Delicious Desserts You Can Make Easily With Graham Crackers
When it comes to desserts, there’s nothing more classic than the icebox cakes. You know the ones: They were the centerpiece at every potluck meal you’ve ever attended, and adored by home cooks for their easy preparation and simple ingredients.
Many of those desserts also starred graham crackers, a familiar staple in every childhood pantry. They’re arguably the most important ingredient of s’mores during campfire seasons, and they’re the idyllic after-school snack served alongside a cold glass of milk. Part cookie and part cracker, they’re also perfect for many desserts because they pair wonderfully with peanut butter, chocolate, fruits, and caramel — your typical dessert staples.
If you’re looking for a satisfying dessert that’s sure to please a crowd, look no further than these ideas that use the humble graham cracker. Many of them will be reminiscent of your childhood, and several are easy enough to whip together in a few simple steps.
1. Éclair Cake
Moms of the ’80s and ’90s weren’t making their own éclairs and filling them with custard, but they did perfect the “cake” that’s inspired by the classic French dessert. The basics include several layers of graham crackers alternating with a custard layer made with vanilla pudding and whipped cream. It’s all topped with a homemade chocolate frosting, although several variations use their favorite store-bought chocolate frosting to make the dessert even easier.
After allowing the assembled dessert to chill for a few hours, the pudding softens the graham crackers, making a cake-like layer between the layers of pudding and chocolate. It’s simple, but so delicious. For full directions and one recipe for homemade chocolate icing, check out this version from Allrecipes.com.
2. Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Muffins
The jury is still out on whether muffins are breakfast or dessert, but these sweet muffins definitely lean toward the confections category. The blogger behind How Sweet It Is describes them as tasting “like a warm cookie right out of the oven,” further cementing that view. You’ll make these muffins from scratch, incorporating graham cracker crumbs into the dough for a unique flavor. Chocolate chips, along with a crumble topping and graham cracker crumbs, add to the sweetness factor.
3. Chocolate Marble Cheesecake
Cheesecakes can be difficult to master, rife with potential for cracking or being too bland. The blogger at Lemon Sugar writes her own struggles with those problems ended after trying this dual-chocolate cheesecake, complete with a buttery graham cracker crust. You’ll pack buttered graham cracker crumbs into a spring-form pan, then prepare the cheesecake filling, dividing it to add white and semi-sweet chocolates to each half. The beauty of marbling is that it doesn’t have to be perfect, but you’ll get a sweet, chocolaty bite each time.
4. Frozen Lemonade Squares
Honey Maid is probably the most recognizable name in graham crackers, and they don’t leave you hanging when it comes to creative and easy ways to use their products. Crushed graham crackers go into a savory and sweet crust for this recipe, which is then topped with a refreshing mixture of lemonade concentrate and vanilla yogurt. You’ll freeze the dessert, then cut into squares and top with whipped cream. If you need an easy dessert that doesn’t feel heavy, these citrusy squares are sure to please. For full directions, check out Honey Maid’s site.
5. Pumpkin Pie Quinoa Parfaits
Quinoa in dessert parfaits? It can be done, adding a boost of whole grains for a sweet treat you can feel good about. Crushed graham cracker crumbs make the base of this parfait, which layers cooked quinoa,Greek yogurt, pumpkin, and pumpkin spice together. Top with some whipped cream and pecans for extra crunch, and you’ve got a swoon-worthy dessert that’s full of flavor and texture. For the recipe, check out the directions at How Sweet It Is.
6. Chocolate, Caramel and Graham Cracker Toffee Cookies
They’re called cookies, but they look more like a chocolate bark or brittle simply because the sweets are broken apart instead of shaped into rounded cookies. No matter their form, however, these treats are delectable because of their combination of chocolate, graham crackers, nuts, and sugar to form a caramel-like layer as well. The oven does the work of melting your ingredients over the crushed graham crackers and blending them together into treats the whole family will love. To make your own, check out the simple recipe from Wives with Knives.
7. Peanut Butter Graham Cracker Brownies
The only thing better than a gooey brownie is one that’s stuffed with goodness in the middle. This recipe from If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen delivers the goods with a graham cracker-peanut butter mixture between two layers of fudgy brownies. You can layer the graham crackers and peanut butter between your own favorite brownie recipe, but blogger Hayley also provides her own brownie recipe.
8. Turtle Cheesecake Truffles
By nature, truffles are rich and decadent. These dessert bites are no different, filled with cheesecake and graham cracker crumbs, then topped with chocolate, pecans, and caramel sauce. Though they take a bit of time to assemble, the longest time period will be waiting for the cheesecake centers to freeze before coating in chocolate. Using melting chocolate and store-bought caramel sauce make these even easier. To be a hit at your next party, or simply to hoard sweets in your kitchen, check out the recipe from Steamy Kitchen.
9. No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake
Layered desserts can have a flair of fanciness, especially when they’re drizzled with chocolate. However, they’re often some of the simplest desserts to make. That’s the case with this icebox cake from The Kitchn, which features fresh strawberries, homemade whipped cream, and graham crackers. You’ll arrange the whipped cream and strawberries in several layers between graham crackers, eventually topping with a final layer of cream and berries. Then you can get fancy with the chocolate. The cream will soften the graham crackers slightly, giving it a cake-like texture when you serve.
10. S’mores Cinnamon Rolls
We’re back to the breakfast-versus-dessert debate, but when it’s a cinnamon roll, you can call it either one and people will be happy. This version from Crepes of Wrath has you make your own cinnamon roll dough, incorporating finely-crushed graham crackers to add a unique twist. Homemade marshmallow spread and melted chocolate complete the s’mores effect, making these an instant hit whenever you’re nostalgic for campfire flavors. Additional graham cracker crumbs get sprinkled in for a bit of a crunch after the rolls have baked in the oven. These rolls will take more effort than grabbing the nearest canned version, and is definitely more work than melting a marshmallow over a fire, but the results promise to be worth it.
11. Grasshopper Squares
If you managed to grow up within the last three decades and never had a slice of grasshopper pie, we’re questioning your potluck dessert choices. We’re not sure how mint and chocolate desserts got named after a summertime insect, but they’re wonderful nonetheless. This recipe, which uses chocolate graham crackers for the base, is a slightly different variation of the pie but holds true to the classic flavors. For those of you who have tried the eclair cake listed above, this is basically the chocolaty, minty version. Check out Serious Eats to try the recipe for yourself.