At my home, summer picnics are nearly daily occurrence. A piece of fruit, a boiled egg, some carrot sticks, and a handful of homemade cheese crackers fill up our sacks. I can’t imagine why it’s not a tradition in our culture to make crackers in addition to cookies. They are so easy to make, and even a preschooler can help with most of the steps. These crackers taste just like cheez-its! My inspiration for the recipe came from Attainable Sustainable’s gluten-free version. I use spelt flour because of its nutty, slightly sweet flavor and light texture. I also love smoked Spanish paprika rather than cayenne pepper because I appreciate the smoky flavor and more subtle spice.
1 c. flour (spelt, buckwheat, and white whole wheat are my favorites)
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
4 Tbs. cold butter, diced in small pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika or cayenne pepper
5 Tbs. cold water
Combine all ingredients except water in a food processor and pulse until blended. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until dough comes together. Pour out onto plastic wrap and form into ball. Chill in refrigerator 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Put dough between two large sheets of parchment paper, sprinkle a handful of flour, and roll out until it is very thin (about 1/8 inch thick). The dough is very sticky, so it is important to sprinkle the flour first. Cut long horizontal and vertical slices with a pizza cutter to make squares. The rolling and cutting process is the longest step, at about 10 minutes. Use a skewer or chop stick to poke a hole in the middle of each square.
Place on two cookie sheets covered in parchment paper. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until browned and crispy. Let cool on the counter and store in a container for up to a week. If the crackers get soggy from being put away before completely cooled, you can crisp them up again in a hot oven for 4 minutes.
Justine Uhlenbrock is an urban homesteader, a minimalist mom, a writer, and a doula-in-training living with her husband and two young girls in Arlington, Massachusetts. She is passionate about sustainable living, health, frugality, and her quest for real food and family heirloom recipes. She blogs at The Lone Home Ranger.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do. Visit us at Rhythm of the Home and Rhythm of the Home Blog.