Why make gluten-free graham crackers from scratch?
Whether sandwiching chocolate and a toasted marshmallow fireside or pressed into a pan to create a delicious, buttery crust for a cheesecake, graham crackers are an iconic part of American cuisine.
As a child, they were my after-school snack with a cold glass of milk more often than any other treat. Ever since, graham crackers have held a special place in my heart.
Since having to change my diet to gluten free, I have yet to find a graham cracker in the store that really reminds me of the familiar traditional ones. There are a few decent gluten-free brands out there, but they are still just not quite the same in texture and flavor.
Traditionally graham crackers are made with graham flour, which is a coarse-ground wheat flour that gives them their texture and flavor. The trick to getting this same texture and flavor in gluten-free graham crackers is golden flax meal/ground flax.
It is summertime here in New England, and almost time for our annual family camping trip to Cape Cod. I thought I should take on the challenge of creating a really great gluten-free graham cracker.
This recipe is not only delicious, but it is also simple to make and easy to convert to vegan. To make this recipe vegan, just use a stick form of plant-based butter and replace the honey with maple syrup, golden syrup or agave.
Here’s how to make these childhood favorites.
Gluten-Free Graham Crackers
- 260 grams 1:1gluten-free flour blend
- 112 grams light brown sugar
- 7 grams ground flax or golden flax meal (1 tbsp + 1 tsp)
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 56 grams unsalted butter, thinly sliced
- 98 grams cold water
- 15 grams honey (1 tbsp)
In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, flax, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
Add the butter and, using a pastry cutter or your finger tips, work the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal. Pieces should be the size of peas or smaller.
Mix the water and honey together.
Add the honey/water mix to the batter, and stir with a fork until well combined.
Press and knead until there are no dry bits, and you have a cohesive dough. The dough should be smooth enough to roll out and be slightly tacky but not sticky. Place dough on plastic wrap. Form into a square, wrap tightly and freeze for 15 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes to 24 hours).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from freezer. Lightly dust your work surface and your dough with flour, and roll out to a square that is roughly 16x16-inches square and ⅛-¼-inch thickness.* Dust your work surface as needed to keep the dough from sticking as you roll.
Trim the edges so that they are straight and you have a 15x15-inch square. Cut the dough into three-inch square pieces. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, and pierce dough with a fork in lines.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. When done, the crackers will be light golden brown. They will still have a little bit of give when touched, but they will harden up as soon as they cool. Remove to a parchment-lined cooling rack and cool for five minutes.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
*The crackers will puff a bit when they bake, so roll them out about half of the thickness you want for your final crackers.