Nabisco, the maker of Honey Maid Graham Crackers, has refined the graham cracker recipe to make its crackers a major kitchen staple. Honey Maid Graham Crackers can be eaten as a snack, and also crushed and used to make pie crusts, and as a topping for puddings and pies.
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Initially called graham wafers, graham crackers were made from unsifted, whole-wheat flour that still contained the bran, or covering of the wheat kernel. The bran gave the flour a rough texture. These graham crackers were hard and dry. They often required moistening before eating, almost to the point of using boiled water to soften the cracker enough to break it into bite-size pieces. Today, graham crackers have a bit more taste and are much easier to eat, as they essentially “melt” when dipped into milk.
Honey Maid Grahams are made with unbleached, enriched flour that contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and sometimes iron. These nutrients are stripped from the wheat grain during processing, and then added back in before packaging. Breakfast cereals, pasta, cakes, cookies and other food items often contain enriched flour. Honey Maid grahams also contain graham flour or whole-grain wheat flour. Folic acid has recently been added to the list of enrichment nutrients, thanks to findings that folic acid deficiencies are associated with birth defects.
Cooking oils are fat in liquid form, obtained from seeds and beans, like soybeans, by a method called heat extraction or by pressing. Oils removed by pressing retain more vitamins than those extracted by heat. Honey Maid grahams are made with soybean oil or partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil. Hydrogenated oil is used to enhance taste and texture and to increase shelf life. Hydrogenation is done by adding hydrogen atoms to a polyunsaturated fat. Doing this alters the structure of the fat molecule, making it a trans fatty acid. Trans fatty acids can have a significant negative effect on cholesterol.
Honey Maid Grahams contain sugar, high fructose corn syrup and honey. One serving, equal to 31 grams, has 8 grams of sugar. While sugars supply quick energy to the body in the form of glucose, added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup are non-nutritive. People who eat a diet high in sugar tend to consume more calories with fewer nutrients, which has added to the high incidence of obesity. Like any other snack, consume Honey Maid grahams in moderation.