Cheese Crackers

Sometimes the simplest thing can be so good. Crackers are simple. Just a few ingredients, a of couple easy techniques and you can make something that makes people say, “You made these?”. Who doesn’t love hearing that?

If you can make pie crust, you can make crackers. In fact – even if you can’t make pie crust, you can still make crackers. I struggle with pie crust – heaven only knows why. My Grandmother on my Mom’s side lived next door to us and made pie crusts like it was magic – the ingredients floated together and rolled themselves into a perfectly shaped and fluted, flakey masterpiece. I must have watched her make 500 pies, but I can’t even come close to her perfection. Oh well. I can make crackers though!

Today, we’re going to make some together, so we better get going.
You need:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more for sprinkling on top
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup very sharp cheddar, grated
ice water – about 4-6 tablespoons
You can do this in a stand mixer if you like, or use a hand mixer or a pastry cutter, which is that thing in the bowl below. Blend everything except the water. You want to get it evenly blended together, but not pasty at all. The common description for this state is that it should resemble “coarse meal” which would be like corn meal or dried bread crumbs. Using a fork, add the water, beginning with 3 tablespoons and toss the ingredients together, adding more water a little at a time, until you can see the dough beginning to come together in a ball. Better to have it too dry at the start – you can add more water, but you can’t take it out, so take it easy and be patient. There can still be a bit of loose dry stuff in the bottom, but if the rest seems to be sticking together well, dump it out on the counter and knead it a bit to get the rest incorporated. Not too much because if it warms up, the crackers won’t be as flaky. It is okay if it seems a bit dry – time will take care of that. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and place the dough on top, forming it into a flattened disk or rectangle. Wrap and place in the fridge for at least an hour or up to a couple days.Sprinkle the counter generously with flour and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out. Start at the center of the dough and roll outward, giving it a quarter turn after each roll, to keep things even. You are looking for around 1/8 inch thick. It doesn’t have to be completely even – a little rusticity is fine and even desirable. Once rolled, cut however you like – squares, rectangles, circles or whatever. Scraps can be squished back together and rolled again. I like to use heavy baking sheets covered with parchment paper, but you can use foil or just grease the pans very lightly. Lay the crackers out so that is a just a bit of space between them and sprinkle lightly with more kosher salt. Poke each one with a skewer or something which will make that area stick together while the rest separates into layers of flaky, cheesy crunch. Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 – 15 minutes, or until they are puffed and have some nice color on the puffy parts. Cool on a rack as you would cookies. Store in an airtight container – they will keep a couple weeks and actually taste better if they sit for about 24 hours before being eaten. Try them with this Hummus, or maybe some Tomato JalapeƱo Jam.Look at that – way better than Cheezits!

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21 Responses to Cheese Crackers

  1. Flea says:

    Wow! I am so impressed, Dlyn! Those look fantastic! And I may even take the cracker challenge at some point and try making them!

  2. Ruth Hull Chatlien says:

    It never occurred to me to make crackers. And I do love cheese crackers.

    Ha ha. I spot those two grape tomatoes. They are becoming one of your signatures.

  3. Mental P Mama says:

    Those look fantastic. I’ll be by later with some wine. We can sit on the porch….

  4. Ashmystir says:

    Ok. You need to stop torturing me with the yummy pics/recipes and open up a restaurant OR at least come cook for me.

    :)

  5. PG says:

    looks great. I may have to try it out sometime!

  6. Carin says:

    Those look so yummy. I think even I could try those.

  7. Deb says:

    OK, I could do this! They look fabulous and yummy. I’m going to make these. And I will report back.

  8. Olly says:

    Oh…I’m gonna have to try that one!

  9. olivia says:

    Yum! Those look crunchily delicious! :)

  10. Flea says:

    Dlyn, where on earth do you get the 3 column template?

  11. tj says:

    …These look wonderful! I remember seeing a similar recipe from Martha Stewart… You know, the more I think about it, you’re kinda like Martha – in a good way. Not the scandaly prison part… :o)

    …I’m gonna try these – thank you for the recipe!

    …Blessings… :o)

  12. Country Girl says:

    Oh. My. Gosh. She is making homemade crackers.

    Honey, get in here and check this out. Do you see this? She is making little crackers!

    (I’m glad you’ve got that camera back, too!)

  13. Suz @ Alive in Wonderland says:

    Yum. I husband would love these. Since I am new here, what is the best way to print these recipes out? Anyone?
    (Must have pictures or will loose all interest in cooking.)

  14. Mary says:

    How cool is that?! I’ve decided I am going to give up real food altogether, and eat vicariously, through your blog. I would probably still gain weight, but it would be SO worth it. :)

  15. dlyn says:

    Thanks everyone – I have a couple other recipes I have worked out for crackers, so I will try to get those photographed over the next few weeks and out here for you guys.

    suz – I am working on getting them into a printable format. Right now, I would just cut and paste the post into Word or Notepad or something and print from there.

    flea – this template is a combo of different ones, beginning with, I think, “Denim Stretch”. It took me a couple weeks of fiddling about to get it how I wanted it. I used to be a web designer you know ;) If you search for “3 column blogger template” you will probably find some possibilities. Make sure you create a dummy blog for experimenting and be sure to save your existing template just in case you mess something up.

    CG – girl, I am rolling on the floor – and I could not be happier to have my camera back!

    tj – thanks for the comparison – I like Martha and I think she got a raw deal ;)

    Ruth – I try to use what God gave me and right now He is giving me a whole lotta grape tomatoes!

  16. Lori says:

    Wow! I have never seen anyone make crackers before! Hope I have time to try my hand at it soon!

  17. Suz @ Alive in Wonderland says:

    Thanks.

  18. Kevin says:

    Those crackers look good.

  19. Eri-chan says:

    Saw this on tastespotting and was immediately inspired – my partner is giving away jars of his famous homemade chili as Christmas gifts, so I am going to make these as an accompanying munchie!

    Question though, what is the approximate yield on this recipe?

    Thanks!

  20. dlyn says:

    Eri-chan – if memory serves, I got two large baking sheets worth out of this batch. It really depends on how thickly you roll them, so it’s hard to say exactly. I will go out on a limb and say 60 crackers – it is hard to keep track when people are eating them as soon as they come out of the oven! :)

  21. MADCookie says:

    These were awesome! I just made a batch for my family and we loved them! I made a note for myself to roll them out thin. I had a few sections that were thicker and it was still very tasty, but a bit more to chew.

    Oh, I used my food processor for the mixing which made it a breeze. Thank you so much for inspiring me to make my own crackers.

    Here are my pictures of the adventure.

    http://blog.madcookie.net/blogenginenet/post/Cheese-Crackers.aspx

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