A Cook's Guide to Grains by Jenni Muir
Sylvester Graham was an early 19th-century champion of wholegrains and believed refined, industrially milled flour to be the root of social problems. He was ridiculed during his lifetime for his extreme views and temperance, but today we can look back and see that, while he might not have been able to prove why he was right about the nutritional benefits of wholegrains, he was clearly on the right track. Today Graham crackers are largely associated with unhealthy treats, but even when eaten plain they have a lovely spiced flavour.
• 210g/1 1/2 cups plain wheat flour
• 150g/1 cup wholemeal wheat flour
• 190g/1 1/4 cups rye flour
• 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 75g/1/3 cup unsalted butter
• 700g/1/2 cup light brown sugar
• 1 large egg, plus 1 yolk
• 120ml/1/2 cup honey
• 1 1/2 tbsp molasses
Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Sift the two wheat flours, rye flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and yolk and beat until well combined, then mix in the honey and molasses. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing well.
Line the bases of two 30 x 23cm/12 x 9 in Swiss roll tins with baking paper. Halve the dough and roll each piece out to a rectangle large enough to line the base of each tin.
Use the rolling pin to help you lift the dough into the tins, then use a knife to trim off any excess. Score each tray into 12 equal crackers and decorate by pricking them with the tines of a fork.
Bake for 9 minutes until the dough is only just firm. Remove from the oven and allow the crackers to cool before lifting them from the tins. Store in an airtight container.
• Graham crackers are the base of the classic American cheesecake crust. You can whizz up the cooked crackers in a processor with butter to make a crumb crust, or simply roll out the dough and use it to line the base and sides of a spring-clip tin. Bake blind at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 8-10 minutes, then cool and fill with the cheesecake filling before baking again. Rolling the dough gives a charming, rustic look to the finished cheesecake.
• To make s'more cookies, spread half the crackers with chocolate praline paste then top with marshmallows and grill for 1-2 minutes, Cover with the remaining crackers to make sandwiches.