RECIPE: Homemade Cheese Crackers i.e. Cheez-Its


A while back, I wanted to carry out an experiment to see if I couldn't find a way to make my favorite snacks at the grocery store a bit healthier by making them homemade. One of my all-time favorite snacks - other than the crazy sweet, fruity stuff - were Cheez-Its, until I grew up and was able to read the ingredients on the package, only to discover that I still was unable to read the name of half the ingredients.

It is really up for debate whether or not there is actually cheese in the crackers or if it's just cheese-flavored something or other. Nevertheless, I came across this recipe which is an AMAZING alternative to those nasty, hard-to-pronounce ingredients. One night I whipped up a batch of these and brought them to work the next day only to have my co-workers scarf down virtually all of them. To avoid losing my stash in the future, here is an awesome recipe for you to share and try. The star-shaped cookie cutter was the smallest thing I had at the time, but it definitely made them look awesome once baked. If you can get your hands on a fish-shaped cutter then you could say you're making your own goldfish crackers - same concept.

HOMEMADE CHEEZ-ITS

(or GOLDFISH CRACKERS)

Ingredients

8 ounces of Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Cabot works best), coarsely shredded (best if done by hand)

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) of Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

1 cup of All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons of Ice Water

Directions

1. It would be best to use a stand mixer, but you can do this by hand or with a hand-held mixer as well. Mix the cheese, butter, and salt.

2. Slowly add flour to the mixture and note that this will make the dough a bit crumbly.

3. Slowly add ice water to the mixture until the dough becomes thick enough to mold into a ball.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 190 degrees Celsius) and prepare 1-2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

5. Divide the dough into two halves, and roll each out flat with a rolling pin to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Use a pastry cutter (about 1-square inch) to cut out shapes and transfer to the baking sheet.

6. Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until crackers are puffed up and browning around the edges. Make sure to keep a close eye on them as the high fat-content of the crackers (due to the butter and cheese) creates a pretty fine line between delicious and crisp and totally burnt.

7. Remove crackers from sheet to cool. Serve to everyone you know and enjoy!

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