Healthy body, healthy spirit, healthy mothering. This is the journey I have set out on with my two amazing children.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Homemade Cheez-Its

I had a major craving today for Cheez-Its.  I don't really know why, they aren't my favorite crackers.  Huh.  Odd but I decided to just give in.  I had to go to the store anyway because my little one was up all night throwing up and we needed some popsicles (all fruit to keep her from dehydrating) and some ginger ale cuz thats what my Mom always gave us.  :)  For some reason I read the ingredients list on the Cheez-Its box.

The ones I questioned were: TBHQ, paprika oleoresin and soy lecithin.  What were these ingredients?  So I went home and began searching.

According to (yes it has a website developed by the leading manufacturing company located somewhere in India):  Tertiary Butyl Hydroquinone (TBHQ) is the synthetic food grade antioxidant, which was developed to be used in stabilizing various vegetable oils, fats and food against oxidative deterioration, thus retrading development of rancidity in these products and extending their storage life.

This just means that it keeps fats from going rancid.

Paprika oleoresin turns out to be an extract of paprika used for color and lecithin is merely a generic term for the phospholipids found in plants and animals.  Very simplistically they are fats derived from phosphorus which help make up cell membranes.  So soy lecithin is derived from soy beans.  I like soy beans.  My only question would be the manner in which it is extracted in large amounts.  Most commercially produced oil stabilizers are processed using hexane which forms highly toxic derivatives.  There have been studies showing that hexane has been found in food products and that just can't be a good thing.

While I am not opposed to food stabilizers I wondered if I could make these crackers myself using whole foods and no chemically derived additives.  I began searching online for recipes and combining a couple this is what I came up with.  Feel free to do a search, almost every recipe is the same.  :)

  • 1 C flour
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar
  • 3/4 tsp salt (I am not usually a salty food fan so I used 1/2 tsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 4-6 TBSP cold water
First thing to do is grate the cheese (or open the bag of pre-shredded cheese---your call).  Mix all of the ingredients EXCEPT the water in your food processor and pulse until its crumbly.  Dump it into a bowl and add the water 1 TBSP at a time mixing it just like you would a pie crust.  Actually, this recipe is almost exactly like a cheesy pie crust.  Form a ball, cover with wax paper and toss it in the freezer for about 20 mins.  I like it to firm up a bit so that its easier to roll out.  Please note that most recipes don't call for freezing it, that is just my personal preference when working with rolled out doughs.  

At this point its time to preheat the oven to 350.  Roll dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper until thin, less than 1/4 inch.  Transfer it to your baking sheet and then cut into little squares with a pizza cutter.  

Before baking

Most recipes then say to sprinkle with salt but I did a mixture of salt, onion & garlic powder.  Bake for 25 mins (this may vary so watch them closely after about 20 mins.) until the bottoms are getting toasty brown NOT DARK.

See how puffy they get?

These are so fracking good.  I can neither confirm nor deny whether these were inhaled in a single afternoon.  But I can say that we are going to try to make a spicy version in the near future.

1 comment:

Krista said...

you are amazing! this just earned you 10,000 bonus points in the mom of the year award :)