Friday, June 15, 2012

Homemade Cheez-its!

My family is OBSESSED with cheese crackers. Nary a box makes it out of our house alive or survives for more than a day or two. My step daughter Audrey always asks if she can "have a snack", and her choice du jour is always a cheese cracker. Not only are store bought cheese crackers expensive, but they are LOADED with extra salt and preservatives. I don't know about you, but I've been trying to eliminate those from our lives for a long time. I found a recipe that not only is easy to make, but so closely resembles the look and taste of the ubiquitous cheese cracker that even Charlie was convinced. Special thanks to The Frugal Girls for this tasty recipe!

Homemade, customizable cheese crackers!

What I really love about these crackers are they are entirely customizable so the possibilities for what you can come up with are endless! If you're stumped just travel to the cracker aisle and check out all the flavors that are available and get inspired!

You will need:
  • 2 cups shredded cheese of your choice, we used sharp cheddar
  • 3/4 cups of flour of your choice plus more for dusting, we used plain old all purpose, but what's to stop you from using whole wheat, or even gluten free?
  • 4 tbsp butter, cubed and softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp milk, half & half, or cream ( don't use skim, it needs a bit of the cream to help it set)
Preheat your oven to 350* and grab a food processor or do it by hand with a good old fashioned bowl and pastry blender (or heck get messy and use your hands). Add the cheese, salt, pepper, flour and butter and pulse or mix well to combine into a coarse meal. Add the milk and mix until incorporated into a ball.

 Dump out onto a floured surface and dust with flour. Roll out to a large thin rectangle, about 1/16" thick. I really mean it, these puff up so the thinner the better. I used a rolling ravioli cutter to give it a scalloped edge.

Transfer the crackers to a lined baking sheet and using the flat side of a bamboo skewer make a hole in the center, then sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 15-30 minutes, checking crackers halfway through. When the edges are golden brown and the crackers fragrant, they should be done. I made the mistake of not rolling my crackers out thin enough, so mine took a little longer to cook and crisp up. I actually twice baked them, first for 15 minutes, then again for 10 and it worked better for me. The crackers will continue to bake on the sheet as they cool.

Abbey LOVED these crackers! I can't wait to try more flavors, pepper jack anyone?

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