G loves Cheez‐Its, so I've attempted several times to recreate them. The problem is, I've never had a batch that really came close to the real thing.
Until this one.
I had just about resigned myself to occasionally breaking down and buying the box of processed cheesy goodness, but thankfully I tried one last time to create a healthier version here at home.
While this version is still not quite the same as the original you buy at the store, it comes close enough for us to be happy with the substitution and is obviously much healthier than all that processed junk.
I started with the Cheez‐It recipe in one of my favorite homesteading cookbooks: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. What I love about this book is that the author has already done all the work to make homemade versions of pantry staples and then compares the cost and effort of it all to the store‐bought versions to see whether it's worth all the trouble or not. The recipes aren't always as healthy as we want, but I find it's no big deal to alter them to better match the way we eat.
The consistency of this cracker has been the trickiest aspect to tweak, but I think this combination of butter with shortening has finally made the difference and led to its success. We use palm shortening for recipes like this, because it isn't hydrogenated and therefore doesn't have trans fats.
What You Need:2 cups shredded cheddar
2 Tablespoons cold butter
2 Tablespoons shortening (we use this palm shortening)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons cold water
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
What You Do:1. Process the cheese, butter, shortening and salt in a food processor. If you want the cayenne or Worcestershire, add them at this point. I sometimes add the cayenne, but we try not to use the Worcestershire and feel it's just not necessary.
2. Add the flour, then the water.
3. Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate for an hour.
4. Roll the dough out (it's often easier if you place a sheet of wax paper over the dough while you're rolling, to prevent sticking) onto a silicone baking mat. I just place the mat onto a large cutting board, roll the dough out and then slide everything ‐ mat and all ‐ onto a baking sheet. This is my secret trick for baking great crackers.
5. Use a pizza wheel to score the dough. You can see that I was very precise with this process:
6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.
7. Flip the cracker sheet over and bake another 10 minutes.
8. Use a spatula/flipper to break them all apart at the seams. Store them in an airtight container and enjoy!
Do you have a Cheez‐It lover in your house? Have you ever thought about creating a healthier version at home? I'd love to hear - leave a comment or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.
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