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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cheddar crackers

I bought my food processor over a week ago (8 days, to be exact), and I've been wanting to use it since I brought it back to my apartment the following day.  See, I can be like a kid sometimes, and want to use a new toy as soon as it has been purchased.  It sat in the box for exactly a week until I opened it today to make cheddar cheese crackers.  These crackers have been touted as being homemade goldfish crackers, yet I am waiting to purchase a fish cookie cutter (how cute!) until I confirm that the crackers are worth it.  I decided on making these crackers for two reasons.  First of all, the only recipes I have at this point that require a food processor are these crackers and pie crust, and frankly, I'm not making pies for a while.  Secondly, I had seen a recipe for another version of cheddar crackers several months ago, but promptly forgot about it (since I didn't have a food processor at the time) until another recipe came into my inbox as part of a "homemade food gifts" ideas list.  Cheddar crackers it is!

I bought enough cheddar cheese to make 2 batches of the dough (a little more than that, but not enough for 3 batches, which I now regret).  I was measuring out the ingredients in order to make a batch, and I remembered that I had some truffle salt, so instead of regular salt in the first batch, I used truffle salt.  For the second batch, I had thought that it would be fun to add another spice, but couldn't figure out which one....chives?  rosemary?  paprika?  Then I found my Northwoods Seasoning (a mixture of  salt, Hungarian sweet paprika, Tellicherry black pepper, thyme, cracked rosemary, granulated garlic, and chipotle) and knew I had found the perfect seasoning (as an aside: I think the Northwoods Seasoning has a kick, but they do make a Northwoods Fire seasoning, which is spicier).

Northwoods Cheddar and Truffle Cheddar Crackers
I got this recipe from a blog, who got it from another blog, who got it from....well, you get the picture.  I don't know the original owner of the recipe, but eventually I traced it all the way back to this blog (which I'm sure got it from somewhere else). Of course I didn't get there when I started out, so I thought I was so clever for choosing white pepper over black pepper (the recipe I found just said pepper).

Oh....and you can bet I'll be ordering that adorable little fish cookie cutter in the near future (I only wish it came even smaller than this one)!

Cheddar Cheese Crackers
(from savoryseasonings.blogspot.com, via homecookinginmontana.blogspot.com, via http://www.thekitchn.com/)
My comments are in italics

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white ground pepper (optional)
4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese (I used freshly grated cheddar cheese and not the pre-shredded bagged stuff)
3-4 Tbsp water

(For the first batch I used 3/4 tsp truffle salt instead of regular salt and the white pepper - they weren't truffle-y enough, not sure if it just needed more truffle salt or if it's because my truffle salt is aged (um, well, just old).  In the second batch, I used 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp white pepper, but added a teaspoon plus a hearty shake of Northwoods Seasoning [and yes, I realized that there is both salt and pepper in the Northwoods as well, which didn't really matter at all because they are AWESOME].  I didn't really get the spice of the Northwoods when they had baked, so if you're looking for spicy cheddar crackers (as had been my goal), it might be good to go with the Northwoods Fire.)

Pulse the flour, salt, and pepper (if using) in a food processor (I added the Northwoods here, too).  Add the butter a little at a time while pulsing, until it looks like coarse meal.  Then add the cheese a little at a time until it again looks like coarse meal.  Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it becomes a ball of dough (I only needed 3 tablespoons of water in each batch).

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes (and up to 24 hours). 

Roll the dough directly onto the baking sheet to 1/8  inch thickness.  Cut dough using a knife or pizza cutter (the recipes vary in terms of the shape you should cut them into.  Personally, I think triangles are the cutest, so I went with that), then bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

The possibilities to me are really endless...white cheddar instead of yellow cheddar...maybe pepper jack instead of cheddar all together?!  Onion powder, garlic powder, chives....the list can go on and on...

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