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.
Read more: BraveTart: Homemade Cheez-Its FTW
- Yield:Makes about 250 one-inch crackers
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:2 hours
- 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)
- 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
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.
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.