When you have a recipe that calls for a graham cracker crust, you can run out to the store and pick one up that is already made. But like so many things, even graham cracker pie crusts are best when you start with whole crackers and make them into a crust yourself. Graham crackers are tasty in pie crust and s’mores, but how much thought do you give them when picking out a box at the store? Do you stick with a particular brand or shop by price – and does it make a difference in the finished product if you become a little choosier about your grahams? In a recent (June/July 2011) issue, Cook’s Country tested three different nationally available brands of graham crackers to see which came out on top – and deserved to be on the bottom of that homemade pie crust.
The magazine’s test kitchen sampled Keebler Original Grahams, Honey Maid Honey Grahams and Nabisco Grahams Original. All brands were tested plain, as well as in the crust of a key lime pie and incorporated into an icebox cake recipe. Their flavors varied slightly from brand to brand when eaten plain, but some other differences came out during the rest of the testing. Keebler Grahams seemed to make the best graham cracker crust in terms of consistency and flavor. Honey Maid Grahams held up well to baking and had a pleasant butterscotch flavor. The Nabisco Grahams earned praise for their wheaty, nutty flavor and made for a nice pie crust, but did not hold up as well in the icebox cake recipe. All three brands earned a “recommended” rating at the end of the testing and all turned out to make good, solid graham cracker crusts.
I won’t shop with a specific brand in mind the next time I’m out picking up graham crackers, but I might make some notes in the future about what brands hold up better in whatever it is I’m baking. I have a feeling that when making s’mores over a campfire, the brand won’t matter, but I don’t want to keep buying a particular brand if it doesn’t make key lime pie-worthy crusts.