Homemade Cheese Crackers

Homemade Cheese Crackers Recipe

When my nephew comes to stay with us he likes to stand in the big front window to watch the buses come up the hill. From this viewpoint he can also see a number of plastic owls perched amidst the turrets and gingerbread of the Victorian houses he calls "castles". I think the owls are there to keep the pigeons in check, but quite honestly, I'm not sure they're very effective. I found an antique owl cookie cutter recently, and thought it would be fun to bake owl shaped crackers with Jack when he came to stay with us last week. I used the cheese cracker recipe from Alana's The Homemade Pantry, and never looked back. They deliver big-time on the cheese flavor, are snappy and crisp, and you can bake them off at your convenience.

Homemade Cheese CrackersHomemade Cheese CrackersHomemade Cheese Crackers

I baked half the crackers as owls, and then did the remaining half as teardrops. One word of advice, don't skimp on the quality of cheese you use here. It's where much of the flavor in these crackers comes from. I used a strong white cheddar cheese, but you can certainly use a good orange cheddar. Or branch out from cheddar altogether - you know a Gruyere version is going to be good. And it might take some experimenting, but a blue cheese version would be worth trying to get right.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

A shot I took with my Land Camera of Wayne reading and practicing the alphabet with Jack. It's hard to believe this is the same little guy.

Homemade Cheese CrackersHomemade Cheese Crackers

Take a minute to have a look at Alana's book - it's lovely, and it has all sorts of recipes related to making everyday pantry items - toaster pastries, ketchup, mozzarella, instant oatmeal, peanut butter cups, and yogurt. You can find Alana here, and here, and I loved seeing this spotlight related to the making of her book cover.

Thanks for the inspiration A - hope to cross paths again soon.

Homemade Cheese Crackers

I took a few liberties with Alana's recipe. The recipe below takes my tweaks into consideration - using whole wheat pastry flour, etc. Any unbaked dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and frozen for a couple of months. Alana also indicates you can re-crisp baked crackers in a 375F / 190C oven for 5 minutes if you like.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, plus additional for baking sheets

1 1/2 cups / 7 oz / 200g whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for the counter

1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
6 ounces / 170 g Cheddar cheese, grated
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 ice cube
seeds (optional)

Combine the butter, flour, dry mustard, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the mixture is crumbly and the butter starts to integrate into the mixture, about 30 seconds. Add the cheese and mix again on low speed for a few seconds.

In a measuring cup, combine 3/4 cup water, the vinegar, and the ice cube, and let sit for a moment to get cold. Add 6 tablespoons of the vinegar mixture to the dough and mix on medium speed for 20 seconds. Continue to add liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clings in a ball to the beater. Then mix for an additional 30 seconds. Mound the dough into a ball, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours, and up to 3 days.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator 15 minutes before you are ready to roll it out. Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C and grease two baking sheets. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface, press into a flat disc, and roll it with a rolling pin until the dough is 1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes using a knife or cutter. Any leftover dough can be rerolled for more crackers.

With a spatula, transfer the crackers to the prepared baking sheets, allowing nearly an inch between crackers. If you're adding seeds as an accent, press them gently in place now. Bake until the bottoms are browned, and the tops take on a good amount of color as well - 18 - 25 minutes, depending on how thick your crackers actually are. And rotate the sheets halfway through baking (or when the crackers in the back look like they are browning more quickly than the front). Turn off the oven, prop open the oven door with a metal or wooden spoon, and allow the crackers to crisp as the oven cools - at least twenty minutes.

Makes 3-4 dozen small/medium crackers.

Adapted from Alana Chernila's The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making10. Published by Clarkson Potter April 2012.

Prep time: 120 minutes - Cook time: 25 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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  • I love the owl cracker with pumpkin seed eyes ! So lovely:)

  • Those owl crackers are adorable! My little sisters would love them. Homemade crackers have been on my list of things to try... thanks for the recipe!

  • oh these are too cute! what a special homemade snack!

    Simply Life
  • I love cheese! I've tried two supermarket puff pastry cheese stick versions now and am very bad at making a packet last very long. Definitely going to try and make these with gruyère as you suggest...love how you made the owl eyes as well :) YUM!

    this is lemonade
  • What a beautiful post this is. The picture of Wayne and your nephew is just wonderful. Those owls are adorable-with those eyes. How clever! I have to say, I've never made homemade crackers before. I'm not sure why. These would go over well around here. Will be sure to check out this book too, sounds great.

  • I know these are good because of the mustard powder. I've been wanting to bake these & homemade wheat thins. Off to the kitchen!

  • Wow, these owl crackers are brilliant! I am going to make these for my neice she will love them. Thank you

  • Those owls were adorable! Where did you find an owl cookie cutter? Thanks for the recipe, and I love your blog! :)

  • The owls are the cutest things I have ever seen. I don't suppose I have an owl cookie cutter but I have to dig through my collection today & get these made quickly. My kids would love them!

    Needful Things
  • So sweet to see your nephew as an infant and now so big(!). My niece turned 17 today (she lives near you in Sebastopol) and I remember when she was just a little bundle. Crackers look delicious and like everyone else, I love the owl version.

  • Such adorable owl crackers! What a lucky little nephew. My little man is nearly 4 years old too, time flies that's for sure.

    Emma Galloway
  • What a great replacement for pre-packaged fish or animal crackers! The owl ones are adorable :)

    Anjali @ The Picky Eater
  • We have been fans of Alana's for a long time and absolutely love her new book. I have made the crackers too - and they are delicious. Mine didn't look as perfect as yours, but so tasty. This is a great recipe. We used white cheddar too but gruyere sounds smart! Love the idea of little animal cookie cutters. Thanks Heidi.

  • WOW This recipe is going to be a sure hit in my house... I love the teardrop and those owls... Cute!!! Quick question can we skip the mustard powder, thats the only thing I don't have on hand otherwise I am good to go tmrw morning... B/w the pic of wayne reading to ur nephew Jack... so precious!!!

    Reem | Simply Reem
  • The owls are seriously the cutest thing I have seen in a loooong time. It's easy to make cutesy cookies, but to make adorable savory crackers, well, my hat is off to you :) ADORABLE!

    Averie @ Averie Cooks
  • My kids are totally hooked on cheesy fish crackers, they are gonna get such a kick out of homemade ones! Great idea, now I just need to find some very small cookie cutters...I'll keep an eye out. :)

    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters
  • Oh, yes. I have been making lots of crackers lately and these are definitely going on the list. (I know you are a rye flour fan so I can't resist recommending these: they are so good. I can say that because it's not my recipe!) I can't wait to pick up a copy of this book!

  • This recipe looks amazing! I love cheese crackers, but sometimes it is hard to find them at the supermarket without a long list of ingredientes I don't even know what they are. Thank you for recomending Alana's book it looks very interesting.

    Martha @ Weekend Doings
  • I thought the teardrop ones were pretty cute - then I scrolled down and saw the owl ones. Too adorable!

    leaf (the indolent cook)
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