Saturday, October 13, 2012

Challenge #3: Homemade Graham Crackers

I've been wanting to make s'mores, but before I decided to do this, I wanted to make homemade graham crackers.  I started with Smitten Kitchen's recipe and although it started off OK, I found that the time and temperature promptly burned my cookies, but more on that later.

They're not hard to make - just time consuming as the dough needs to be chilled, and then you can only roll out so much dough at any given point because it warms up and becomes very sticky to work with.

Most bakers have a variety of tools hanging around the kitchen.  As you can tell, the round spatula has seen a lot of work.  It was actually my Mom's spatula that she gave me a few years ago, and since it's one of my fatter ones, I thought it'd work much better for this particular task.  One day I'll buy marble and French style rolling pins to add to my toolbox, but for now the old wooden one does the job.  I'm not sold on the plastic ones because they usually have molding seams that imprint your dough.  The cookie plunger I found on came in handy for making these cookies.

This is probably a better shot to show you what I'm talking about.  You get a nice uniform cookie shape with the holes to make it look cute.

Here's the first wet dough cookie tossed onto the cookie sheet, covered with cinnamon and nutmeg.  I opted not to add sugar as there's quite a bit already in the dough.

Here's where the time and temperature on Smitten Kitchen's recipe doesn't work - or at least, didn't work for me.  The cookies on the right were cooked at 17 minutes (her range was 15-20 minutes), and the cookies on the left were cooked at 13 minutes.  In the end, I found 12 minutes at 340 degrees worked better for me.  Yes, they weren't really crunchy, but they also weren't burnt (I lost around 30 cookies on the first batch).

I ended my baking experience with 107 edible cookies, and that doesn't include 30+ burnt cookies from the first batch.

Overall, it's rather fun to make these cookies, but since you can only roll out so much dough at a time, it's also time consuming.  Would I make these again?  Maybe.  If this were for a holiday cookie swap or for gifting perhaps.  If it were for everyday, I'd probably by store bought even though the homemade has much better flavor and don't have the consistency of cardboard.

Happy Eats!   :)

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