The January challenge for the Daring Bakers was to make homemade graham crackers. There was a second part to the challenge too, but I didn’t get a chance to do that. But at least I made the graham crackers.

I have decided that once I make a homemade version of something I can buy at the store, the store bought version is no longer even edible. Homemade ice cream, cake batter, bread, marshmallows, and now graham crackers. They are all substantially better then store bought.

Honestly, these aren’t as hard to make as I thought they would be. Sure, they take some time to chill, and then re-chill. But that isn’t working time. I let my dough chill in the fridge for 2 days before I was able to make time to roll out the dough. And then even though you should chill it for 30ish minutes before baking it, I didn’t have time to do that for the first batch, so I baked it right after rolling it out. And they turned out great. So don’t be intimidated by the directions. Go for it. You will be pleasantly surprised at how yummy these graham crackers are.

Makes enough crackers for about 25 s’mores (that is the only way I could think o measure the quantity)
Recipe Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
For the crackers:
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover (*I used Wildflower and it gave it a nice deep rich flavor)
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more flour and roll out the dough to get about two or three more crackers.
Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the tough, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. let cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes then allow to completely cool on a wire rack.

So now that you have all of these graham crackers, what can you do with them?
1. Make some homemade marshmallows to go with them and enjoy some s’mores.

2. Wrap them up and give them away as a little gift. They package easily and are just so tasty that anyone will love them.

3. I think my favorite thing to do with the graham crackers is to enjoy them with a cup of coffee in the morning (Oh, and a homemade marshmallow in my coffee). Like biscotti, they soak up the coffee and make the cracker soft. MMMM, so delicious!

*Side Note: These graham crackers made the Top9 on FoodBuzz. Yea, that makes me so excited!