Homemade Nacho Cheez-Its
8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 TB unsalted butter, room temperature
1 TB vegetable shortening
¼ ts salt
2-3 TB of taco or mexican seasonings
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 TB ice water
cheese powder for sprinkling the tops of the crackers before baking, optional
Cook notes: if you don’t want to use any seasonings and just want plain cheddar then use a bit more salt in lieu of the seasonings.
I do not have a stand mixer, and did this by hand, which was much easier since you don’t run the risk of overmixing.
You want these crackers to bake up light and crisp, so to achieve that you mix the dough until just done.
I HIGHLY recommend investing in cheese powder for use on the crackers just before baking and for using when you roll out the dough.
King Arthur has a wonderful brand, and most natural food stores have cheese powder, even all natural-flavored cheese powder.
If you are making these in a hot kitchen or during the summertime, please use a marbled surface for rolling out the dough.
This dough you want to keep as cold as possible.
If dough at any point gets sticky, just stick it back in the fridge.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, (or by hand, I’ve done this by hand, much easier) mix the cheese, butter, shortening, seasonings, and salt.
Add the flour and mix on low (dough will be pebbly). Slowly add the water and mix as the dough forms a ball.
Pat the dough into two disks, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or overnight
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a cutting board, sprinkle the board with a tiny amount of cheese powder.
Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10x12 inch rectangle.
Using a pastry cutter, sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer them to the baking sheets.
If it gets hard to lift the dough off, just pop them back in the fridge to harden up.
Appearance-wise, if you want clone like Cheez It’s, take a fork and make indentations around the crackers, and then a sharp knife and make a small indentation in the middle of each cracker.
This part is time consuming, so it’s up to you. I just made a small hole in the middle of the crackers, and skipped the edges.
Baking: please bake for only 10-15 minutes.
Look for puffed and browning around the edges.
These crackers can go from lightly browned to burnt in mere 2 minutes so keep an eye out on them.
Should make about 4-5 dozen depending on how you cut them.
They do not last days. I’d give it 2 days max before they get stale.