I’ve been thinking a lot about graham crackers lately. They’re so handy. And good. This past summer, they would have been great for smores. And as I ponder the upcoming baking season, I think they would be handy for cheesecake crusts. And, they’re always nice to have around as a snack.
Originally, graham crackers were made from graham flour, which is a combination of fine-ground white flour and coarse-ground wheat bran and germ. They have an interesting history. Apparently, the Reverend Sylvester Graham, who lived in Connecticut during the late 18th century through the middle 19th century, was an early advocate for dietary reform. He promoted vegetarianism, temperance, and eschewed additives in food (yes, even then), all in order to curb lust (!?). Graham crackers were part of the diet he developed. Originally, they were not nearly as sweet as modern graham crackers and were considered bland. They were kind of a mix between a savory cracker and a sweet cookie (info from Wikipedia, graham crackers). Nowadays, they are mostly made with whole wheat flour.
Anyway, over the years, I’ve played with various recipes for making gluten-free graham crackers. The recipe below is the happy result this experimentation–it makes great crackers! I quite pleased with it because it tastes good and stays crisp. It uses part white flour and part whole wheat flour. To mimic this, my adaptation uses part Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Mix, and part sorghum flour (also known as jowar). Sorghum flour is a whole grain flour and is slightly sweet. It’s heavier and a bit more coarse than rice or tapioca flours. For all of these reasons, I’ve chosen sorghum flour to replace the whole wheat flour in the recipe.
Gluten-Free Graham Crackers
Special Equipment Needed
-a food processor is quite handy for mixing all of the ingredients, but you can always use a pastry blender
-I use a fluted square cookie cutter that is 2 1/4 inches across. You can also use a fluted pastry cutter, or large knife for cutting dough into small squares
-fork to create the design on top of the cookie
Note: This recipe uses my flour mix:
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in a cool, dark place):
1 1/4 C (170g) brown rice flour
1 1/4 C (205g) white rice flour
1 C (120g) tapioca flour
1 C (165g) sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture (not baking mix) of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the crackers)
1 1/4 C (175g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1 C (120g) sorgum flour (also called jowar)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C (105g) packed dark brown sugar
8 TBL (1 stick; 4 oz; 115g) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 TBL honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
4-6 TBL ice water
extra tapioca flour for dusting
In the bowl of a food processor, place flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse a few times to mix (or mix in a large bowl with a pastry blender)
-add brown sugar and pulse a few times to mix (you may have to spread the sugar out in the flour mixture)
-add the butter pieces and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like coarse sand
-add honey, pulse a few more times to combine
-add vanilla, pulse to combine
-add water, pulse to combine–add more as needed to hold dought together
-you should now have a fairly stiff dough that sticks together
-divide the dough into two balls. Roll out each ball between two pieces of wax paper until the the dough is about 1/8 inch thick (the thinner the dough, the more crisp the crackers)
-this dough is sticky–you may need to sprinkle some tapioca flour on either side of the dough before rolling it between the pieces of wax paper for it to release easily
-put rolled out dough into refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up
-preheat your oven to 350 degrees
-once the dough is firm, take out the first rolled-out portion
-working quickly but carefully, using your cutter, cut out the crackers. Carefully place each cracker onto a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper (or that is greased)
-re-roll your dough between the sheets of wax paper and repeat the cutting and transfer process until all the dough is used.
-you will have about 15-20 crackers
-take a fork and prick three rows of holes down the center of each cracker (see above photo). Don’t prick all the way to the other side–just to the middle of the dough to create a nice pattern.
-place cookie sheet into preheated oven
-bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes
-remove from oven, let rest on sheet(s) for a few minutes, and then transfer crackers to cooling rack to cool completely
-Repeat entire process for the 2nd sheet of dough. Or you can store the second sheet of dough in the fridge for a couple of days until you need it.
Store baked crackers in an airtight container.
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