Food + Wine

Rosemary Cheddar Crackers

I don’t eat crackers.  That seems like a weird and incredibly unAmerican thing to say, but honestly I just don’t.   Give me the cheese, give me the everything else on that party platter.  But the cracker can sit right there and stay all… not as good as bread and stuff.  I have never tasted a cracker and thought,

YES.  YES!  THIS IS AMAZING, THIS CRACKER!!!

And I love good food too much to eat things that aren’t amazing.  But then I started making my own crackers.  And all things changed.  (Why make something you don’t like, you ask?  Because I’m me, y’all.  I do weird stuff.)  Making crackers is incredibly easy.  If you can make pie dough, you can make crackers.  Because cracker dough is essentially pastry dough.  And I do love me some pastry.  So here we are.

Trust me when I say that these are beyond delicious and embarrassingly easy to make.  I brought them to a Super Bowl Party and they were a huge hit.  Then I brought them to rehearsal and once people figured out what they were, they were gone in no time.  You can make them with any cheese/herb combination you like.  Or leave out the herbs and add some spices… it’s really easy to customize these.  Just the extra sharp cheddar alone makes them taste nearly identical (but oh so better) to those Cheez-its thingies.  Feta cheese is good in these, parm, blue, swiss… you can’t go wrong, as long as it’s a strongly flavored cheese.  For instance, I wouldn’t use something like a mozzarella because the flavor just isn’t strong enough, and the moisture level is too high.

So I highly encourage you to make these for your next party… just put them out in bowls around the house and listen to the people exclaim,

YES.  YES!  THIS IS AMAZING, THIS CRACKER!!!

ROSEMARY CHEDDAR CRACKERS

serves about 8 (snack portions)

In the bowl of your food processor, shred…

1 (8 oz) brick of extra sharp cheddar cheese

Add in…

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose white flour (unbleached is always best)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt + fat pinch
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, ice-cold, cut into cubes
  • 1 heaping tsp fresh rosemary leaves

Mix until the butter has broken down completely into the dry ingredients.

With the mixer on, slowly drizzle in…

~1/3-1/2 cup half & half or cream

…until you have a moistened dough that comes together when you squeeze it between your fingers.  The amount of cream you’re using depends on a lot of outside factors, so just take it slowly.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and cut in half.

Roll out each half to about 1/4 inch thickness with a floured rolling pin.

Transfer each dough sheet onto a lightly floured baking sheet.

Score each dough sheet with a pizza cutter into the cracker shapes you prefer, to make it easier to cut and separate after they’ve baked.  And if you’re wanting to make these resemble the afore mentioned Cheez-it’s, feel free to poke a tiny hole in the center of each cracker shape.

Sprinkle the tops of the dough with a flaky sea salt.  I prefer Maldon.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven, with each baking sheet on a different rack, for 6 minutes.  Flip and then rotate the pans and bake for another 6 minutes, or until they’re golden brown all over.

This could take longer if you didn’t roll out your dough thin enough.

Cool on the pans and separate into crackers once cooled.

Serve room temperature and store in an airtight container for a few days (at room temperature) for optimum freshness.

And if after a day or so, they’ve lost some crispness (which could easily happen if you initially made them too thick), simply place them on a sheet tray and bake in a moderate oven to crisp them right back up again.

These, unlike most crackers, are simply perfect all on their own.

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