The Goodness of Graham Crackers
Sturdy, dependable, and always reliable.
That describes graham crackers. But it could also describe my late-Dad, and probably so many other fathers out there.
Having recently attended my first stadium concert in more than two decades, it got me to remembering how my Dad would drive across the Bridge, ferrying my friends and I to the Oakland Coliseum when we were teens to see this or that concert. He’d drive home, then patiently wait a couple hours before making the drive again to pick us up after the last note was played, weaving his way through traffic and a crowded parking lot to find us.
I took his chauffeuring for granted then. Now, of course, I realize what a royal pain that must have been for him. Yet he never complained or tried to talk us out of going to see our favorite band. He just happily obliged to help make it all happen for his little girl.
If he were still around today, I would thank him for that — and so much more. But since he’s not, I’ll just mix, roll out and bake a batch of these graham crackers that carry a taste of nostalgia with every snappy bite.
The recipe is from San Jose’s 2nd Story Bakeshop. Founder Christy Ikezi demonstrated these at one of my Macy’s Santa Clara cooking demos. It’s a simple cracker, well, cookie, really.
Ikezi’s original recipe calls for a mix of all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, which together do result in a cookie with a profoundly graham flavor. But when Bob’s Red Mill sent me a sample of its Organic Whole Wheat Graham Flour, I decided to swap out the whole wheat flour for that instead. Truth be told, though, graham flour is actually whole wheat flour — just ground more coarsely. Bob’s Red Mill’s version is made from northern hard red wheat. It contains all the germ, oil, and fiber from the whole wheat kernel
Honey, brown sugar, and granulated sugar add a touch of sweetness to these cookies. You can cut them into any shape you like. How many cookies you end up with will depend on the size cutter you use.
Ikezi uses the tines of a fork to pierce each cookie a few times. I actually used a skinny chopstick to make even more distinctive holes.
These crisp, old-fashioned cookies are great all on their own. Or as the basis of an ice cream sandwich. They’re good smeared with a little peanut butter and jam, too.
Close your eyes, take a bite, and remember all the ways you’re grateful for your Dad. Don’t forget to share a few with him on his special day, too.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup graham flour or whole-wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
Sift together the flour, graham or whole-wheat flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and honey. Mix on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, letting the first fully combine before you add the second.
Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Unwrap the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface, until about 1/8-inch thick. Use any cookie cutter you like to cut out the dough and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Re-roll the scraps of dough once and cut out again. Using a fork or skinny chopstick, pierce each cookie two or three times (depending on the size and the desired look).
Bake graham crackers, rotating the sheets halfway through, until they are golden brown, 14 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
The graham crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Adapted from a recipe by San Jose’s 2nd Story Bakeshop