The invention of the cheese cracker ranks as one of the greatest moments in snack food history, right up there with the creation of the first pile of nachos. Snack foods collide in these crisp and spicy yeasted crackers, made with “00” flour—a favorite of pizza-makers for its fine texture and crisp results—and a packet of seasoned cheese powder from a box of macaroni and cheese (seriously). Crowning each cracker with a jalapeño slice before baking is the ultimate snack move.
What to buy: You can find “00” flour at well-stocked markets. We like the one from King Arthur called Italian-Style Flour.
- Yields: 6 dozen crackers
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
- Active: 1 hr
- 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 7 tablespoons warm water (110°F to 115°F)
- 1 1/2 cups “00” flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1 packet cheese powder from 1 (6-ounce) box of macaroni and cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
- 2 jalapeños, sliced into thin rings
- In a small bowl, mix the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Set aside to let the yeast come alive and turn slightly frothy, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the flour, cheese powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.
- Gently heat the butter and measured vegetable oil until the butter is just melted. Add to the yeast mixture.
- Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. With your stand mixer’s paddle attachment, mix on low till just combined, about 60 seconds.
- At this point, the dough will look wet and won’t clump together well. That’s good! Just scoop it all out and, with your hands, form it into a ball. Place the ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a lightly floured work surface, flatten the dough ball with the palm of your hand, then pat it into a rough rectangle. Use a rolling pin to roll it out to a larger rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 15 inches. Fold each of the short sides in toward the center until they meet—you should have a rectangle measuring approximately 6 inches by 13 inches. Turn the dough 90 degrees, then roll it out again to a 10-by-15-inch rectangle.
- With a knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough into 2-inch squares.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; transfer the squares to the baking sheets. Separate the squares slightly so they’re not touching (if they do you’ll have to break them apart after baking). Use a fork to prick each in a couple of places so the squares won’t puff too much in the oven. Press a jalapeño ring into each square.
- Bake until the surface of the crackers takes on a light brown tint, about 10 to 12 minutes. Careful, the cheese powder accelerates the browning—these burn very quickly! Turn off the oven and open the door completely. Let the crackers sit in the oven for 1 hour. They’ll keep cooking and drying out, becoming crispy.
- Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.