At school this past semester, I discovered the most wonderful treat – apple chips. In the food court area, called the “Pit,” they had displays of them and they were a great snack between or after class. They were made by Seneca and were wonderful. But then they started disappearing. They went from two large standing displays to one, then to a little counter one until all the bags had been sold. This was of course after I had completely fallen in love with them.
Apples are one of the few fruits I actually enjoy so I thought the chips would be easy enough to make on my own. And really they are! if you don’t mind waiting a couple of hours for them to be done that is…
The recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cheese Straws. What I changed was using chili powder instead of red pepper flakes because I thought those would be overwhelming with the small size of the cheez-its i was creating. I also, obviously, didn’t make them ‘straws.’ They were still really delicious!
So some notes on what could be improved – The 1/8th inch thick that Deb says to use is just a little too puffy for cheez-its (though I think it would work perfectly for the straws). It’s hard to go thinner but I think the next time I make these, I’ll also make them a little larger. It was a HUGE pain to transfer all those little cheez-its from the cutting board to the baking sheet.
Definitely give these a try if you like cheez-its but are not so much a fan of the chemicals in normal ones.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces
3/4 cup flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon milk
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.
3. On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 8- by 10-inch rectangle that is 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife (or a pizza or pastry wheel; both worked great), cut the dough into thin 8-inch strips, each 1/2 -inch wide (dipping the knife in flour after every few inches ensures a clean cut). Then work the other direction to create the squares. Gently transfer the crackers to a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving at least 1/4-inch between them.
4. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the corners are barely browned. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.
5. Serve at room temperature. Cheez-Its will keep in the refrigerator, in a sealed container, for two days.