October 22, 2012 by Tamika
Ode to the Cheese-y Cracker. One nibble and I swoon. Cheese, butter, crunch, again, more! I can barely stop myself. Buttery, flaky, cheese-y goodness! This is ‘foodporn’ (that strange new catch word) that I like. I want to taste the lusciousness, feel the texture, come back for seconds (I can’t do that with a photo and you shouldn’t have to either).
It’s been so long since I’ve had anything like this. I’ve crumbled them up in soup three times this weekend and keep eating them out of hand. I sent a bag in to work with Dan today (to limit my supply, but also I can’t wait to make more!). With all my food ‘sensitivities’ I’ve been seriously limited in the cracker/ bread department, except for what I make myself. There are a few commercial crackers I buy that I’m completely over now. I like variety. The spice of life.
Making CRACKERS is liberating. I had no idea. I can play with this recipe in so many ways. I love it so much I’m even thinking of wrapping apple in the cracker dough, like a Cheddar encased Baked Apple Dumpling, with out the sugary topping, a savory one (oh goodness, maybe pancetta and rosemary inside? I’m going to have to work on this). The inspiration came from Joy the Baker’s Sharp Cheddar Cheese Cracker recipe. I was practically drooling when I saw her photos.
This is the kind of comfort food I go for. Not the chocolate chip cookie or chocolate sweets (though a really good dark chocolate bar, Mast Brothers for instance, I will never pass up). I go right for crunchy and cheesy things. These crackers are crunchy baked macaroni and cheese. That’s my ultimate comfort food.
Let’s get to it:
This made tons of crackers. I doubled Joy’s recipe because, well, just because I recommend doing that when making things you might obsess over. You can always make half right now and bake the rest tomorrow or a few days later, or put the dough in the freezer. I also used two different cheeses, mostly because I doubled the recipe and didn’t have enough cheddar. I love the 2 cheese combo and many varieties of cheese would work. You’ll see.
Cheese-y Crackers gluten free
2 sticks butter at room temp (if using salted, don’t add salt to the recipe)
14- oz finely grated cheese (use one, two or three cheeses! I used Emmentaler swiss and extra sharp yellow cheddar)
2 cups fine ground white rice flour (the kind Asian stores sell is perfect, and my favorite for pastry, make sure it’s GF)
2 tsp Psyllium husk powder
1 tsp salt (unless using salted butter)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder (I used ancho)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or more if you’re of a mind)
4-6 tbsp cold water
Begin by putting the butter and cheese in a stand mixer with the paddle and beat until well combined and it forms a ball. With mixer on low speed add the flour, psyllium and all the seasonings, it will be dry. Start adding water one tablespoon at a time, letting it beat in.
The dough should be easily pliable but not too moist that it will be a pain to roll out. Remove the dough, divide into two discs, wrap in parchment or plastic wrap (I favor parchment over silicone mats, particularly for gluten free doughs). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
When ready to make the crackers remove one disc of dough to soften a bit, pre-heat oven to 375, adjust racks to center and top 1/3 of oven, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Keep flouring the dough, your rolling pin and the parchment, turning the dough from time to time so it doesn’t stick.
Once you’ve rolled it out you can use a small (1- 1.5 inch) biscuit (cookie) cutter to cut out round crackers (like Joy the Baker does) or use a ravioli cutter to cut wavy edge squares, or just cut with a knife. I used a ruler to make straight lines, you don’t have to, but it gave my ravioli cutter a good edge to roll against.
I’m not a control freak I swear.
Using a thin metal spatula remove the cut crackers to a prepared baking sheet. They don’t spread, so they don’t need much space in between. They puff up, not out. Repeat with remaining dough, including the disc still in your fridge if you’re of a mind. Or do that one once you’ve gobbled up all these crackers.
Bake for 13-17 minutes. Rotate pans part way through. I found the crackers along the edges of the pan baked fast and actually removed some and baked the ones in the center a bit longer.