I did a thing I was not supposed to do. I went shopping in a mood. More specifically, I went to Target slightly upset. Nothing earth shattering in my life. Everything is fine with me, but… I made the mistake of taking money into a shopping establishment while mentally mental. I know. Not great. Let’s talk about grocery shopping while hangry and homemade cheese cracks.
I came out on the other end of mood-shopping with the following (totally unexciting) items:
– two giant bags of gummy bears. – four giant bags of candy corn. – really expensive bed sheets. – fancy shampoo. – so much shower gel (that I stood in the aisle and smelled forever…)(and I don’t even use shower gel). – an allergen-free mattress pad. – pajama bottoms (one pair… ok, three pairs). – a really alarming amount of cheese.
I also left with an exorbitant amount of really boring household items like paper towels and dish soap.
Mood-shopping and no new shoes or nail polish? That must have been some mood.
Gah! This is real life.
To settle my emotions, I sat in my car blank-staring and eating gummy bears.
To flip the script on my day I came home and baked these crazy-good, crunchy cheddar crackers.
And just like that… all is well (or at least cheesier)!
These amazing crackers have a truly alarming amount of sharp cheddar cheese in them. Alarming in a good way. Alarming in a cheesy way. So much cheese. So much alarm.
I added a hearty amount of chili spices to half of the cracker dough.
Chili and cheese. They belong together.
Soft butter and tons of cheese are brought together in a mixer with salt and flour. It’s crumbly and it’s going down. Two tablespoons of water are added to the dough and like magic, it all comes together.
The finished homemade cheese cracker dough is moist but not wet, pliable but not sticky. I added chili spices to half of the dough.
Gosh… this is genuinely exciting to me.
Dough is rolled thin and pricked with the end of a paint brush.
Time for the oven. Almost time to accidentally-on-purpose-over-eat.
To properly find the words to describe how wonderfully delicious a homemade cheese cracker is, I’ve had to sneak in the kitchen and pillage the cracker box. They’re buttery and crisp. They’re crazy-cheesy and flakey like whaaaat!? I was instantly smitten and I continue to be downright obsessed. They’re so simple to make and literally irresistible. I hope you make them. I hope you surprise/impress yourself.
Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers
makes about 70 crackers
adapted slightly from Ready Made Magazine
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold water
For Chili Cheese Crackers (these amounts will spice half of the cracker dough) :
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter, cheese, salt and pepper. It may seem strange to blend butter and cheese, but it will come together in a soft ball. With mixer on low-speed, slowly add flour. Mixture will become dry and crumbly. Add two tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time. Beat until mixture just comes together into a ball. The mixture may take an extra teaspoon of water, but don’t add too much. The dough should be moist but not wet.
Divide the dough in half and add chili seasoning to half of the dough. Knead the spices into the dough. Leaving streaks of the seasoning is just fine. Wrap each disk of cracker dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (an hour is better). The dough can also be frozen for future use.
While dough chills, place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough very thin, about an eighth of an inch thick. Dot center of cracker with a fork or the end of a paint brush. Place crackers on prepared baking sheets. The pieces can be close together as they won’t expand much when baking. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes until fragrant, golden brown, and crisp. Allow to cool before serving.
The crackers can be stored in an airtight container for two or three days.
Chef John recommended your site and made them. They look fantastically delicious — I’m addicted to Cheez-Its but I’m sure these will be a revelation. How should I wrap the dough for freezing? I want always to have this dough in my freezer, ready to go. How long to thaw out? A couple of hours, or just by touch? I’m so happy to have found you, Joy.
Joy the Baker
Hi Hollis – great question. I would store this dough as a 1-inch thick disk, wrapped in plastic wrap and sealed in a freezer back for up to a month or just over a month in the freezer. You don’t want it to loose too much moisture in the freezer and the double wrapping helps with that. I would thaw the dough inn the refrigerator overnight and let it sit on the counter at room temp for maybe 30 minutes before rolling out. Cheers to fresh crackers all the time!
These are delicious and addictive! If you don’t mind being a little less fancy, you can just cut out squares or rectangles with a pizza cutter instead of punching out circles. I also mix my spices in at the cheese and butter step – I generally want them all spiced, and I find that the quickest and easiest way to mix them in. Also: salted butter has about the same amount of salt as the recipe calls for, so I often use that instead of adding salt as well.
I have made these many times and they are really good. Something, however is missing. I have tried cayenne pepper, more cheese (because what could be wrong with that), cutting the dough in long strips and still cannot get it just right. It seems as if cooking them long enough to get them crispy makes the cracker taste ever so slightly burnt. Would adding milk instead of water help? How about a touch of oil?