Well, that's the way the cookie crumbles
What is this…a statement of hopelessness? Futility? Nay, gentle reader, I say nay! This is a statement of hopefulness, of goodness and light, because now we have a way to make a wonderful cookie crust.
And we get to beat the hell out of cookies in the process!
How to make a graham cracker crust
Making a classic graham cracker crust definitely is easier than regular pie crust.
Just crush up graham crackers into fine crumbs, either in the food processor, or in a bag with a mallet if you’ve had an especially hard day. Then add sugar and mix in melted butter to bind it all together.
Press the mixture into a pie pan (I use a pastry dough tart tamper), bake for a mere 15 minutes (or chill it instead of baking), and you have a shell just waiting to be married to all sorts of fillings.
No rolling out dough, and it comes together so quickly! I use my toaster oven to bake the crust so I don’t even heat the kitchen up…perfect for summer!
The cookie chooses the pie
You don't have to just use graham crackers for pie crust...cookie crumbs also make an excellent base.
The neat thing about cookie crusts is that the cookies, already pre-sweetened bits of food hugs, can be chosen to complement or contrast with the filling. You can adjust the amount of sugar you add based on how sweet the cookies are already.
In the past, I’ve pulverized sandwich cookies with their filling, which reduced the amount of sugar and butter required to hold the crust together.
Of course, a graham cracker crust goes with most anything, as do crusts made with vanilla or chocolate wafers (especially pudding-type pies). But how about a pretzel crust for an ice-cream Mud Pie? Gingersnap crust for a Pumpkin Pie? Saltine crust with Butterscotch pudding? You get the idea.
Make a hybrid graham cracker & cookie crust
I had some crumbs left over from baking and cutting shortbread…I collected and froze them instead. Also, I bought some shortbread at a Scottish Festival sitting there, so I threw them in the bag with the crumbs in the freezer for some future, undetermined date.
Well, my friends, that day came last week as I decided to make King Arthur Flour's Chocolate Cream Pie for a 4th of July dinner party. I just didn’t feel like taking the time to make the standard pastry crust called for in the recipe.
Meanwhile those cookie crumbs in the freezer sang out to me, and the heavens opened and trumpets blared…(uhmmm, getting a little carried away there?).
After I threw the cookies into the food processor, I found that I didn’t quite have enough for a full crust, so I crumbed up (that’s a new verb I just created) some graham crackers and mixed them in with the shortbread crumbs. Why not?
Hybrid pie crust for the win
This resulting graham cracker & shortbread crust was wonderful, not overly graham-y or shortbread-y (boy, I’m on a roll creating words today!). Instead it was a subtle mix of the two that went into the background when paired with that rich Chocolate Cream filling.
Making cookie crusts are a great way to use up cookies and graham crackers that are going (or have gone) stale, so you don’t have to waste them. Use your imagination!
Meanwhile, the last sliver of pie beckons. Yummmm…..
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
More recipes for pie crust & more
Need a base for a recipe? No problem! I've got recipes for pie crusts, graham cracker crusts, tart shells, and shortbread. Plus how to make a lattice pie crust!
- No Recipe Pie Crust: Can't beat a basic pie crust recipe, especially if it's easy to remember
- Basic Short Crust Pastry: Pie crust enriched with egg, sturdy short crust pastry is perfect for tart shells
- Shortbread: Many a bar cookie starts with a shortbread crust
- Lattice Pie Crust instructions: Want to learn how to weave a lattice crust? I've got you!
Classic Graham Cracker Pie Crust
- 1¾ cups graham cracker crumbs, or cookie crumbs of your choice, See Recipe Notes (from about 10-11 crackers)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, adjust amount is needed based on the type of cookie you're using
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, and butter.
- Press the mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan or springform pan. I use a tool called a pastry dough tart tamper...it's quite handy!
- If you're using a 9-inch non-deep dish pan, you'll likely have 1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra crumb mixture. This can become a garnish for the pie, if you like.
- To blind-bake the crust, place it in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes, just until set and you smell the cookies toasting. Remove the crust from the oven, cool on a rack, and finish with the filling of your choice.
- Alternatively, chill the crust until the melted butter is firmed up, about 15-20 minutes
- See Recipe Notes for variations to make a cookie crust
- To make a chocolate cookie crust, replace the graham crackers with 2 cups of chocolate cookie crumbs.
- To make a vanilla wafer crust, replace the graham crackers with an equal amount of vanilla wafer cookie crumbs.
- To make a gingersnap crust, replace the graham crackers with 2 cups of crushed gingersnaps.