August 06, 2013

Homemade Cheese Crackers (low carb, sugar free, and flavor options like jalapeno, onion, etc)

As much as I like eating saltine crackers and Cheez-its and other kinds of flour based crackers, I can't help but think (over and over again) that flour, water and salt are the main ingredients in them and also are the main ingredients in craft paste.  Having made paste a hundred times over the years (most recently in December to make a Christmas Pinata) I don't enjoy the gloopy vision I get in my head of flour and water paste when I eat crackers.  But yes, I still love them.

Back in 2002 I discovered an almond flour based cracker that was no sugar free, flour free, low carb and totally able to be changed with spices and herbs to whatever flavor I wanted.  I've posted that recipe a few times over the years but if you missed it, it's here.  I've never made it into a 'cheese' based cracker though. 

Over the years I have tried various versions of cheese-crackers but I've never liked any of them enough to make twice.  This time, I was pretty happy with the results.  I will make them again with a couple tweaks - and you can change it up a little by using different flavored cheeses (I used a Triple Alarm, Three Hot Pepper Cheese) but it's a nice base to start with.   I would suggest rolling them very, very thin for the best flavor and crisp.  I did two batches for my trial;  the first thin and the second just a tad bit thicker.  The flavor and texture is completely different and hands down, the thinner version wins.  I also went a little heavy on the cheese because I love it so much - I like the flavor but it did make the crackers just a little bit greasier from the fats. 

Cheese Crackers - Low Carb, Sugar Free

3/4 c almond flour
1/4 c wheat germ or wheat bran
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t onion powder
1/3 c grated cheddar cheese*
1 egg white
*more salt to sprinkle is optional

Mix all ingredients together and form a dough.  It should be similar to playdoh.  I start with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment and end with using my hands.   Break into pieces on a large piece of parchment, silicone, or another surface for rolling.  Smash out a little bit with your hands, cover with another piece of plastic or parchment and roll out to a rectangle shape very, very thin.  Use a knife or pizza cutter to slice and score into squares or shape of your choice.   Bake on your parchment at 300 degrees about 25 minutes and carefully break the crackers apart on the scored lines.  I like to move the outside crackers to the inside, and the middle crackers to the outside, as the outside layers bake faster and are probably more 'done' than the middle.  Return to the oven and bake another 20 minutes or so, tossing and moving crackers as needed so they bake evenly until done.  Let them cool completely.  They crisp up as they cool.  Store air tight. 

*I used a hot and spicy 3 pepper cheese with Habanero peppers and such.  You could use regular cheese alone, or you could use cheddar cheese and a small minced jalapeno.  You could also add chives, rosemary, black pepper, or any other herb you want to play with.  If you opt to sprinkle salt on the crackers before baking, use a large kosher style and sprinkle sparingly.

Breaking the dough into pieces and placing on parchment to roll

Rolling very thin is the secret to a delicious, crisp, cracker

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