As a kid, I visited my grandmother every December. She used to bribe me to drink milk with the temptation of chocolate-covered graham crackers.
I'm not going to lie and tell you that making graham crackers at home is a quick and easy endeavor. You need graham flour, which I'll bet you don't have lying around your kitchen. (I've bought it online and in the "healthy" sections of regular grocery stores; Bob's Red Mill brand is the easiest to find.) And while making the dough is easy (2 minutes in a food processor), from start to finish, the recipe takes about 2 hours. Much of that time is spent waiting for the dough to chill, then bake, then cool. That said, it's worth it. Whereas store-bought grahams are crumbly and more cracker-like, these are crispy and fall squarely on the cookie side of the fence.
There are a few tips to making these shine. First, after you roll out the dough and cut it into squares or rectangles, don't pull off the excess. The edges of the dough tend to darken more quickly than the center. Better to have the jagged edges over-baked than the crackers themselves. Also, make sure to get the best chocolate you can (I use Callebaut; don't use chocolate chips!) and take the time to temper it. Use whatever method you like - I've described what has worked for me in the past. If you temper the chocolate, you really can store the crackers, chocolate and all, at room temperature without a problem.
I adapted this recipe from Joanne Chang's first cookbook, Flour, and from Alton Brown's online recipe. —zahavah
- Makes 3 dozen
1 1/2 cups
dark brown sugar
dark molasses and/or honey (I use 1 tablespoon molasses and 2 tablespoons honey)
milk (whole or low-fat)
1/4 to 1/2 pounds
dark or milk chocolate (amount depends on whether you want to drizzle with chocolate or more generously coat)
- Cut the butter into 1/4-inch cubes and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- Place in the bowl of a food processor both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse several times to combine. Then add the cold butter and continue to pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add molasses/honey, milk, and vanilla and process for about a minute until the dough forms a ball.
- Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Remove the chilled dough and divide it in half. Return the other half to the refrigerator. Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment until it is 1/8-inch thick.
- Remove the top sheet of parchment and slide the other sheet with the rolled-out dough onto a cookie sheet. You want to cut the dough into squares or rectangles – a traditional graham cracker is 2 x 2 -- but I made mine about 1 x 1.5 or so. Use a pizza cutter and straightedge to make vertical and horizontal cuts all the way across the dough. Don’t trim the excess. Use a fork to make holes in the crackers in whatever pattern you’d like. Don’t separate the crackers yet.
- Bake the crackers in the middle of the oven until the outer edges just start to darken, about 25 to 30 minutes. The crackers themselves won't color much. When you take them out, the dough will still feel a bit soft - that's what you want.
- Remove from oven, set the sheet pan with the crackers on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. As the crackers cool, they’ll harden.
- Once the crackers are completely cool (20 to 30 minutes), break them up.
- While the crackers are cooling, temper the chocolate. Use whatever method you like, or try what has worked well for me. Fill a small pot with 1/2-inch of water and bring to a simmer. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and place half of them in a large metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water, making sure that the water doesn't touch the bowl. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix the chocolate until it's almost completely melted. Take the bowl off the pot and wipe away any moisture from the bottom. Slowly add the remaining chocolate pieces, continuing to stir until each addition melts, and then add another few chunks. The chocolate will start to get glossy. The more you stir, the glossier your chocolate will be. If you have a candy thermometer, keep stirring until the chocolate reaches 90º F. No thermometer? No problem. Keep stirring and after about 10 minutes, dip a metal spoon in the chocolate, and then stick it in the refrigerator for 2 minutes for dark, 5 for milk. If it comes out set and glossy and not tacky to the touch, it’s perfect. If it’s still sticky, it’s not cool enough, and not tempered, so keep mixing and add any remaining chocolate pieces.
- To drizzle, lay the cooled crackers on a rack placed over parchment paper. Use a fork to drizzle the chocolate in a criss-cross pattern over the crackers. Let the chocolate harden. To coat, dip each cracker halfway (or all the way!) into the chocolate. Lay the dipped crackers directly on the parchment and wait for the chocolate to harden.
- Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you want to bake in advance, freeze the plain crackers and then add the chocolate before you want to serve.