The other day, I was standing behind an extreme coupon lady in Target. For every item she sent down the conveyor belt, she had a neatly clipped coupon ready in hand. As her total began to drop, I became genuinely impressed. Maybe I should take up extreme couponing!
On second thought, I realized I don't need coupons for pre-made snacks and drinks, such as graham crackers, goldfish, almond milk, or cake mix. I can make those things from scratch! Not only is it more fun, but I know exactly what's going into my drinks and snacks—no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
As I described in my post for Cooking Light, the texture of these cheese crackers are reminiscent of goldfish, with all the sharp cheesiness of the tasty and beloved Cheez-It. Rolling out the dough and cutting the crackers into fun shapes makes these a family-friendly activity, and I loved that I got to break out the cookie cutters before Christmas.
I experimented with using both extra-sharp cheddar and extra-sharp white cheddar cheeses, as well as adding garlic powder and cayenne to one of the batches. All three turned out excellent, though I think I preferred the spicy cheddar. Recipes for all three are below!
Whole-Wheat Cheese Crackers
Makes 75-100 crackers, depending on their size
- 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter
- 8 oz. extra-sharp cheddar or white cheddar cheese
- ½ tsp. salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. cold water
Extra-Spicy Cheese Crackers
All the ingredients above, plus:
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, plus more for sprinkling
Grate the cheese and cut the butter into small pieces. Place the cheese, butter, salt, and a few grinds black pepper in the food processor and pulse for a few seconds until the mixture comes together. Add the flours one at a time, processing until the mixture becomes crumbly. Pour in the cold water and process until a large dough ball forms. The dough should be soft and malleable.
If you're making the spicy crackers, add the garlic and cayenne pepper to the dough, kneading it in with your hands until well incorporated. Split the dough into two balls, flatten into disks, and wrap each disk with plastic wrap. Let chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
When the dough is finished chilling, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out the dough until it's thin but not paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick. If they are cut too thick, the crackers will be less crispy and more bread-like. Cut the crackers using a cookie cutter of your choice, or use a knife to cut squares or triangles.
Place the cutouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with the second disk of dough. If making the spicy crackers, sprinkle a pinch of cayenne over the crackers.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days, although they are best when fresh. Re-crisp in the oven or toaster oven if desired.