Cheese Crackers

This time two years ago, I was in Los Angeles with my family.  While there, my kid sister, Scotty, introduced Helena to the magic of Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers.  I am happy to have captured this moment with my camera.  It’s one of my favorite pictures from that holiday.  Well along with the ones of Helena trying to get away from Mario Lopez.  I guess not all girls love his Latin good looks.  But I digress. . .

goldfish crackers

Scarlett giving Helena her first goldfish cracker.

mario1 mario2

Back to the goldfish. . . These cheese flavored crackers are a pantry staple for families with small children all across America.  I ate my weight in them as a kid.  So did Helena until we came back to London.  Suddenly she had no interest in cheese–not even in biscuit form (we’re in England now).  That is until we went to Nanny and Grumpy’s house for Christmas this year.  There, Helena helped Nanny make the same cheddar biscuits she used to make for my husband and his brothers when they were young.  The sentimentalist in me loved seeing her on the exact counter where Henry used to sit and also help.  Plus ça change. . .

biscuits with nanny

Helena helping Nanny at Christmas.

helping

In the same place where her daddy used to sit.

 

My husband, Henry, is the tiny one on the right.

Henry is the tiny one on the right.

After the holidays, I tried making my mother-in-law’s recipe but it didn’t turn out the same.  I think it’s changed slightly since she started making it in the 70s.  For instance, the recipe she gave me calls for pecans but the biscuits she makes do not contain nuts of any kind.  The answer was clear.  I had to experiment and create my own.

Below is the recipe I’ve been making the past few weeks.  The biscuits it yields are extremely buttery, flaky and moreish.

I have been using a dinosaur shaped cutter as when I asked my three year-old which animal we should use for our biscuits, her response was, “Animals?”  She looked at me like I was daft.   “Dinosaurs!” Helena replied.  So cheesy T-Rexes it has been.  Apparently, animal crackers are for a bygone era.  I’m so old.

Ingredients:

100 g butter, cut into cubes

100 g plain flour

100 g mixed grated hard cheese (I use a blend of cheddar, pecorino, and parmigiano-regiano)

1 tsp dijon mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

dash of cayenne

 

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together with your fingertips.  The warmth of your fingers will soften the cheese and butter.  When the mixture resembles coarse meal, begin kneading it until it’s smooth.  If it feels too crumbly just keep kneading.  You’ll get there.

butter biscuit mixture

Shape the dough into a disk, wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  During this time, pre-heat your oven to Gas 4/350F/180C.

kneaded mixture

On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut your biscuits with a cutter.

pre-baked

Place them on a lightly greased baking tray and bake them for 10-15 minutes or until golden.  Your nose will tell you when they’re ready.

Allow your biscuits to cool a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.  Be careful as these cheese biscuits are extremely crumbly.

t-rex close up baked dinosaurs

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Cheese Crackers

  1. Wanting to eat those pictures up–how sweet, all of them! I’ve tried to recreate box cheese crackers before as I think Cheez-its (which my oldest loves) are processed crap. (Not that I don’t love some processed crap, haha–Peeps anyone?) Your recipe is next on my list. Speaking of processed crap (haha), I love me some animal crackers, too. Always by the zoo-cage boxes when I find them.

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