Friday, January 7, 2011

Homemade Grape Nuts

This recipe stopped me in my tracks.  I used to be a devotee of Grape Nuts when I lived in the States but because I've never seen them in the cereal aisle in Danish supermarkets, I sort of forgot about them.  Then I ran across a wonderfully inspired recipe called Graham Nuts in Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole Grain Flours.  Hallelujah.

I will tell you that this recipe--for me at least--does not mimic the texture of the commercial variety.  Perhaps it's because I ground mine a little too fine, but I missed some of that bulky crunchy texture that one finds in Grape Nuts.  On the other hand, I was thrilled with the flavor, tackling a recipe that's my version of an interesting science experiment, and the fact that that I was able to produce a nearly 100 percent organic version.

My one note of caution is to play with the recommended baking time a bit.  I did not use the full 55-60 minutes on the second round of baking. Mine was more like 35 minutes, but ovens vary, so just watch your cracker to make sure you get a dark brown color and dry texture without overcooking and burning.

Graham Nuts
From Good to the Grain:  Baking with Whole Grain Flours by Kim Boyce
1c graham flour
1/3c whole wheat flour
1/3c dark brown sugar
1/2t baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1c buttermilk
1T honey
1t pure vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Rub a baking sheet lightly with butter.

2.  Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grain and other ingredients that may remain in the sifter, and set aside.

3.  In a small bowl, mix together the buttermilk, honey, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together with a spatula to form a batter.

4.  Scrape the batter onto the baking sheet and, using the spatula or a metal offset spatula, spread the batter evenly across the entire surface of the sheet.  The more evenly the batter is spread, the more evenly the cracker will bake--if you have a long, thin offset cake spatula, this is the time to use it.

5.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and break off any areas of the cracker that are getting dark or dry, and set them on a rack to cool.  Turn the oven down to 250F, return the baking sheet to the oven, and bake for 55-60 minutes more.  Every 20 minutes, break off any more dry sections and put them on the cooling rack.  While you are doing this, break up the rest of the dough into smaller pieces to encourage the dough to dry out faster, and return pan to the oven for the remaining time.

6.  Remove the sheet from the oven when the cracker is mahogany brown and entirely dry.  Let all the pieces of the cracker cool on a rack.

7.  Set up a food processor with a large-hole grater attachment.  Feed pieces of the cracker through the tube at the top and grind into nuts. Serve with a pitcher of ice-cold milk.  The graham nuts will store in an airtight jar for one month.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it great when you finally find a way, that works, to substitude what is not available to you. It can be a real challenge at times.