i recently took a work trip to Chicago + while traveling, i got a case of the hungries, so i bought a mini-box of Cheez-Its. while i loved their salty cheesiness, i did not appreciate the strange chemical flavor they seemed to have, nor did i dig the lengthy list of ingredients on the side of the box. so, when i arrived home from my trip, i decided to try making them from scratch. and lo + behold, less than an hour + a mere 4 ingredients later, i had absolutely amazing homemade Cheez-Its!
y’all, these crackers are AMAZING! while they’re reminiscent of their mass-produced cousins, they’re different in some seriously good ways. they have such a bright, sharp, real cheese flavor with a crazy addictive buttery, melt-in-your-mouth consistency. my husband + i taste-tested these side-by-side with the store-bought kind + both agreed that the homemade version is on a whole different level – leaps + bounds tastier. the great news is, with only four ingredients + such an easy preparation, the homemade crackers are just as simple to prepare as they are delicious to eat!
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups coarsely grated) good-quality sharp cheddar, orange-colored if you want an authentic Cheez-It appearance
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional: additional salt for sprinkling on top)
combine all ingredients in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about two minutes. shape the dough into two separate disks, wrap in plastic wrap, + chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
while the dough is chilling, preheat oven to 350°F.
when dough is cool, place between two pieces of wax paper, parchment paper, or silicone mats, + using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. using a pastry wheel (to get the fancy edges seen above) or a pizza wheel, cut the dough into a grid of 1-inch squares. use a toothpick or skewer to punch a hole into the center of each square. (note: as a salty snack lover, i sprinkled a bit of additional salt on top at this point.)
return the cut dough (still on the parchment/waxed paper/silicone mat) to the refirgerator for 10 minutes – this allows the dough to firm back up, which makes it super easy to transfer the individual crackers to a baking sheet prior to baking.
transfer individual crackers to a parchment or silicone mat-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2-inch between crackers. bake at 350°F for 11-14 minutes, until crackers are puffed up + just starting to turn golden at the edges.
if you pull them out too soon + the crackers don’t have the desired crispiness you want, simply return them to the oven for 1-2 more minutes. remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a wire rack to cool.