Graham crackers worth the work

  • Tue Jan 17th, 2012 11:41am
  • Life

By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist

“Living the dream” and making our own homemade graham crackers, too?

Hey, hey, hey, let’s have at it right now, with not only two nearly identical cracker recipes — thanks to two Forum helpers — but the “dream” as well, to top things off today.

Former “here” but now “there” in Twisp JoAnn Hartle writes, “I’ve missed reading the Forum since I’ve moved here from Marysville. But I woke up early and decided to get online and check out what you and your readers have been up to. Lo and behold, someone was looking for graham crackers!

“You’re in luck, Judy and Forum cooks, because my husband’s Auntie Betty gave me a ‘Better Homes &Garden Cook Book’ years ago. I thought, just maybe, a recipe for these crackers might be in it.

“I must admit, I really don’t like going online looking for recipes. I have a pretty nice collection of about every cookbook you can imagine. Silly me!

“Anyway, here’s the recipe from Auntie Betty’s cookbook.”

Now for the dream part of today’s program: JoAnn says, “We’re loving living in the Methow Valley. It snowed 16 inches the other day, so it’s a winter-wonderland setting at our cabin. Quiet, peaceful, and we’re definitely living the dream.”

Next, and bless her heart, Snohomish cook Judith Campbell sent along an almost-matching recipe and tells us, “I took this recipe out of a Better Homes &Garden magazine years ago, and found that homemade are better than store-bought crackers.”

The only differences in the two recipes JoAnn and Judith shared with us are the cinnamon and sugar, which we have listed in this recipe as optional.

Incidentally, for those of us who love a bit of history to go with a recipe, JoAnn included this info on her recipe copy:

“In the early 1800s, the Rev. Sylvester Graham was a temperance lecturer and a nutritional ‘expert.’

“He encouraged the use of coarse cereals, which later led to breakfast cereals. He also urged the use of more fruits and vegetables in the American diet.

“Yet, for all his work, he is known in history as something of a crank, barely tolerating the use of milk, eggs, honey, salt, shellfish or pork.

“In 1835, specialized shops featuring Graham-approved foods were started. The graham cracker, however, is perhaps his most well-known legacy in America.”

Honey-wheat-cinnamon graham crackers

2cups whole-wheat flour

1cup all-purpose flour

1teaspoon baking powder

1/2teaspoon baking soda

1/4teaspoon salt

1/2-3/4cup brown sugar

1/2cup shortening

1/4-1/3cup honey

1teaspoon vanilla

1/2cup milk

3tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)

1teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

Stir together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cream together brown sugar and shortening until light. Beat in honey and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour mixture alternately with milk to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Chill dough several hours or overnight. Divide chilled mixture into quarters. On well-floured surface, roll each quarter to a 5-by-15-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle crosswise into 6 small rectangles measuring 2 1/2-by-5 inches. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Mark a line crosswise across center of each small rectangle with tines of fork; score a pattern of holes in squares with fork tines.

If desired, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the crackers.

Bake at 350 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet at once.

Makes 24 crackers.

The next Forum will appear in Friday’s comics pages.