18 December 2011

(Vegan, GF!!) Graham Crackers!

It had been a while since I've had graham crackers. To be perfectly honest, I hadn't exactly been fiending for them; however, at my recent birthday gathering, I thought it might be fun to make s'mores. Sadly, I couldn't find any graham crackers that would be suitable for a gluten-free vegan. I grabbed some standard organic grahams for my guests, and then tried to experiment, very creatively, with a GF, allergy-friendly cookie.1 The results of the pseudo-s'more were way too sweet for my tastes, but several people preferred them to the graham cracker version. Go figure.

Gluten free graham crackers are becoming somewhat easier to find, but, is it just me, or do most of them seem to be little animal shapes? It sorta puts a damper on things, if you're interested in making s'mores, and I'd feel bad crushing all those cute little bunnies into a crust. The shape isn't really relevant, I suppose, since classic2 graham crackers aren't vegan anyway - you know, honey.3


Not too long after the s'mores experiment, I was concocting a cheezecake recipe. Cheezecake = Yummy Filling + Graham Cracker Crust.  I have a go-to recipe for a graham-like crust, but I thought it would be nice to make a crust out of actual crushed graham crackers (GF and vegan ones, obviously).
While, honey certainly contributes to the signature graham cracker flavor, you won't miss it. Even without the honey, the flavor is exactly how I remember graham crackers to be. Unlike graham crackers made with gluten, these grahams don't create that gummy paste that sticks to your mouth. Instead, they are pleasantly light and crisp, and don't require keeping a beverage within close reach.4
Mini-caveat: these little guys require a bit of patience, but only because the dough can be a bit temperamental if it gets warm. The results are so, so worth it though.

Gluten Free, Vegan Graham Crackers
(makes approx. 8 4"x2" crackers)
  • 2/3 Cup (85g) All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I used my own blend)
  • 1/3 Cup (45g) Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder (or 1/4 tsp Baking Soda + 1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar)
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
  • 4 modest Tbsp (35g) Coconut Palm Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp (20g) Unsulfured Molasses
  • 1 Tbsp (21g) Coconut Nectar or Agave
  • 2 Tbsp (30g) Earth Balance Coconut Spread (or your preferred vegan buttery spread)
  • 2 tsp (10g) Vanilla Extract 
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Chia
  • 1 Tbsp Non-dairy milk
  • Additional Tapioca Flour for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon + 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar for topping (optional)
Oven: 325F/160C
Bake time: 12-14 mins

Lightly grease or line a baking sheet (rectangular works best) with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, chia and salt. Mix well.
In a separate cup or small bowl, mix together coconut sugar and molasses, until thoroughly combined. The resulting mixture should be the consistency of brown sugar5.

Add your brown sugar to a separate bowl, along with the (very cold) buttery spread, coconut nectar and vanilla, and beat/cream together - a fork works quite nicely. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix until evenly combined.
Add the tablespoon of "milk", and continue to mix, until a smooth, uniform dough forms. You can use a food processor for this step, as well. Shape the dough into a ball and dust lightly with tapioca flour.

Turn the dough onto a sheet of parchment or wax paper and flatten into a rectangular shape. Thickness isn't important, but you can aim for approximately 1/2 to 3/4. Cover with another sheet of parchment/wax paper, and allow the dough to chill and rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and carefully roll out into a rectangle, between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thickness. Try to work quickly in order to keep the dough from becoming too warm. Dust lightly with tapioca, as needed. You can also place the dough back into the fridge or freezer for a bit, if it gets too unruly.

Once your dough is rolled out, cut your grahams into any size or shape you prefer. You want space between your grahams so they don't stick to each other. If you're going for the classic rectangular shape, you can either:
--(carefully) Peel each cracker from the parchment and arrange on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet.
OR
--Use a pizza cutter or pastry wheel to cut 1/2 inch (or greater) strips between your grahams. Carefully peel up the strips. Slide the parchment directly on to the baking sheet, and use the dough to re-roll into more grahams. This method may require the use of more than one baking sheet.
I used a Japanese chopstick to poke the classic "graham cracker holes" in each cracker. This, of course, is optional.

Once the grahams are rolled and arranged on the baking sheet, pop them in the freezer for  approx. 5 minutes, before transferring the baking sheet to the pre-heated oven.

Sprinkle the grahams with cinnamon sugar, if desired, and bake for 10-12 minutes. The grahams should be lightly and evenly browned; you don't want the edges to darken.
Allow the grahams to cool on the baking sheet; they will continue to firm up as they cool. Then carefully remove them from the sheet with a metal spatula.

Enjoy them as they are; top them with a few slices of banana6; try ripe banana and dark chocolate for a twist on the traditional s'more, or grab your favorite vegan marshmallows, if you're not into "twists".
When baking them strictly for pie crust, I'd (highly) recommend just rolling out a few sheets/blobs/what-have-you. Skip trying to cut out nice even rectangles; it will make your life7 easier.

Enjoy!


1. Yes; they were store-bought [cringe]. I was really short on time.
2.  Some of those little chocolate (animal) "grahams" are vegan, though.
3. The stuff collected by bees. I wasn't calling you honey, Honey.
4. This is the difference between enjoying your grahams with a beverage, and requiring a beverage, for the prevention of a potentially hazardous situation. 
5. You just made your own unrefined brown sugar! Aren't you excited?
6. This is ridiculously good.
7. OK, so it probably won't make your entire life easier, but you know what I mean.

5 comments:

  1. Delicious recipe! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The kids loved the cracker; however, I found it hard to crunch. I kept the dough in the fridge for about 50 min. Do you think this caused the dough to be too hard? Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! So glad the kids liked it :-)
      Hmmmm... No; keeping it in the fridge for that length of time shouldn't have resulted in an overly hard cookie.

      I'm happy to help you troubleshoot :-) My first instinct would be sugar and/or baking time.
      Was the sugar weighed out?
      Was coconut palm sugar used?

      Delete
  3. Yes, I used coconut palm sugar. I didn't weigh it out...I just used a measuring cup. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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