Remember those leaf-shaped pie crust cutters you bought a few years ago, probably in a Martha Stewart-induced haze? The ones meant for creating a glorious, swoon-worthy wreath of maple leaves around your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie?
Yeah, THAT wasn’t fun. Racing to cut the pastry leaves. Meticulously arranging them around the pie plate only to step back and see that they were slanting in two directions. Ultimately realizing that those leaves were destined to be buried under a mountain of Cool Whip …
This year, I’m making something much easier with those pie crust cutters: Cheese Crackers!
Just follow the recipe for Cheese Straw dough in my post on Cheese Straws, the ultimate retro Southern party food. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s 1/8-inch thick, and cut as many leaves as you can. Transfer the leaves to a baking sheet lined with Silpat®, and chill them in the fridge for three minutes. Then bake them at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes, until the edges are barely browned.
When the crackers cool, they’re intensely cheesy, buttery, spicy, crunchy, addictive, drool-inspiring and, yes, lovely.
Martha results. Slacker effort. Now, that’s swoon-worthy.
Adapted from Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s “The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook”
- 1 1/2 cups (about 4 ounces) grated cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper and process in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half. Process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
- On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough until it’s 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife or pie crust cutter, cut the dough into as many crackers as you can (dipping the knife or cutter in flour after once in a while ensures clean cuts). Gently transfer the strips to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat®, and chill them in the fridge for 3 minutes.
- Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the ends are barely browned. Remove from the oven, and set on a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature.