Well hello! I haven’t disappeared. Life has been incredibly busy, and with the dwindling available hours of natural light, I’ve found it hard to present you with a beautiful set of images. Because you deserve that. You do.
It hasn’t been too cold here yet, but as per usual, the wet-cold creeps into your joints and makes every degree cooler feel more uncomfortable than it needs to be. Tea, coffee, a steaming beverage, and some graham crackers are a perfect remedy. Or a coping mechanism. Let’s be real.
I ate a lot of boxed graham crackers as a child. Either dipped in cold milk (my favorite) or into hot mint tea (which was a perilously quick maneuver that I never entirely mastered). I imagine most people have eaten their fair share. But do you know the creepy, strange history behind them?
Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister from New Jersey, invented the originally unsweetened cracker in 1829, utilizing a flour that bears his name to this day–a combination of finely ground unbleached wheat flour with the wheat bran and the germ ground more coarsely and thrown back into the mix. The flour was just one idea within his extreme lifestyle philosophy , which included the Graham Diet–a diet designed to suppress “carnal urges.” Somehow the man thought that children eating normal crackers would lead them into a life of masturbation and wild sexual encounters. So, he made bland food into a form of punishment (and a whole lot of other crazy, horrific inhuman things that I will not go into here. Let’s just agree that you can read about it on your own time…if you want).
Innocent snack, ruined? Nah.
I think we can take some things away from this history lesson. Whole ground flours are healthful as well as delicious, which is why I used whole buckwheat here. It’s nearly impossible to find real Graham flour these days, and buckwheat has a great, nutty and dark flavor that rivals whole wheat. Plus it goes fabulously with brown sugar and cinnamon.
I suggest, for maximum historical irony, drinking a strong hot toddy alongside these…perhaps in your underwear.
Buckwheat Brown Sugar Graham Crackers
A nutty, roasty take on an American classic–the ideal dipper for tea or milk on November days…
Massively adapted from this blogger.
- 4 oz. finely ground unroasted buckwheat flour (not kasha)
- 1/2 oz. tapioca starch (together with buckwheat should be about 1 c.)
- 3/4 oz. brown sugar (about 1/4 c. unpacked)
- hearty pinch kosher salt
- 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. ground cinnamon/cassia
- 2 T. cold butter
- 1/4 c. cold whey or milk
- Mix your dry ingredients well.
- Add cold butter in small pieces, blending quickly with your fingers or a pastry blender (a fork helps too) until slightly sandy.
- Add milk and knead into a ball. If it seems dry, don’t add more liquid, just work it for a little more time.
- Form a smooth disc and cover well; let cool in fridge for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 and roll out dough between Silpats or parchment paper (will most likely be rather sticky) to about 1/4″. Cut into rectangular shapes and prick with a fork. Leave on Silpat or parchment and transfer entire sheet to a tray for baking.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until edges are brown. You may want to run your knife along the cuts to help individualize each crack to help brown evenly.