Sharp Cheddar and Black Pepper Crackers

Crackers

Ah. The time has come for a savory post. I’m particularly proud of this one, as I had never even considered making my own crackers until fairly recently. If you’ve never considered it either…well, start considering. This is seriously one of the easiest recipes ever. It would probably be a fun kids recipe too, since the result is something like a homemade cheez-it, sans weird chemicals you can’t pronounce and preservatives. I should also warn you…it takes a fair amount of self control not to eat the whole batch in one sitting.

I think you can get creative here…Joy the Baker suggests using chili spices, which also sounds pretty fantastic. You could also use parmesan and rosemary. Or a different kind of cheese. There’s room for fun here, people. Play with your food.

Sharp Cheddar & Black Pepper Crackers
basic recipe from Joy the Baker

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (or more, depending on how peppery you’re going. I used about 1 tsp)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 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 water, one tablespoon at a time.  Beat until dough 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.  Wrap each disk of cracker dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (an hour is better).

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.  Cut into desired shapes (I used a pizza cutter, and it worked pretty well. You could use a small simply shaped cookie cutter too, if you wanted.) Make indentation(s) in the center of each cracker with the end of a paintbrush or the small end of a chopstick.  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.

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