I've often wondered why anyone would bother making crackers at home. I figured the homemade taste must be superior, but it didn't seem worth the fuss. I have happily discovered there is no fuss, and the crackers truly are superior. If you can make chocolate chip cookies, you can make these crackers. You don't even need a rolling pin!
These don't have the snap of Cheez-Its or Ritz -- rather, think savory shortbread. Softened butter and shredded cheese are beaten together with flour and a few other ingredients. You roughly roll the dough into a log and chill it until firm, then slice and bake. That's it! The crackers are flavored with rosemary, cheddar, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. They're not too hot, but I reduced the pepper and pepper flakes on my second try because I didn't want that much heat and mouth-tingle.
The chilled log of dough is sliced into crackers; for a fancier touch, use a fluted cutter;
use a fork to poke holes in the crackers before baking.
Rosemary Cheese Crackers
From Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen
Makes about 2½ dozen 2-inch square or round crackers
2 cups (8 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling on top (I reduced to ½ tsp)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I reduced to ¼ tsp)
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper (I reduced to ⅛ tsp)
Cream the cheese and butter together in a large bowl with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon until smooth and well combined. Stir together the flour, rosemary, salt, red pepper flakes, and cayenne in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the cheese mixture and stir to combine thoroughly.
Turn the dough onto a piece of wax or parchment paper. Roll into a log shape for round crackers; for square crackers, gently tap each side of the log on the counter several times to form a long rectangle. Wrap the dough in the paper and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, until the dough is firm and sliceable.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut the log into ¼-inch-thick slices and arrange them on a baking sheet. Using a fork, prick the center of each cracker several times and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before serving or storing in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
The dough for these crackers can be made a day or two in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to bake and serve. Once baked, the crackers can be frozen and then reheated in the oven for a few minutes before serving.