When I saw this idea on Pinterest I just knew that I had to try it. Cheez-It Crackers are terrific but homemade ones are off the charts good. Not to mention it's nice to know what ingredients you're putting into your body. I'm pretty sure that there are some ingredients listed on the box of Cheez-It Crackers that I don't even know how to pronounce!
After looking over quite a few recipes online I decided to mostly follow one from Katrina's Kitchen where she lays the process out beautifully. Making these crackers is a similar process to making a pie crust. So if you're comfortable doing that then you should have no problem with these crackers. They do take work but if you involve the kids or a friend it will be so much fun you won't even realize there was work involved.
Homemade Cheez-Its (click here for printable recipe)
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and a dash of hot sauce
1 cup flour
2 Tablespoons ice water
Coarse salt for sprinkling
- Combine cheese, butter, shortening, salt and pepper in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Slowly add the flour then the ice water. You may add a few more drops of water to help it come together but be careful not to add to much. The dough will be a similar consistency to pie crust. If you're like me it will be hard to resist trying the dough, it is so good even at this stage.
- Pat the dough into 2 discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Using parchment paper or a silicone mat roll out each disc to about 1/8 of an inch and cut into 1 inch squares. A pastry or pizza wheel is the best tool to use. A pastry wheel will give the crackers fun edges, I don't have one yet, so I just used a pizza wheel.
- Use a toothpick to punch a hole into the center of each square. If the squares are difficult to get off the mat you can return them to the refrigerator to cool while you roll out the second disc.
- Once the squares are transferred to a baking sheet bake them for 10-15 minutes or until puffed and browned on the edges.
- If you happen to pull them out too soon and the crackers don't have the desired crispiness you want then simply return them to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
I've only made these once and they went very fast, so I'm not sure how long they will last. But I'm looking forward to making them again in the future and experimenting with the flavors.
P.S. they make a scrumptious chili topper