The perfect party snack, game day snack, after school snack, or I-just-need-a-salty-snack snack, homemade Cheez-its crackers are so addictive and cheesy and delicious, you’ll want to make a double batch!
I love copycat recipes. Especially when they turn out so much better than the original.
Packaged snacks get a bad rap — well-deserved, I think — so when you can make them at home and they’re filled with familiar, wholesome ingredients and they taste amazing, you’ve got a win-win situation going on. #snackgoals #nailedit
As we’re heading into the final two celebration weeks of the year, you can sass up your party trays — and impress your friends and loved ones with your mad baking skillz — with these super tasty, cheesy snack crackers.
I’m really excited today to show you how to make to homemade Cheez-its, because they’re so easy, and because they’re DIY, we’re in charge of the ingredients! Woot!
So, first things first: what kind of cheese do you use in Cheez-it crackers? Whhyyyy, your favorite, of course! Do you love sharp cheddar cheese? Does Gouda make you weak in the knees? Do you claw your way through the holiday shopping crowd to get to that last wedge of Gruyere?
Or, do you like a mix? I do! For these cheese crackers, I used an extra sharp cheddar from Tillamook — I can eat that stuff by the cube, one after the other — and a generous portion of my weak-in-the-knees Parm that’s been washed in Merlot. So not kidding: Merlot Bellavitano by Sartori.
This cheese is the reason I’d never be able to go vegan. My neighborhood Kroger has a Murray’s Cheese station inside, and wedges of this incredible cheese start calling me from the second I walk in the door. Irresistible.
I have another secret to share: how to make homemade Cheez-its without a food processor!
Unless you have one of those jaw-droppingly gorg designer kitchens, we all have to make choices, right?, and sometimes those choices mean a piece of kitchen equipment has to go.
Food processors make beautiful dough, but you don’t need one for this recipe. A simple pastry cutter will do trick (I have this one). It will take longer, fershure, but you’ll have a pastry dough that makes awesome crackers.
One final secret for perfectly shaped crackers: keep the dough chilled. The recipe is only about 20 minutes hands-on, but needs a couple of turns in the refrigerator.
Working with chilled dough lets you create crisp edges — use your fluted pastry wheel for pretty scallops — and keeps the cheese from bubbling up during baking and creating a weird, bumpy surface. (I skipped the chill once, and believe me, it makes a huge difference in the end result.)
If it’s cold where you are — and if you have a small fridge — you can try what I do and stick the pan outside on the porch. Of course, if it’s below 0°F or something crazy like that, (1) move! (kidding 😉 ), and (2) don’t let the dough freeze.
Michael Pollan once famously said, “Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.” Great advice, especially when the result is as tasty as homemade Cheez-its!
I think these cheesy homemade crackers will be making an appearance for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve!
To all of you celebrating Christmas, may it be joy-filled and cheeseful.
I mean, peaceful. 🙂
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- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, and sliced into large pieces
- 2 cups total, grated, quality cheese, about 8 ounces in block form (use a blend of tasty, aged cheese such as Gouda, extra sharp cheddar)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
- Add all ingredients except the dairy to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined and crumbly.
- With the machine running, add the dairy, one tablespoon at a time, and continue processing until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- If you don't have a food processor, add the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and use a pastry cutter/pastry blender to work everything together. Add the dairy one tablespoon at a time, and continue blending until the texture is sandy but holds together when you gather a palmful and squeeze.
- Lightly flour a cutting board or countertop. Divide the dough in half and place one piece between two pieces of plastic wrap. Roll into a rectangle about 1/4" thick, straightening the edges as best you can. Wrap tightly and set aside. Repeat with the other half. Put both wrapped dough rectangles in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- Unwrap one of the rectangles and, using a ruler or eyeballing it, press 1" marks into the dough along one each of the short and long edges. Use a rolling cutter — fluted, if you have one — to cut the marked dough into 1" squares (use a ruler to make ultra-straight lines — it sounds over the top, but you'll make pretty little squares that way).
- Use a bamboo skewer or chopsticks to poke a deep hole through the center of each square. Transfer the crackers to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Refrigerate the sliced dough squares on their baking sheet for at least 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F, and position rack in center of oven.
- Bake the crackers for 18 to 22 minutes. Check frequently towards the end of baking to ensure they don't scorch on top.
- The homemade Cheez-its are ready to eat as soon as they're cool enough to handle!
Adapted from Martha Stewart Bakes
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