There’s a reason that cheese crackers have long been a favorite nibble. Seriously, who doesn’t like baked cheese?!? And when you really let it shine with just a little flour, butter and salt it becomes an afternoon snack for your hungry toddler or the irresistible appetizer during cocktail hour.
This recipe for cheese crackers is as simple as it gets and with the use of a food processor it comes together in minutes. For all its straightforwardness, it’s infinitely adaptable. Use fun cookie cutters (like these animal cutters I found on Amazon) to turn these otherwise sophisticated crackers into a whimsical snack for young children. For the adults, I like to cut my crackers into thin strips that look dramatic when thrown in a wine glass for an appetizer. You could even roll the dough into a log, store it in the refrigerator, and slice rounds to bake-off as needed.
You can also tweak the recipe per your tastes. Add some fresh herbs to the mix, use paprika instead of cayenne, or even do a blend of cheeses. Keep the basic ratios the same and no matter where your creative spirit takes you I’m pretty sure your belly will be happy.
Note that the cayenne pepper is optional in the recipe, but if over the age of 10 you’ll want the heat it adds to these crackers. If trying to please the young and young-at-heart, make the recipe without cayenne pepper. Simply cut out the desired amount of crackers for your younger eaters and then mix cayenne pepper to taste into the flour you are using to brush the dough as you roll it out. You’ll get just the right amount of heat on the remaining crackers while saving yourself from making another batch. Not that it would be a bad thing to have more of these crackers on hand…
Cheese Crackers (for kids and adults) – Printer Friendly Recipe
The cayenne pepper in this recipe will make adults very happy, but young palates will prefer crackers san spice. Trying to please everyone? Make the dough without cayenne pepper and make as many crackers as you would like for the kids. When ready to make adult crackers, stir cayenne pepper to taste into the flour that you are using to dust the dough while rolling it out. It adds just the right amount of spice to the remaining crackers and saves you from making another batch!
1/2 lb grated extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
1 cup all purpose flour, more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cayenne pepper (optional – to taste)
Special equipment: cookie cutters, pizza wheel or pastry wheel, rolling pin, pastry brush, food processor, parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the grated cheese, the butter pieces, flour, and kosher salt in a food processor. Pulse until the dough comes together in a ball. The dough will appear crumbly and dry and you’ll worry that it won’t come together. Keep the faith and keep pulsing your food processor – it will eventually come together.
Generously dust a counter with flour. Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll it out to 1/4-inch thickness. The dough will be sticky so for best results use a pastry brush to apply flour evenly. After every two rolls with a rolling pin, brush the dough with flour and then carefully turn it over. Brush again with flour before giving it another two rolls with the rolling pin. Repeat until the dough is 1/4-inch thick.
Use cookie cutters to cut out desired shapes or simply cut the dough into thin strips using a pizza or pastry wheel. Place the crackers on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the crackers turn golden brown around the edges. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let cool for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Once cool, eat immediately or store in an airtight container.