Homemade Cheese Crackers
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (or substitute 1 tablespoon unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons ice water
Combine the cheese, butter, shortening and salt in a food processor or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Add the flour and pulse or mix on low speed until the mixture is combined. Add the ice water slowly with the mixer or food processor running. The dough will just start to come together, you may need to add a few more drops of water, but go slowly so you don’t overdo it. Gather up the dough and pat it into three disc shapes. Don’t knead it or mess with it too much. Wrap the discs tightly in waxed paper or parchment and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until you’re ready to bake the crackers. The dough can be refrigerated like this for up to 5 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Let the dough sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes, and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit your favorite baking sheet. Gently begin to roll the dough out directly on the parchment paper. It might be hard at first but keep at it. Roll the dough quite thin, to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut the crackers into 1 inch squares. Poke a hole in the center of each cracker with a skewer. Along with being decorative, the hole allows the steam to escape which helps your crackers bake up nice and crisp. Use a sharp spatula to separate the crackers gently on the parchment paper and transfer the whole paper to a baking sheet. Bake the crackers for about 12 to 13 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool the whole sheet on a wire baking rack and repeat with the remaining dough. You can serve the crackers warm, or cool them completely and store them in a container with a tight fitting lid. This recipe makes about 8 dozen crackers.