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There’s no food I crave more than cheese. My self-discipline is often put to the test because there’s an amazing cheese shop, the kind with an overwhelming selection, generous samples, and knowledgeable mongers, on my walk home from work. On more than a few occasions cheese, bread, and beer have accidentally become dinner. It’s my favorite treat-yo-self snack.
But fresh cheese isn’t the most transportable, nor is it cheap. And a box of Cheez-Its is damn satisfying. Those bright orange, crunchy, salty, cheesy crackers are the crack of snack foods. So this is my recipe for a transportable, affordable cheesy snack. It pairs incredibly well with friends and beer, afternoons at work, Netflix binging, and roadtripping. They puff up slightly while baking and become crispy, flaky crackers once cooled. Store them in an airtight container, and they’ll keep for five days, but if we’re being honest, we both know they won’t last that long.
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 4 tablespoons beer, placed in freezer for 10 minutes
Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. On low speed, mix togther cheese, butter, and salt until well combined. Add the flour and continue mixing until small pea-sized pieces form then slowly add 1 tablespoon of beer at a time until the dough begins to form into a ball (not all of the beer may be needed). Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and roll into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle. Cut dough into 1-inch squares using a fluted pastry wheel or pizza cutter. To create the hole in the center, use the back of a wooden skewer or a cake tester. Transfer crackers to the prepared baking sheets, leaving some space between each one.
Bake on center rack for 15 to 20 minutes, until puffed and beginning to brown at the edges. Transfer crackers to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.