Monday, March 19, 2012

DIY: Homemade Cheez-Its


I have been wanting to make homemade Cheez-Its for quite some time now.  Every Sunday evening, I prepare a weeks-worth of snacks for my family.  Since I prefer not to buy any processed snacks, this is the time each week when I make all of our homemade snacks (in addition to bagging up pre-cut veggies and such).  I make a batch of granola bars every week.  I also now add in flax meal and nutritional yeast to help with milk production, and to add more "health" to them, as well (my girls LOVE these).  This week, I also made a batch of graham crackers, and then I tried (for the first time) the Cheez-Its.  They weren't too difficult and they taste amazing!  Ben even said, "it's weird that they even taste like cheeze-its".  Haha.  That was the goal!  Here are the instructions, though I must warn you, they are very hard to resist.  Don't blame me when they're gone in a day or two!

  
First, grate 1 1/2 of sharp cheddar cheese.  Pour this into your food processor, and add in 1 cup all-purpose flour, 4 TBS of cold, unsalted, cubed butter, and 1/2 tsp. salt (I used sea salt, finely ground).  Pulse this all together until the mixture begins to get nice & crumbly.  Once it is crumbly, add in 4-6 TBS water (2 TBS at a time) until the mixture begins to come together a bit.  Now, it won't totally come together while in the processor.  The way you can check to see if it's done is to grab a bit of the dough and smoosh it together with your hand.  If it sticks well, then you are done.  If it still appears to be crumbly, add a bit more water and pulse again.  Once it comes together, carefully remove from your processor and roll it into a ball.    


Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap, and place in your fridge for at least 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove the ball from the fridge, and break it in half.  Place one half of the dough in between 2 pieces of parchment paper (to avoid sticking).  Roll it out to about 1/8 inch thickness.  Remove the top layer of parchment.  Cut into squares (a pizza cutter works nicely), and place squares on a non-stick baking sheet.  Repeat with the other half of the dough until it is all cut into little squares.  

Finally, sprinkle some salt over the top.  I used my sea salt grinder and made it a coarser grind.  Stick them in the oven at 350 for 20-28 minutes (mine were on the longer side, but some of mine were thicker, too).  As you near the end of the baking time, keep an eye of them.  Thinner ones will cook faster, and you'll need to remove them to avoid burning.  You'll want to take your crackers out when the tops begin to look golden and are darkening a bit (but not too much!).  Don't let them burn!  Let them cool (or not), and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container. 


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