Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a religious “snacker.” This means three times a day — mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and mid-night — I’m raiding the closest pantry in search of something to nom on. While in college this wasn’t a problem; I kept my dorm room stocked with fresh and healthy snacks to keep my tummy filled until the next mediocre cafeteria meal. Once I started working, however, I fell prey to snacks of the processed variety. (Famous Amos, Cheez-It’s, and the Keebler Elves, to name a few.) A monumental weight gain ensued, and, in response, I’ve started cutting out all that icky processed food from my diet. The thing is, I’ve miss some of those snacks. I need my Cheez-It’s fix (only without all the scary processed stuff thank you very much).
That’s where the inspiration behind this blog series came from. I love to cook, and know that most of the kiddos that I babysit feel the same way (hi, Jack and Jayne!). So once a month I’ll be sharing how to recreate your kiddo’s favorite processed snacks — with simple ingredients and steps. These snacks not only taste fresher — they’re also better for you. Why eat a snack with over 20 ingredients when it really only takes five to make it?
All of these recipes will also be kid friendly — as in, roll up your sleeves, call the kids into the kitchen, and get cooking!
Follow the jump for all the details on how to make your own Cheez-It’s in a variety of flavors.
– 1 1/2 cups freshly grated cheese
– 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
– 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
– 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons flour
– 2 tablespoons cornstarch
– optional add-ins like paprika, chives, dill, chili powder
1. Preheat the over to 375. In the bowl of a standard mixer, combine cheese, butter, salt, and pepper until throughly combined.
2. Add in flour and cornstarch and beat for about a minute, until combined.
3. Add two tablespoons of water, one at a time. Dough should begin to form. If it is still crumbly, add another 1/2 tablespoon.
4. Gather dough with your hands and form into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic and take a play-break for 30 minutes while it firms. If you have two or more little chefs, create multiple balls so they can each create their own.
5. Here’s where it gets fun – unwrap the hardened dough on a generously floured surface. Roll out until about 1/16 inch thick.
6. Cut into Cheez-It shape using ravioli cutter. Use the blunt end of a kabob or fork prong to create a hole in the center.
7. Transfer dough to baking sheet covered with Silpat or parchment paper.
8. Cook on top two racks of oven until edges begin to brown, about 10 – 12 minutes.
9. Transfer to cooling rack and enjoy!