On most days, my little girl is very reasonable and a great partner in most domestic escapades. She loves a trip to the park or the bookstore. She doesn’t complain when we pop into a thrift store or take the odd trip to Anthropologie. I’m not naive, however. I know this won’t last forever. There will come a day when Maeve is no longer a little girl. She won’t be grasping at my pant legs and crying out for mama.
She will decide it’s more fun to spend time with her friends or, better yet, to enjoy a long afternoon at the library reading ahead in all of her advanced textbooks. I will be a bit misty, but I will feign understanding. Or, will I?
As far back in my memory as I can recall, going shopping with my mother was boring. There was so much I wanted to do more than mill about a department store. I protested and protested. I hid underneath the racks and pulled all the tags off the clothes. I invented games and counted flecks on the carpet. It was torturous and I once got lost in a store on purpose to spice up our trip. It was fabulously exciting. Did you know there are little rooms in the employee area where the salespeople harbor lost children? It’s true. Everyone was kind and nice. There’s was candy there too. And, to make it all the more wonderful, they put out a dramatic call for my mother over the intercom. The attention was intoxicating. The punishment later that afternoon at home, however, was quite another story.
I know my mother either needed the company or was without an alternative. She didn’t use baby-sitters. I was her youngest and, therefore, often the child who was along for the ride. I’m sure this was hard for her, but, at some point, she hatched a method of luring me into submission on these trips. Food. That was her ploy. She knew me too well. If I agreed not to fuss and to join her on a shopping trip, there would be treats. Sometimes, it was thin mints or chocolate covered cherries. I loved both of these endlessly, but the best bait of all was a box of Cheez-It crackers. That might sound weird, but I am a salt and savory girl through and through.
I would eat those cheddar crackers until my throat was parched from the salt overload and my fingers were orange. They were, and still are, a favorite snack of mine. This is why I was delighted to come across a recipe for homemade Cheez-It crackers. It’s incredibly easy too. In fact, you likely have every ingredient in your cupboard at this very moment.
Today, I give you Cheez-Its. They’re perfectly salty, savory, and bursting with cheddar. They’re addictive too. Sure, it’s not gourmet fare. I imagine there are plenty of other stops on the internet where you can find your foie gras today. But, think about it. Many of you are probably going to need a good baiting technique someday. Your wee ones won’t always be so cooperative. Why not lure them with a homemade cheesy cracker?
I’m not sure it gets much better than this.
Homemade Cheez Its
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
½ stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons ice water
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cheddar, butter, and salt until soft and combined. Add the flour and mix on low speed (the dough will be dry and pebbly). Slowly add the water and continue to mix as the dough forms a ball.
Pat the dough into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10 x 12-inch rectangle. Using a fluted pastry cutter or sharp knife, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer to the baking sheets. Use the tip of a chopstick to punch a hole into the center of each square.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes it a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.
Adapted from ReadyMade Magazine