I like crackers. I like their snap and crunch. I like spices on my crackers - chilies and herbs. I like cheesy crackers, crackers flavored with sharp cheddar or Gruyere or Parmigiano-Reggiano. Crackers are comforting.
I don't eat crackers often, and I would never eat a cracker with cheese. That's just me. When I was a cheesemonger and still wheat-friendly, a crusty baguette or a thick-cut slice of pain levain was the accompaniment I needed.
I don't eat much cheese now, though my love for it has hardly abated. I'm a little light in the wallet and I can never eat on my own the amount of cheese I'd have to buy to indulge my cravings.
So a cheese cracker - a compact little treat loaded with sharp raw cheddar - seems like a pretty good compromise to me.
I realize not everyone reading this can tolerate certified gluten-free oats, but for those of you who can, I warn you to use restraint once you've baked them. I quickly polished off a batch meant for a friend and gobbled up half of another batch I was bringing to another. I caught my mom sneaking crackers off the plate while I was readying them for their close-up.
This recipe is made entirely in the food processor - bonus! There are a few steps involved, and the rolling out may be the most labor-intensive part of making these. But I assure you it is worth it!
Cake and Commerce's Oaty Cheese Crisps
- 4 oz Certified Gluten-free Oats
- 3.5 oz Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (I prefer white cheddar)
- 3 T Brown Rice Flour
- 1 T Flax Seed or Chia Seed, ground
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 1/4 t baking powder, gluten-free
- 1/4 t agar-agar (you can substitute another gum if desired)
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
- 1/4 cup water, cool
- 1 oz lightly toasted pumpkin seeds (about 2T raw pumpkin seeds)
- ground pepper, to taste
- sea salt for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F (or 300 F Convection)
Combine ALL ingredients EXCEPT for water, pumpkin seeds, ground pepper and sea salt garnish in the bowl of food processor until it resembles corn meal. While running the processor, add water all at once. Stop processor once dough forms. Add in pumpkin seeds and pulse one or two times (alternately you can add them in later by hand to avoid breaking them up too much).
Place one half of the dough on a silpat or parchment paper, pat it down with your hands then and roll out to about 1/4" thick (or thinner if you want very wispy crisps). It should not be sticky. If it is sticky while rolling, place a piece of plastic wrap over the top while you roll it out.
With a crimped-edge roller slice into squares and bake as is (it will be easy to break up once it is cooled) OR cut with a biscuit cutter into neat rounds. If you opt for rounds, you will need to refrigerate the dough a bit before rolling it out in order to move the crackers easily. I've also used a knife to slide out the crackers. If you try it with your hands, you'll break up the dough.
Brush the tops of the crackers with a little bit of water and sprinkle tops with sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, herbs, or anything else you like.
Bake on the center rack for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cracker, when removed from the oven and cooled for a minute, is no longer soft in the middle. Note: you do not want these to turn golden; if they darken too much, the cheese will begin to taste bitter. If you use yellow cheddar, turning golden won't be an issue...you'll just need to watch it a little more carefully for telltale signs of burning.
Once cooled, these will keep for a long time (a month or more) if stored in a cool, dry place...emphasis on dry. Humidity is the enemy of crispy baked goods!