Almost every Southern cook has a tried and true recipe for chicken divan, potato salad, and cheese crackers or cheese straws in his or her arsenal of recipes. Everyone, that is except me. I’ve got potato salad and chicken divan down pat, but cheese crackers have always eluded me!
Although I love cheese crackers and eat and serve them at every opportunity, I have never perfected a good recipe. As a result, I’ve been forced to pay extravagant prices at the bakery or store. I’m actually not much of a baker, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I don’t have a good recipe. Flour and I do not get along. It’s not that I’m allergic to gluten or anything, it’s just every time I make anything containing flour it ends up all over our kitchen and me and it’s exasperating. But, be that as it may, I needed a good recipe for cheese crackers!
In case you are wondering, in the South, these flavorful cheese crackers are also known as Cheese Wafers or Cheese Crisps.
I’ve been begging my friend Courtney Glazer for what seems like years to share her yummy recipe for Crispy Cheesy Southern Cheese Crackers. Courtney’s cheese crackers are legendary and everything a cheese cracker should be: crispy, cheesy and utterly delectable! The problem was, Courtney didn’t have an actual recipe. Like so many good cooks, she never actually measured anything, she just made them. That is until now. Finally, I prevailed on her to measure and document her process and share it with me, so now I can share it with you!
These flavorful crackers make a wonderful homemade edible Christmas gift. If you are looking for similar homemade gift ideas, you might want to also check out these recipes: Dark Chocolate Billionaires Candy, Preserved Lemons, and Ten-Minute Mixed Olive Tapenade.
How to make Crispy Cheesy Southern Cheese Crackers
To make Crispy Cheesy Southern Cheese Crackers you will need, extra sharp cheddar cheese, all-purpose flour, butter, kosher salt, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, and heavy cream.
Add the flour, salt, and cayenne pepper to a food processor. Pulse several times to mix. Add butter and hot sauce. Run processor for about 10 seconds until the mixture is the consistency of coarse meal.
Add the shredded cheese and pulse until it is mixed. If you have a small food processor, you may have to divide the mixture into two smaller batches.
Add the cream by the tablespoon until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides of the processor. It should take 3 to 4 tablespoons of cream if you had to divide the mixture or 6-8 tablespoons for the full batch.
Next, turn the mixture out onto a clean surface and press into a ball. The mixture may still be crumbly.
Cut the ball in half, and shape each half into a log. It helps when shaping the logs if you wrap the log in wax paper or parchment paper. If you had to divide the mixture up, you will have two balls. You should end up with four logs about 12 to 14 inches each. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill for several hours before you slice them.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the logs as evenly and as thinly as possible and arrange the slices on the baking sheet. They will spread slightly so leave a little bit of room between each slice.
You can add a little extra salt on top, or add a little paprika for color. You could also prick the wafers with a fork to add some design if desired.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the slices are golden brown and crispy. Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
If after baking, you have some thicker slices that aren’t crispy, put them back in the oven at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or longer, or until they crisp up.
The dough logs can be stored in the freezer, so you always have some on hand to bake up quickly whenever you need them.