Good News: Bad News, or as it’s called at one of the camps Gus has worked as a counselor: “Rose, Thorn, Bud.” The kids go around the end-of-day circle, reporting on the best thing of the day, the worst thing, and that to which they’re most looking forward. It seems right that one should end on an optimistic note, so first my bad news. It has to do with the cheesecake I was inspired to make after listening to a pre-Valentine’s Day NPR interview with Nigella Lawson who is promoting her new cook book Nigellissima. The recipe includes a graham cracker crust. Because I was pressed for time, I purchased pre-made “graham crackers” at Hannaford Brothers, a market that has been committed to stocking a wide variety of GF foods.
Thorn: Kinnikinnick (www.kinnikinnick.com), a reliable Canadian gluten-free food company that makes the first bagels we thought came remotely close to conventional ones, offers a “graham cracker” like product called S’moreables. Because the quality of what is readily available has improved dramatically in the 14 years we’ve been practicing a GF diet, there is no excuse for S’moreables. The urine colored packaging and prescriptive look and feel of the cookie should have been fair warning about the texture and taste. On a scale of 1 – 10? One. I couldn’t plan to use enough butter, sugar, and cinnamon to remediate them.
Rose: Determined to make the cheesecake, I carved out the time to bake graham crackers. The original basis for GGFB Co. was our cookies. While we will offer those recipes, we have other ideas about how to do it. The S’Moreables experience demonstrated an emergent need to alter the plan. And so, the recipe for GF Graham Crackers; you may never go back to conventional ones, even if you can!
Second Rose: The Hannaford Customer Service gal graciously accepted the return of the opened S’moreables package and refunded the purchase price. I’ll fill out a comment card. Fingers crossed the Health/GF food buyer will take note.
Bud: I’m delighted to share our recipe for homemade “graham” crackers and hope you’ll make them often for pie crusts, campfire S’Mores, or as pictured at the end of the recipe, to eat with creme fraiche, your favorite jam, and a cup of strong coffee. They are a uniquely simple pleasure and one of my favorite cookies. Enjoy!
P.S. The recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Cheesecake with GF “Graham” Cracker Crust will follow in a day or so….
Best Graham Crackers – just happen to be GF
The dough will need to be wrapped and chilled for at least an hour, so don’t start the oven just yet…,
2 cups (6oz.) GF Flour Mix (ours, or Trader Joe’s.)
1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz.) oat flour (grind your own in a coffee mill.)
1/2 cup (4oz.) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons chilled butter
3 tablespoons iced water (plus more if needed)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon GF vanilla
1. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed to blend.
2. Using a coarse grater, shred the butter over the dry ingredients and mix on low to coat.
3. In a small bowl or small glass measuring cup, combine the water, honey, molasses, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix on medium low to form a dough. If it doesn’t come together add a little more iced water one teaspoon at a time until the dough forms a nice ball.
4. Form the ball into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
5. Heat the oven to 325 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
6. Roll out the dough on a GF floured surface, cut into 3 x 3 inch squares, transfer to the cookie sheets, leaving a little space around each “cracker” and prick in 4-5 places with a fork. (If you’re baking these to make a dessert crust, feel free to bake the free form scraps of dough instead of gathering the dough, and rolling it out again to make squares.)
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the cookie sheets half way through the cooking time. Turn off the oven, open it slightly for a few minutes to reduce the heat, then close the oven and let the cookies rest in the warm oven for 10-15 more minutes or until cool. This will ensure crispy graham crackers.
Optional: sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the the cookies before baking.