Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Homemade Whole Wheat Cheez-Its

I've had my eye on a recipe for homemade cheez-its for awhile now. Like a long long while and what better time to try them out then for the captain and I's road trip down to San Luis Obispo. I know I've told you all this before, but anytime we go on a trip, whether it's just a few hours or a full day adventure, I always pack us snacks. And by pack, I mean make us snacks. I usually stay up too late the night or two before hand prepping everything and getting it ready, but it's totally worth it. Plus, it gives me an excuse to try out some new recipes! Now, I usually go with something sweet like a cookie (the captain and I are cookie monsters), but I wanted to change it up. Something savory and crunchy and these homemade cheez-it's hit that mark perfectly. No preservatives, all natural and just as addicting as the store bough ones. But better, way better.

I know what you are thinking - how the heck does one make a cheez-it? If you go and take a look at the list of ingredients on a box of cheez-its, there are a lot of ingredients. Don't worry, these don't have that many. In fact, you only need five ingredients. That's it! I bet you didn't think it would just be five, right? All you need to make these fabulous homemade crackers are cheddar cheese, butter, salt, ice water and flour. You can of course use regular flour, but to make myself feel a little better about eating these throughout our trip was to make them with whole wheat flour. Whole wheat means healthy, right? If you don't fancy whole wheat flour, go ahead and use the good 'ol regular all purpose flour. Also, if you don't want to use mild or sharp cheddar, you can use white cheddar. Ooh, white cheddar would be yummy in these. I will try that next time!

To make these cheez-it's, you will first blend the cheese and butter together until it's all mixed together. You can grate your own cheese, but since I didn't want to spend an hour grating cheese or loosing thumb skin (I know you know what I mean), I bought the pre-grated stuff. I know a lot of people are against the pre-grated stuff, but for this, I think it's just fine. Once the butter and cheese are mixed, add the flour of your choice and mix until all the flour is blended in and the mixture looks like little clumps. Then add the ice water until it all comes together. You want it moist, but not wet. Wet dough is sad dough. Once the dough is ready, separate the dough into two disks and let the dough chill in the fridge for about half an hour. Once 30 minutes has passed you are ready to roll out, cut and bake these little squares. Just don't forget to poke that signature cheez-it hole in the middle! When you are making these crackers, remember to roll out the dough thin - some of mine were a little too thick and took longer to bake. They were still tasty, but a little more on the chewy side than crunchy. Nevertheless, these cheez-its are a must make. Whether they are for a road trip, your family or just a snack for you, I promise you will love them!

I love recipes that are five ingredients or less!

butter and cheese. butter and cheese.

add in the flour

whip it. whip it good.

these look like hamburger patties.

I like to roll mine between two pieces of parchment paper lessen the flour-y mess

roll it as thin as you can. super thin.

cut into squares

place on parchment and don't forget to poke the hole!

brown, delicious and crunchy!

Homemade Whole Wheat Cheez-Its

8oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (you can use mild or white cheddar here too)
1 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
3 - 4 tablespoons ice water (or more, if needed)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix together the shredded cheese,  half of the salt and the softened butter. Add in the flour and mix until the dough looks like little fluffy clumps. Then, with the mixer running begin adding the ice water and mix until a soft dough forms. Use as much ice water as you need for a dough to form. You want the dough moist, but not too wet.

When the dough comes together, divide the dough in two, form each into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes. Then, roll the dough out on a floured surface, or between two pieces of parchment paper into about an 1/8 inch thickness and using a fluted pastry cutter or knife, cut the dough into about 1 inch squares.

Transfer your little cheez-its onto the parchment paper, make a hole in the center of each with a toothpick, then sprinkle them with the rest of the salt. Bake for about 7 - 10 minutes (baking time will depend on your oven and thickness, so just watch them carefully so they don't burn! Mine were a little thick, so they took almost 20 minutes), or until they have puffed up and the edges begin to brown. Let cool before enjoying!

These cheez-its are best eaten right away, but you can store them in an airtight container. If they last that long.

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