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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Homemade Cheez-its

Remember Nate? My sister Julia's non-dessert loving boyfriend? He may not love dessert (yet), but he does love Cheez-Its. Now Cheez-Its are not my favorite, not even close. Granted, I'm a sweets girl through and through, but even when it comes to savory snacks, Cheez-Its aren't something I have even a remote interest in. Still, I've had such great success with homemade crackers that I was eager to give Cheez-Its a go.

I have to admit, these far exceeded expectations. Not only did I find them adorable, but I couldn't get over how fresh they tasted. With an ingredient list much shorter than what you'll find on the side of a box, you can't help but feel you're getting a higher quality snack in this homemade version. Though they don't look or taste exactly like Cheez-Its, from what I can recall, they completely lack that fake cheese flavor. They're salty and cheesy and buttery and I found myself sneaking several crackers while I packaged them up for Nate, the Cheez-It King, who gave them his stamp of approval.

Today's an exciting day! One of my very best friends, my college roommate, and one of the Maids of Honor in my wedding is getting married today. I couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of Kacey & Keith's special day and I am so excited to watch them profess their love and commitment to each other for the rest of their lives....and then to join them on the dance floor in celebration! I'll be sure to show you all a few pictures later this week :)

One Year Ago: Grilled Vegetables in a Foil Pack

Homemade Cheez-Its
from From Away

-1 cup flour
-4 tbsp cold butter, cut into small squares
-8 oz. grated extra-sharp 2% cheddar cheese
-3/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and pulse until crumbly.
2. Add cold water, 1 tbsp at a time, until dough comes together (I used 3 tbsp of water). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes until chilled.
3. Remove from freezer and roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper (I cut dough in half and did this in 2 batches). Roll out to 1/8-inch thickness and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into 1-inch squares. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake for 25 minutes. (Crackers made need a few additional minutes if you want them on the crispier side).
4. Remove from oven when crisp and brown. Allow to cool and serve or store in an airtight container.