Puffed Cheddar Jalapeño Crackers
I’ve made it! I am officially moved into my new home in Connecticut (well, there are boxes everywhere, but I’m here). This puffed cheddar jalapeño crackers recipe is the last thing I cooked in my Georgia kitchen, and I have to say, it still hasn’t completely hit me that I’ll never cook in that kitchen again. I cooked so many good things in there!
Having to pack up, move, and unpack my kitchen has taught me that I may have a slight kitchen prop buying disorder.
Some people have too many shoes.
I have too many bowls.
Bowls that–mind you–are generally very difficult to buy, since every time I go to purchase one, the cashier always insists that surely I want more than one. Because apparently only weird or lonely people (or food bloggers!) buy one bowl.
So many kitchen utensils…so much hand washing awaits….
Now let’s talk about these crackers. I very rarely buy pre-made snacks, but I’ve always loved Cheez-Its. I’ve been meaning to try making a homemade version of them for the longest time, but my food to-do list is just so long. It got lost among the competition, and I was reminded that I needed to make them after I saw this Sharp Cheddar Cheese Crackers post on Joy the Baker.
The best part about these crackers is that they are like a cross between puff pastry and a cracker. They’re still crisp (though not completely crispy like Cheez-Its), but they’re puffy and buttery too. And SPICY. And cheesy.
To make them, gather up some jalapeno peppers. Aren’t these little guys gorgeous?
Place the jalapenos directly under your oven’s broiler for a few minutes at a time, making sure to turn them with tongs so they black evenly.
Peel the skin off the blackened jalapenos and chop them up, and place in a stand mixer with some butter, cheddar, and salt and pepper.
Whip it all up with the paddle attachment until spread around the bowl and all the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Add flour to the mixture, and mix just until it forms a crumbly dough:
After the dough has chilled out for a bit, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and cut out your little shapes.
This is the perfect time to use any ridiculous cookie cutter shapes that you may have. Like these ones that I got suckered into buying from Chelsea Market in Manhattan:
Place the cracker cutouts on a parchment lined sheet pan, and they’re ready to go into the oven!
Aren’t they so fun? I’m in love with these crackers. Here’s the recipe, so you can eat cheesy jalapeno cheddar crackers too.
Puffed Cheddar Jalapeño Crackers
Yield: 3 sheet pans of crackers
3/4 lb jalapeno peppers
8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese, finely grated
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes (1/2 stick)
1/4 tsp salt
a few cracks of black pepper
5 oz flour (1 cup)
Turn the oven broiler on high and place the jalapeños on a sheet pan. Stick the jalapeños directly under the broiler for a few minutes on each side, until the skin is blackened. Place the blackened jalapeños in a bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the jalapeños sit for 10 minutes to steam, then peel the skins off. Remove the stems and inner seeds, and chop the peeled jalapeños finely. Set aside. Be sure to wash your hands very well and do not touch your eyes for the rest of the day...those peppers are hot!
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the cheddar, butter, salt, pepper, and chopped jalapeños (but do not add any excess jalapeño juice)* in a stand mixer on medium low for 60 seconds, until the butter is broken down and everything is distributed. Add the flour and mix until just combined (it will look crumbly but should pinch together well). Do not over mix the dough, or your crackers will be chewy instead of crisp. Scrape the crumbly dough out into plastic wrap, shape it into disk and refrigerate for 2 hours until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll out one half of the dough at a time (keep the other half cool in the fridge), and roll the dough out to about 1/8 to 1/16th of an inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Use small cutters to cut out little shapes from the cracker dough, and place on a sheet pan. Make sure that your cracker shapes are no larger than about the size of a Cheez-It. If the shapes are too big, they won't crisp. Bake the crackers for about 9-10 minutes until crisp, golden, and puffy, then let them cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Enjoy!
*Note: there should be enough moisture from the jalapeños that you shouldn't need to add water to the dough. If the dough is too crumbly, you may add 1-2 tbsp of water, but mine didn't need any.
Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker.