Smoked cheddar and chive crackers
After my much trusted foodie friend Holly told me about Holy Smoke, I was itching to visit but every time I drove past it was somewhere without a fridge or after hours. Before I wax lyrical about this cheese, I’d really like to wax lyrical about how awesome I think Holly is, and how you can partake in her awesome knowledge of all things food and gardening at her blog, which is close to winning the Yates Veggie Challenge. If you’re an avid gardener, check out her blog. To vote you just have to create an account and vote on the individual posts you like. Really, you owe it to her, especially if you’re in Christchurch, because I would never otherwise have found out about Holy Smoke, or purchased their outstanding smoked cheddar, and therefore…where would these crackers be?!
These are by far the tastiest crackers I’ve ever made, but let’s face it, they’re never going to be as healthy as these seedy crackers. They are much easier to roll out (a little drier, but this isn’t a problem) than the flaky ones I made too, so if you’re looking for tasty + easy, this is the recipe to rule them all. The only thing I’d change would be to double the amount of chives I used as I couldn’t really taste them (already doubled in the recipe below), but the smell in itself of the cheese and chives was kinda worth the effort of chopping the chives. The amount of smoked cheddar I used was only just noticeable, but I ended up liking this as I could eat as many as I wanted and not get sick of them. I ended up rolling on some salt to bring out the flavour of the cheese more, but in the recipe I’ve just noted to double the salt quantity if you really want to taste the cheese.
Of course you don’t have to use smoked cheddar – ordinary strong cheddar (Mainland’s vintage, for example), proper parmesan or any other strong, hard cheese would work. You can also ditch the chives and the sesame seeds, but I used them as I had them on hand. You can even go so far as to make them entirely plain, which is what this recipe originally was from Sunday Hotpants (another outstanding New Zealand food blog). These have the virtue of staying crisp the next day too, but in case you live somewhere humid, they just need re-crisping in the oven for a few minutes (at about 180C)
Smoked cheddar and chive crackers
makes plenty, but you won’t have trouble eating them all!
- 3c plain white flour
- 1/2 c wholemeal/wholewheat flour, best to use stoneground
- 75g cold butter
- about 25g-50g smoked cheddar or strong hard cheese
- about 2 Tbs chives
- 1 tsp salt (2tsp if you really want to taste the cheese flavour)
- 1/4 c toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 c whole milk
In a food processor, blend all the ingredients except the milk for about half a minute. While the blades are running, pour the milk in a slow stream and let the motor keep running until a dough forms (see below)
Mine looked a little dry so I added a teaspoon or so of water, the picture was taken after I added the water and let the motor run a little longer. Grease at least two of your largest baking trays, then preheat oven to 180C (355F). Remove dough and bring any loose scraps together and knead only to bring together. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Dust working surface and dough with flour and roll out a piece until very thin (no thicker than 2mm, or 1/10″). Cut into whatever shapes you like, although making large crackers will take longer in the oven and the centres are more likely to be undercooked while the outside is already well done. I made mine about 4cm (1 1/2″) long. If rolling flavourings onto the top (eg. salt/pepper, untoasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds), do so when the crackers are almost rolled out to desired thickness. If using oily things like sesame you need to brush the uncut, fully rolled out cracker dough lightly with water before sprinkling with seeds.
Place crackers close together on your greased baking trays (they don’t expand edge-ways), then prick each cracker with a fork several times in multiple places. Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes, and remove once golden brown. Cool on racks completely before storing in an airtight container/devouring.
If you’re wondering what to serve these with, here’s some inspiration from The Flavor Bible: