Lately, I’ve gotten into the habit of making my own crackers whenever we entertain. Our friends are always impressed that I would go through the trouble of making my own crackers. But the truth is, it hardly takes any effort and I can usually make the dough in a matter of minutes. It’s good to know that something so simple to make is such a crowd pleaser!
This recipe was inspire by Ina Garten’s recipe for Parmesan Crackers. I changed things up slightly by adding sharp cheddar and spicy chipotle. I added just enough chipotle to give these crackers a smokey flavor without the heat. Add more, if you wish.
Makes 24 2-inch crackers.
Stay ahead of the game by making the dough up to a month in advance and freezing it. On the day of your event, defrost the dough. Then, slice and bake them.
3 ounces firm, sharp cheddar, chopped into small chunks
1 ounce Parmesan, chopped into small chunks
4 ounce butter, room temperature
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, very finely minced, about 1½ teaspoon
¼ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1¼ cup flour
Use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to grate the cheeses. I start with the Parmesan. Place the Parmesan in the food processor and turn on the machine until finely grated. Then, add the cheddar and process until the cheddar and Parmesan are incorporated and finely grated, being careful not to over-mix or the cheeses may clump. Set aside.
Next, cream the butter for about 30 seconds. Then, add the cheeses, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and chipotle. Beat the mixture until well incorporated; about 1 minute. (I find my stand-mixer makes quick work of this, especially if you’re making more than 1 batch at a time. However, an electric handheld mixer will work just as well.)
Then, dump in the flour and mix until well incorporated and uniform. Dump the dough onto a work surface and form into a log, about 9 inches long. Wrap in baking paper or parchment and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, which gives the dough time to rest and firm up.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F/176 C.
Remove the dough from the fridge and slice it into 24 evenly-sized rounds. I find the easiest way to do this is by slicing off a bit from both ends, which often tend to be uneven. Once you have a log of dough with flat ends, slice the log in half. Next, slice each half into half. Then, slice each quarter into half, which will give you eight evenly-sized pieces. Finally, slice each section into thirds, until you end up with 24 rounds.
Place the rounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake them for 22 minutes, rotating the baking sheet at the halfway mark. Remove the shortbreads from the tray and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature.
You can store these in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.