People are always amazed when I take the time to make anything from scratch, such as brownies, cakes or even crackers. The assumption is it takes too long or is just too cumbersome. I’ll admit baking from a box seemed the norm for me when I first learned to bake, but then I met someone who was rather opinionated about baking. In her world nothing could come from a box, she looked down on the Betty Crocker/Duncan Hines home baker. While there is nothing wrong with opting for the ease of a box cake, brownie mix, or even mass produced crackers, there is also no harm in testing your skills with a few scratch recipes. I took her rather uppity attitude as a challenge and stretched myself.
Since then, I have learned to make many things from scratch. Now, cookies, cakes and brownies are easier and of course make more sense, but why not try crackers. A while ago, I decided to give them a shot. I made parmesan crisps then and decided to try spicy cheddar crackers this weekend. And wow! They are amazing!
The recipe is super easy. It only has six ingredients and requires just a few tools.
You will need:
1 ½ cups of grated cheddar
4 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces
¾ of a cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon either milk, cream or ½ & ½
In a food processor, combine first five ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms crumbles. Then add the liquid and pulse until a ball forms. In some cases a ball won’t form but the dough becomes wet enough to form a ball by molding it with clean hands.
On a floured cutting board with a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 1/8th inch thickness. Then, using a small biscuit cutter, cut out as many small rounds as will fit. Lift the rounds carefully and place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.
I found the recipe on the blog Smitten Kitchen, and it was originally for cheese straws. I altered it just a little, replacing the red pepper flakes with cayenne pepper and cut them into a cracker rather than into strips.
I baked these up Saturday to snack on during the Final four basketball games. Once they cooled, they didn’t last very long. Kevin gave them a rave review, commenting that the cayenne gave it a little kick of intense flavor.
If you can make pie dough from scratch, then this is a piece of cake. Actually, it is easier then pie dough and only took me 30 minutes from start to finish. If you want to impress your friends, whip up a batch of these for the next book club.