Homemade Cheese Crackers, Regular and Gluten-free

 

Cheezits™ cheese crackers are my guilty pleasure. I know they’re loaded with sodium, fat, and many, many ingredients that I can’t pronounce or readily identify. And believe me, the brand name cheese crackers are much better than the store brand ones. So naturally, now that I’m on my homemade cracker journey, it only makes sense to try to create a homemade version of my very favorite-est junk food!

I’ve experimented a bit and very pleased with the end result. As always, I can think of about a dozen variations on these crackers that I want to try out!

Homemade Cheese crackers

Cheese crackers in a line

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar, gratedGrated extra sharp cheddar for homemade cheezit-like crackers
  • 4 T. room temperature butter
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. flour (either all-purpose or brown rice flour)
  • 3 T. cold nonfat milk or water

Directions:

Combine the cheese, butter, and salt in a mixer. A Kitchenaid would work best for this but I currently have two completely DEAD Kitchenaid mixers out in my garage. I used my Bosch mixer instead (although the Kitchenaid would have been better.) I think you could probably also use a food processor if you needed to.

Add the flour and mix together. It’ll be crumbly and won’t hold together. (I made several batches, two of which used brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour. I was amazed at how well those gluten-free batches turned out!)

With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the cold milk or water. Once the dough starts clumping together into one big lump, you can stop adding liquid. It’s easier to make this dough too wet, so take your time adding the milk or water. You’ll end up with dough that is pretty similar in texture to pie crust dough.

Wrap the lump of cheesy dough in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for an hour or two. You want it to be thoroughly chilled before you roll it out.

Cheese cracker dough is very similar to pie crust

After the dough is completely cold, divide it into two or three pieces. On a piece of parchment, roll the dough out as flat as you possibly can. Sprinkle a little flour on the top to keep the rolling pin from sticking. Roll the dough at least as thin as 1/8 inch. If you can roll it to 1/16 of an inch, that’s even better.

The first batch I made, I just scored the crackers and baked them. I learned the hard way that just scoring the dough wasn’t enough. They all melted back together into one humongous cracker.

gluten-free cheese crackers

You can see that the dough sort of melted together into one humongous cracker.

On my second batch, I moved the little squares from the parchment I rolled them out on to a new sheet of parchment on one of my stone baking dishes. I also used the end of a bamboo skewer to poke a little hole in the center of each cheese cracker.

Individual cheese crackers are ready to bake

This is what those crackers need to look like before baking.

I also had to play around with the baking time to get it just right. The batches that turned out just right all baked 19-21 minutes. If the crackers were a little thicker, they needed a little more time. The thinner crackers browned up more quickly. The bake time was probably the most tricky part of this recipe. If you bake the crackers too long, they taste burnt. If  you don’t bake them quite long enough, they end up being a little chewy…which is just not how Cheezits are supposed to crunch!

Perfectly baked homemade cheese crackers

These crackers are perfectly baked

Homemade cheesy crackers

These crackers, on the other hand, are a little over-baked

Don’t be afraid to sample the crackers and return the pan to the oven until the crackers are just exactly right.

Remove the parchment with the crackers from the hot pans and let them cool. Because today is a VERY humid day, I actually put all the crackers back into the oven after it had been turned off and cooled down.

I haven’t been this excited about a recipe in a long time….and I get excited about recipes all the time!

Gluten-free cheese crackers for when you're craving Cheez-Its

Thoughts about the gluten-free version of these crackers: I used brown rice flour instead of all-purpose wheat flour because it’s what I had in the house. I was very pleased with the texture that these crackers had. I do plan to try some other flours just to compare and figure out which I think is the best. I was trying to keep this recipe as simple as possible so I didn’t want to get too fancy. It should also be noted that since I bake with regular flour all the time, my kitchen is probably teeming with rogue gluten. I was very careful when I made these crackers because I intend to give them to a friend with celiac. Still, it’s entirely possible that anything that comes out of my kitchen is contaminated with gluten.

Some brainstorms on how to get creative with this recipe: I want to try making these crackers with different kinds of cheese. I’m actually just thinking of all the different flavors that the cracker companies already make into cheese crackers like pepperjack, Parmesan, mild cheddar, and many others. I particularly love the smoky cheddar flavor that Cheezits come in and I’m going to try adding a few drops of liquid smoke to the cracker dough next time I make these. Last but not least, I want to try adding cooked bacon that has been ground up to little bits. EVERYTHING is better with bacon.

Gluten-free Cheese crackers Homemade cheesy crackers

Progeny brilliance: my son Nate had a brilliant idea for the next time I make these cheese crackers. He suggested that I use the hand crank pasta maker to flatten out the dough into very, very thin strips. Then I can use the little wavy roller thing to cut the strips into squares. I love that idea and I’ll let you know how it works.

Barb

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Homemade Cheese Crackers, Regular and Gluten-free

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes

Yield: 4-5 dozen 1 inch crackers

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • 4 T. room temperature butter
  • 3/4 t. salt
  • 1 c. flour (either all-purpose or brown rice flour)
  • 3 T. cold nonfat milk or water

Instructions

Combine the cheese, butter, and salt in a mixer and mix together.

Add the flour and mix. It'll be crumbly and won't hold together. (I made several batches, two of which used brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour. I was amazed at how well those gluten-free batches turned out!)

With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the cold milk or water. Once the dough starts clumping together into one big lump, you can stop adding liquid. It's easier to make this dough too wet, so take your time adding the milk or water. You'll end up with dough that is pretty similar in texture to pie crust dough.

Wrap the lump of cheesy dough in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for an hour or two. You want it to be thoroughly chilled before you roll it out.

After the dough is completely cold, divide it into two or three pieces. On a piece of parchment, roll the dough out as flat as you possibly can. Sprinkle a little flour on the top to keep the rolling pin from sticking. Roll the dough at least as thin as 1/8 inch. If you can roll it to 1/16 of an inch, that's even better.

Use a knife or pizza wheel to cut the dough into 1" squares. Move the little squares from the parchment to a new sheet of parchment on a baking stone or cookie sheet. Poke a little hole in the middle of each cracker with the end of a bamboo skewer or something similar.

Bake at 375 degrees for 19-21 minutes. If the crackers were a little thicker, they need a little more time. The thinner crackers brown up more quickly. The bake time is probably the most tricky part of this recipe. If you bake the crackers too long, they taste burnt. If you don't bake them quite long enough, they end up being a little chewy...which is just not how Cheezits are supposed to crunch!

Don't be afraid to sample the crackers and return the pan to the oven until the crackers are just exactly right.

Remove the parchment with the crackers from the hot pans and let them cool. Because today is a VERY humid day, I actually put all the crackers back into the oven after it had been turned off and cooled down.

http://www.mysisterskitchenonline.com/2012/06/13/homemade-cheese-crackers-regular-and-gluten-free/

 


3 thoughts on “Homemade Cheese Crackers, Regular and Gluten-free

  1. These look so good! I love Cheez-its. I love recipes that don’t have crazy mystery ingredients even more.

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