I didn't have occasion to make focaccia and pumpkin rolls as hoped, but I still spent time baking a few festive treats to bring to the party, including cheese straws! I don't know why I waited so long to try this recipe, since I mastered regular crackers long ago (which reminds me I need to post that recipe). Cheese straws taste just like cheez-its but are a thousand times better for you, especially if you cut the butter and add whole wheat flour to healthify. I also added dried herbs and gouda instead of cheddar to fancify my version.
It felt like I was baking allll day, probably because it took forever to roll and cut out all these thin little sticks. So take this lady's advice instead and roll the dough into a log to be able to quickly slice it into thin round crackers. And if you make an extra log of dough to store in the freezer, you can slice and bake off a few crackers at a time to satisfy cheez-it cravings within minutes. I recently learned this freezer trick, which also works for cookie dough, and it is transformative. One downside to my lifestyle of making things from scratch instead of buying processed foods is the daunting lag time between a craving and the final product coming out of the oven ready to eat. Keeping dough in the freezer solves this problem by offering both instant gratification and portion control.
Herbed Cheese Crackers
6 tbsp butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp dried herbs such as rosemary, sage, oregano, or thyme
1 1/2 cups cheddar or gouda cheese1 tbsp milk plus more as needed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine all ingredients but milk in food processor and pulse until the butter is broken down into little crumby bits. Add milk a tablespoon at a time while pulsing until it is moist enough to come together as a dough ball. Divide dough in half and roll into logs. Store in plastic wrap in freezer at least half an hour to allow dough to firm (or up to a few weeks). Slice dough into rounds as thinly as possible. Bake in batches on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
photo 1 via flickr; atrociousness of photo 2 and 3 are all my fault