baking therapy: homemade cheez its

I love cheese, I love cheese on crackers, I love cheesy crackers. Cheez-its, Goldfish crackers, Flaming Hot Cheetos, yummm. BUT, we are trying to stay away from processed foods, which means no cheez crackers for Emily.

That is until I found a recipe for cheese straws (made with real cheese, butter and flour!) on Smitten Kitchen. I made these sharp cheddar cheese crackers last night and boy do they fill my cheesy cracker void. They actually taste more like cheddar than cheddar, if you can believe it. Even Jordan, who is not a processed cheese cracker aficionado like me really enjoyed them.

Homemade Cheez Its, adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cheese Straws

1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar, grated (about 6 0z)
3/4 cup flour
4 T butter, softened and cut into cubes
1/2 t salt
1/4 t crushed red pepper (although paprika or ground red pepper may give a more even distribution)
1 T milk

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor,  process cheese, flour, butter, salt and red pepper until it resembles coarse sand. Add milk and process until dough forms a ball. About 15 seconds.

Take out the cheesy ball and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. If you’d like to make cheese straws, roll it until it is 1/4 inch thick and cut into straws. If you’d like to make cheez-its, roll the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick and cut into squares. Poke the squares with the tines of a fork.

Transfer straws or squares onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, until lightly browned. Cool on a rack and devour!