I am the type of person that is perfectly content with snacking all day, and never having a substantial meal. I’ve dabbled in the healthiest rice and air-filled assortment, as well as the least healthy, salty and greasy variety; struggling to strike a balance between flavorful and nutritional. This recipe for cheddar cheese crackers is well-balanced in that it is abundantly flavorful, filling, and homemade (no scary chemicals/preservatives). Once I made this recipe I could not stop. I could tweak the ingredients, add my favorite flavors, and everybody loves them. They are perfect to keep on hand for kids’ school lunches, and for me to take to work.
Makes 150 one-inch stars
• 1 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
• 6 Tablespoons Salted Butter*
• 8 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese
• 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder**
• 2 Dashes of White Pepper (optional)
• 3-4 Tablespoons of Cold Water
* if you would rather use Unsalted, add at least ¼ Teaspoon salt.
** I’ve seen recipes with cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and favorite spice mixes. Whatever you think will go best with sharp cheddar, in this amount, will be subtle and complementary.
• Wax Paper
• Parchment Paper
• Plastic Wrap
• Rolling Pin
• Mixer (standing, hand, or just a hand-masher!)
• Cookie Cutter in your desired shape
Begin by cubing the butter into small pieces, and place them in the fridge. In a large bowl, pour in the flour, onion powder, white pepper, and any other dry ingredients you’ve decided to try. Mix the dry ingredients together with a fork. Spread a piece of wax paper over your work space, and then plastic wrap as well. I used a standing mixer on a low setting for most of this recipe, however, a hand-masher would be just as effective, and may yield more control overall. Pour the sharp cheddar, about 2 ounces at a time (don’t worry about the measurement, just pour it in a series of small portions), and use your mixer/masher to incorporate the cheese in between each addition.
Remove the butter from the fridge, and begin mixing and mashing into the flour, until the mixture looks like a meal of some kind, gritty. At this point, when you pinch the mix together, determine whether it will stick together, and how well. The consistency of thick play dough is what you are looking to achieve. You will need to add at least two tablespoons of cold water, but you may not need more. Add one tablespoon of water at a time, mix, and do the pinch test after each. For the eager, if you over water the dough just add flour (slower this time), to cancel the effects. Your dough is done! And, I might add, edible. I had some difficulty with this. Use your hands to collect all of the dough, and place it on the plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, for the butter contents to harden a bit. After this period, take about one third of the dough and place it on the wax paper. Close the plastic wrap up around the remaining dough, and replace it in the fridge.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and move on. Luckily, I just discovered the wonders of using wax paper when you are rolling out buttery dough like this. Use another piece of wax paper on top of the dough, and begin rolling out to 1/8 inch (or slightly less) thickness. Now you can begin cutting out your shapes, and setting them to rest on a plate. Don’t let any bit go to waste; continue cutting and re-rolling this third of the dough until it is kaput, and even then, just stick the last bit to the amount in the fridge. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and place your shapes with ½ inch distance between, on all sides. Set it up in the middle of your oven, and let it bake for at least 12 minutes, and begin to watch them after this point. I prefer my crackers very crispy, so I allowed them to bake for 20 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining dough. This recipe yielded 150 crackers, and will last in an airtight container for two weeks. If you can stay away from them!
I filled up the individual plastic containers with 30 pieces each, perfect for a packed lunch, and dressed them up with my own labels in a rustic style.
- Tall Labels • I chose the “Rustic” style in Sage.