact), transfer the pieces to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 160° C until dark golden brown (about 5-7 minutes longer than the crackers). When the pieces are cold, process them in a food processor to make fine crumbs. Store in an airtight container for several weeks.
A little history
The graham cracker was originally developed as a health food snack in the 1830s by the Rev. Sylvester Graham, a US cleric and dietary reformer. It is essentially a whole-wheat cracker that has been sweetened, usually with honey. The flour that is used, graham flour, is a whole wheat flour that is slightly coarser than regular grind. It is available in some health food stores. Graham-cracker crust is made from a mixture of finely crushed graham crackers, sugar and butter that is pressed into a pie pan. It is usually baked, but it can simply be chilled before being filled.