Homemade Cheez-Its Recipe

Homemade Cheez-Its Recipe

[Photograph: Vicky Wasik]

Because they incorporate cream instead of the more common butter, these homemade crackers brown more flavorfully as they bake, creating a deep, nutty, grilled cheese sort of vibe. This recipe works well with sharp yellow cheddars, like Tillamook and Cabot, but if you're looking for a change of pace, Manchego works well, too. Eat 'em out of hand, or serve with hearty soups, stews, and chilis.

Why It Works

  • Finely grating cheddar cheese increases its surface area so that it serves as a "dry" ingredient in the dough.
  • Cream is uniquely high in lactose, helping the crackers brown and grow more flavorful as they bake.
  • Kneading the dough helps make for crisp rather than crumbly crackers.
  • Yield:Makes about 250 one-inch crackers
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:2 hours

Ingredients

  • For the Dough:
  • 6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (1 1/3 cups; 190g), plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
  • 1 (8-ounce; 227g) block cheddar cheese, preferably sharp and yellow, grated finely (see note above)
  • 8 ounces heavy cream (1 cup; 225g)
  • For the Egg Wash:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 ounce water (1 tablespoon; 15g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling

Directions

  1. 1.

    For the Dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Toss cheddar with dry ingredients until well combined. Stir in cream, mixing with a flexible spatula until dough comes together. Transfer to a lightly floured surface, knead until pliable and smooth, then divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a roughly 15- by 11-inch rectangle, no more than 1/8-inch thick. Transfer each to a parchment-lined half sheet pan, then cut into 1-inch squares using a fluted pastry wheel.

  2. 2.

    For the Egg Wash: Whisk egg, yolk, water, and salt together in a small bowl. Brush over prepared dough, then sprinkle with additional salt to taste. Using a bamboo skewer or chopstick, press a small indentation into the center of each dough square. (This is strictly for a Cheez-It look and is therefore optional.) Bake until golden brown, about 24 minutes. Cool to room temperature and enjoy immediately, or store up to 1 month in an airtight container at room temperature.