|Baking, baking, baking|
Ryan had company the other night, so I figured that I'd make something for him and his friend Derrick to snack on (because men cannot live on apple pie alone ...). I had found this recipe for homemade cheese crackers on About.com awhile ago and it was in my "to-make" pile.
Now I'm going to be honest - at first I thought these were a pain in the right ol' arse. Part of it was that I hadn't let the butter soften long enough and then there was the whole stirring aspect and then forming the crackers into little balls ... but after they had cooled down and I started eating these crackers in earnest, I realized that these were damn tasty - kind of like a poor man's Cheez It. And if I ever get into the organic thing and have a hankering for crackers, this would be worthwhile to make because you know exactly what is in the cracker that you're eating.
So without further ado - the poor man's Cheez It.
1/2 c. butter, softened (do NOT skip this step! The butter will know and will thwart you!)
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. dried chives
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cheese and butter. Mix together until well blended. Add flour, salt and chives to butter mixture and mix until well blended. (HINT: This is where I got out my mini food processor and blended the ingredients that way ... seriously - do yourself a favor - use your food processor if you have it.) Form dough into one-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten balls using the bottom of a drinking glass that has also been dusted with flour. (Again ... hint to be followed - otherwise the crackers will stick to your drinking glass and cause much annoyance.) Prick each cracker several times with a fork. Bake crackers for 12-15 minutes until very lightly browned around the edges (I left them in for about 20 ...). Remove to a wire rack to cool.
The recipe also claims that these freeze well - for some reason, I don't ever see these lasting to the freezing stage unless I make about 100 of them, which I probably will never do.
Variations: The recipe called for cheddar cheese - I had a chunk in the freezer and got sick of grating it, so I grabbed the pre-shredded bag of cheddar and Monterey Jack that was in my cheese drawer. Cheddar would have made it saltier overall, but I thought the cracker tasted pretty awesome. I'd also be curious to see what a Parmesan cracker would taste like.
I also did not have dried chives in my pantry, so I used dried thyme. Which I don't think really did anything ... maybe next time I would use rosemary? Also, I'd maybe do a dusting of sea salt on the top of the cracker prior to baking.