Spicy Southern cheese crackers

Michelle Lettrich

Michelle says ‘these homemade cheese crackers are spicy, buttery, and totally addicting’. Based on a recipe from Robyn Stone’s Add a Pinch cookbook of Southern classics (Clarkson Potter, 2017, 978-0553496413), they seem a little bland to European palates so I made a few changes (see below).

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Makes 20. Heat your (conventional) oven to 190°C. Prep time: 20 minutes + 30 minutes (chilling). Cooking time: 15 minutes.


Ingredients

  • 220 g cheddar cheese | grated fine
  • 110 g salted butter | at room temperature
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 220 g plain flour

The fat content of cheese varies between dairies and brands, so if the dough seems unduly stiff, add more butter rather than more cheese. The original also used powdered garlic (⅛ tsp), but it’s such a tiny quantity that I have replaced it with paprika and doubled the quantities of the other spices.


Method

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cheese and butter until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and paprika. Using a silicone spatula, stir in the plain flour half a cup at a time, until the ingredients are well combined and a dough forms.

  2. Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and shape it into a 1-inch-diameter log. Twist the ends of the parchment or plastic wrap to seal. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (see tip)

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

  4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, unwrap, and place on a cutting board. Cut the log into ⅛ ″-thick slices and place ¼ ″ apart on the prepared baking sheet.

  5. Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Gently slide the crackers off the paper or mat onto a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.


Serving

  1. Makes a wonderful pre-dinner nibble or an anytime snack.

  2. The crackers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, but my guess is they won’t be around by nightfall.


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