Cheez It's. Just say those two words to me and I swoon. I know they are filled with crap and salt, but I love them. I remember reading an article about a local Boston area chef on how she opened her restaurant, how she did it, where did she get her culinary training from, you know all the usual questions, then at the end they asked her "what are your favorite-can't live without comfort foods?" She answered wine and Cheez It's! I said YES, a chef after my own heart. I love to hear what the top chefs like to snack on; most of them are just like us and need that comfort/salty stuff. I try my best to not eat a lot of Cheez It's. The creations I make with them are insane, but good. I got a ton of emails on the infamous cheez it bark and white chocolate cheez it bark.
Lately I've been on a quest to make my own healthier version of cheeze like crackers. Or are they called shortbread?
Years ago I made a cheddar and cranberry one--super tasty.
These gouda and walnut crackers go so well with the red pepper jelly I recently discovered at Trader Joe's. If you need a good, crispy, tasty, decadent cracker for a new years eve party or for you last minute louies for Christmas appetizers, then give these a go.
They are tasty little critters and pair perfectly with a nice cold glass of white wine.
Make sure to grate the butter and cheese for nice crisp, light cracker.
For the love, use this stuff, makes a world of difference.
Do not over-work the dough. work with your hands till just combined.
It's ok if the loaf is still crumbly--it will firm up in the fridge I promise.
Slice them nice & thin for a crispy crackers, thicker for a chewy cracker.
If knife gets sticky when slicing the dough, just wet the knife in water over and over.
smoked gouda & walnut savory shortbread
1 & 1/2 sticks butter, grated and kept cold
1 1/2 cups smoked gouda cheese, grated and kept cold
1 1/2 cups white flour
About 4-5 dashes of half & half
1 ts sea salt
1 ts baking powder
½ ts black pepper
7-8 dashes of worcestershire sauce
1 cup toasted walnuts, rough chop
You could use another kind of cheese. If you do you might want to reduce the amount of salt added in. If you like crisp cookies then slice these really thin before baking. If you like chewy cookies then slice them thicker; just don’t go too thick.
In a bowl mix the butter and cheese together. Sift the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder together. Combine flour mixture with the butter and cheese mixture. Then add in the nuts. Using your hands (I found this the easiest way to get it all combined) mix it up the dough until JUST combined. Halfway through mixing add in a few dashes of half and half. Turn dough out onto a large piece of waxed paper. Roll the dough into TWO logs.
Cover in wax paper, tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can freeze the dough at this stage as well. If you do freeze make sure it’s wrapped really good so air does not get in there. When ready to bake; preheat oven to 375F.
Unwrap the dough log and, using a very sharp knife, slice the log into rounds 1/2 inch thick or as thin as you can. The thinner they are the more crisp; if you want chewy cookies then thicker slice. Place rounds on cookie sheets and sprinkle cookies with just a few pinches of sea salt.
Bake for 13-15 to 12 minutes; you will need to flip the cookies over halfway cooking to get the other side brown.
Bake until the bottoms and tops of the cookies are golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with red pepper jelly or other savory/sweet jelly. Store in an airtight container. They do not keep that long, maybe 3 days? Should make about 30-35 or more.