Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Graham Gems

I was chatting with my Grandma Cross recently about baking. She had recently pulled out an old recipe for graham gems that my Great Grandmother used to make almost every week. Graham gems are essentially a hearty muffin that calls for Graham flour. I had never heard of graham flour and Grandma had been unable to find it in the store recently. Living in a big city, I figured I could find graham flour and was interested in trying out this old family recipe.

Grandma send me the recipe and I went in search of the flour. After two grocery stores and no luck I almost ordered the flour online, but eventually I found it at a Whole Foods. For those who don't know, graham flour is essentially whole wheat floor except that the rather than simply grinding the whole grain wheat kernel (bran, germ, and endosperm), in graham flour the components are ground separately. The endosperm is ground finely, initially creating white flour. The bran and germ are ground coarsely. The two parts are then mixed back together, creating a coarse-textured flour that bakes and keeps well.

So, I gave it a try. Its a bit of an odd recipe compared to other muffins I make so I was a little skeptical, but they came out great! They have a nice spongy texture that is not too chewy but great for spreading butter or jam on. And looking over the ingredients they seem reasonably healthy. I will definite make them again.
And here is the funny part: as a kid I used to call my Grandma Cross "Gramgram", so that makes this recipe "Gramgram's Graham Gems."

Here is the recipe:

Graham Gems (Great Grandma and Grandma's recipe)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup sour milk
1 cup sweet milk
2 cups graham flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
Makes 2 dozen muffins. Bake at 350 deg. for 15 minutes.

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