Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, delicious. S'mores, anyone?
For the printable recipe click here.
A while back the monsters were invited to do s’mores at a friend’s house. For most of them, some occasional dietary off-roading in the name of delicious, DIY campfire treats would be no big deal. For gluten-free Monster 2, however, the graham crackers would be no bueno.
Paleo Grahams to the rescue! Monster 2 could stay gluten free without missing a bit of the campfire fun. Of course, almost any gluten-free cookie could be used as a stand-in, but with these paleo graham crackers, the experience is more authentic and extra delicious.
For a long time I placed paleo graham crackers in the “probably not a possibility” category of my to-do list. I mean, the namesake ingredient of traditional graham crackers is graham flour, a coarsely ground flour containing the bran, germ, and endosperm of wheat kernels.
If wheat flour was out, how could we achieve that classic graham-ness?
From a flavor standpoint, graham flour delivers some roasty-toasty-nutty notes, so that’s where we started. Almond flour was a no-brainer as a nutty foundation, but for complexity, a trio of toasted coconut, toasted sesame seeds, and golden flax meal sealed the deal. Maple syrup (or honey) and coconut sugar sweetened things up, and cassava flour filled in the gaps texturally. Baking is all about balancing the ratios of sugars, flours, and fats to get specific consistencies. We were going for a drier dough here, with just a touch of leavening, that wouldn’t rise or spread too much.
This recipe has been through many, many trials. Initially we used honey instead of maple syrup, but the recipe was so close to vegan, I wanted to see how the switch would be. We found that either will work well with no adjustments needed, but the monsters actually preferred the maple syrup. We've made them with and without the sesame seeds, but we prefer to include them. One time I ran out of cassava flour and substituted 1 cup of tapioca starch plus 1/4 cup coconut flour with good results.
I do not recommend using all coconut oil because its lower melting point yields textural and handling issues. You could use all palm oil if desired, but the combo of the two really gives the best results.
When toasting the shredded coconut, it is important to babysit it a little and stir frequently for even toasting. I use a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until everything is golden.
For the sesame seeds, the same thing goes, except they don't need to be as thoroughly browned.
I don't do the coconut and sesame together because the seeds could burn and become bitter before the coconut is thoroughly toasted. One more thing: always, always, always check your sesame seeds before using. Sesame seeds will go rancid quickly and can ruin an entire recipe with their acridity. So if yours have been hanging around in the spice drawer for a while, taste a few before proceeding. Better to leave them out if they have turned!
The dough gets rolled out between two sheets of parchment (or parchment and a silicone mat), cut with a pizza cutter, scored with a fork, and transferred to the baking pan right on the mat or parchment. No need to roll out scraps again or lift dough after cutting--though if you do have scraps, this egg-free dough is a monster-favorite for pre-bake munching.
These paleo graham crackers will likely ruin you for traditional grahams, but that is OK. Just wait until you try them in a graham-cracker crust!
Here's what you'll need:
½ cup coconut oil
½ cup palm shortening
½ cup coconut sugar
½ cup maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
1 ¼ cup cassava flour
1 ½ cup almond flour
¼ cup golden flax meal
¼ cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut, toasted
2 T sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
Here's what you'll do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the coconut and palm oils, coconut sugar, and maple syrup till light and creamy.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (cassava flour-cinnamon).
With the mixer off, add about half of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, and mix on low speed to incorporate. Scrape down the sides and repeat with remaining dry ingredients, mixing just until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a large silicone mat or piece of parchment paper, press into a large rectangle, and divide into thirds.
Working with one third at a time, roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment or silicone mats to about ⅛- inch thickness, or approximately a 12” x 16” rectangle. Remove the top piece of parchment and use a pizza cutter cut into 12 pieces. Score each piece several times with a fork.
Transfer the whole sheet of parchment or silicone mat to a baking sheet and bake the crackers for 10-12 minutes or until darkened slightly around the edges. If the cut-lines and fork holes have filled in, quickly re-cut them. Allow the crackers to cool completely on the parchment. They will crisp up more as they cool.
Repeat with remaining dough. Carefully break cooled crackers along cut marks and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week, or wrap in plastic and aluminum foil and freeze for up to two months.
For the printable recipe click here.