In all of my years of baking, I had never actually made graham crackers from scratch. It was always one of those things that I wanted to try, but when I didn’t have to worry about gluten and sugar it was just much easier to go and pick up a box at the store. For months, I had been looking for an excuse to experiment with a sugar free version of Rebecca Reilly’s gluten free graham cracker recipe, and I finally had one when my mum gave me the recipe for one of my favorite childhood desserts. I’ll let you know more about the dessert next time, but this time it’s all about the gluten free, sugar free grahams.
I love making new discoveries in the kitchen, and I recently discovered that, when I’m able to keep the sweeteners that I use most often — xylitol and erythritol — from re-crystallizing in baked goods, I can’t even detect the slightly minty aftertaste that they can sometimes leave behind. This has me so excited because, while I usually have no problem with an aftertaste in things like puddings and cakes, I have had issues with baked goods that contain less moisture, like cookies. As a result of this discovery, I’ve started dissolving the sweeteners in water before I add them to certain recipes, and it’s made a big difference. I do end up having to adjust the dry ingredients in many recipes, but it’s more than worth it.
I incorporated the new “sweetener technique” in this recipe, and the result was pretty darn good. I was concerned that the quinoa flour would make the grahams too earthy for my taste, but I think that the cinnamon did a great job of toning down the earthiness. I did have to bake the crackers longer than the original recipe said, perhaps because of the added moisture from dissolving the sweeteners. If you’re using regular sugar and honey, you may not have to bake them for quite as long.
adapted from Gluten Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly
makes 3-4 dozen crackers (depending on how large you cut them)
1/2 cup xylitol (or brown sugar, if you’re not sugar free)
1/4 cup erythritol (or 3 Tbsp. honey, if you’re not sugar free)
3 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup gluten free flour blend (the recipe I use can be found here)
1 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1. If you’re using regular sugar, then you can skip this step and add the brown sugar with the dry ingredients and the honey with the water and vanilla in a separate small bowl. Otherwise, in a small saucepan, add xylitol, erythritol, and water and cook over low heat, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes or until the sweeteners are completely dissolved. Remove from heat, add the vanilla extract, and cool for about half an hour.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the gluten free flour blend, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is a sandy texture.
3. Stir the cooled sweetener mixture (or the water, honey, and vanilla mixture if you’re not sugar free) into the dry mixture and mix until combined. If the dough is too dry, add a little more water, one teaspoon at a time. The dough should be soft and hold together well without being sticky. Pat the dough into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray (to keep the parchment in place), and line it with oven parchment.
5. Cut off about 1/4 of the chilled dough and roll it out between two pieces of parchment that have been lightly floured with rice flour. Roll the dough out until it’s between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 2 x 3 inch pieces (or a similar size) using a knife or a pizza cutter, and prick lightly all over with a fork. Place on the parchment lined cookie sheet, making sure to leave a little room around each piece of dough. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and dry. Repeat for the remaining dough.
6. When all of the graham crackers are finished baking, turn off the oven and allow to cool down, place the crackers in a single layer on cookie sheets, and return them to the oven. Close the door and leave the crackers in the oven overnight. This will help to evaporate any leftover moisture and will make the graham crackers more crisp.