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Cheese Crackers!

Cheese Crackers!
isn't she lovely?

isn't she lovely?

Isn’t she wonderful? Look at those crackers. They’re makin’ me crackers! I generally stay away from making snacks like this. I don’t really need them too often, just here and there for my kids, so I usually just cough up the cash for Glutino pretzels, and buy some conventional brand chips that are gluten-free, and call it quits.

But these are different.

These crackers are super-simple, seductively elegant, inexpensive to make, and terribly versatile. As pictured here, they’re rounds. But you can make them in any old shape you like. Cut the dough into strips, and they’re sticks. Roll the strips end over end, and they’re cheese puffs. Cheese puffs!

Cheese Crackers
1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced and then kept cold
1 cup finely grated cheese, preferably cheddar
4-6 tablespoons milk (any kind with at least a bit of fat), chilled

1. Mix the flour, xanthan gum, and salt in a medium-sized bowl until well combined. Add the cheese and stir to combine.

2. Using a hand-held pastry blender (or simply two knives, or a food processor, if you prefer), cut the diced butter into the flour/cheese mixture until the mixture resembles small peas. The idea is for the butter to be in small pieces, and each small piece to be swathed in the flour mixture.

3. Now add the milk to the mixture, tablespoon by tablespoon, first stirring to combine, then squeezing the mixture, adding milk and squeezing until the dough comes together into a cohesive ball. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight.

4. Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap until it’s about the thickness of a nickel (about 1/8″ thick, for those of you who are wondering what a nickel is). At this point, you could uncover the dough and dust it with more flour, but that would cost extra. Instead, the dough will be super easy to handle without an extra dusting of flour if you simply place it — still covered in both sheets of plastic wrap, flat on its back in the refrigerator to chill for another 10-15 minutes. In the meanwhile, line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. Once the dough has chilled again, use a biscuit cutter to cut rounds and place them evenly spaced apart on the baking sheets. Place in the preheated oven and bake, rotating halfway through, for about 12-14 minutes, until pale golden brown (or darker, if you like).

I must apologize for the radio silence of late. Can you ever forgive me?


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