I have had Cheese Straws on the brain for about two weeks now. I think it might be my subconscious telling me I'm overdue for a phone call to one of my Aunts. She l-o-v-e-s Cheese Straws! Then I happened upon a post on Richardson Planet for Cheese Its. According to that post, they got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. How cute! Just looked at that post and they are adorable Goldfish Crackers. :)
I used the same recipe but added the black and cayenne pepper for a little kick. I also handled the dough a little differently...
6 oz sharp shredded cheddar
4 T butter
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c AP flour
1/8 t onion powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t cayenne pepper
I happened to have a block of cheddar in the fridge, so I did not bother going in search of orange cheese, but if you want your crackers to be orange, knock yourself out. Also, because it was a block of cheese, I popped the grater attachment on the food processor and shredded it that way, then switched blades and added everything else. Let it run for about 2" until it all comes together and forms a ball.
More because I had something else I needed to do than because it's absolutely necessary, but I wrapped the dough a let it chill for about an hour before proceeding.
Unlike the original recipe, rather than rolling out the dough on a lightly floured surface, I did it like a pie crust - between sheets of waxed paper. Based on a prior experience making Oyster Crackers, I also opted not to work with all of the dough at once. I split it into thirds. The directions didn't say anything about this, but in keeping with cracker tradition, I went ahead and followed the envelope rolling method where you roll out the dough, fold in all four sides envelope-style, roll it out again, and repeat. That's why I didn't do it all at once. I thought my arms would break when I made the Oyster Crackers, the dough got so stiff. Really wished I had a sheeter or pasta press that night!! This technique is to assure nice flaky layers. I had no idea if that would work with a dough that was in large part cheese, but I did it anyhow (glad about that now).
Roll it to about 1/8" thick. I was going to use a pastry cutter but changed my mind and opted to make more Ritz shaped crackers with a small fluted round cutter. Because I had rolled it out with the waxed paper, it was very easy to cut the shapes then just bend back the paper and peel them off. If it gives you a hard time, just pop it in the fridge for a minute to stiffen a bit, or use a thin spreader or spatula to release them.
Line them up on an un-greased baking sheet and prick holes in all the tops. I just stabbed them with a fork once or twice. I was actually planning to sprinkle some sea salt on the tops, but when I pulled out the new container we just picked up, I realized it was very coarse and didn't feel like pulling out the coffee grinder, but it might be a nice touch if you decide to try these.
Bake them at 350 for about 12-15" until lightly golden. Right around the 10" mark, your kitchen will start to smell really good! :)
See, look at those nice flaky layers. That's why I'm glad I did the whole envelope thing. Very crispy and just the right amount of heat. Yay! I got right around 4 dozen crackers out of this batch. We'll see how many are still in the tin come morning ...