In part one of my cracker-making exploration, I showed you how to make classy Free-Form Herb Crackers to serve with cheese. Here’s how you make my other current favorite, sort of like Cheez-Its mashed up with jalapeño rings (they taste almost exactly like nachos and are much less messy). For the cheese powder, you’ll need to steal the flavor packet from a box of mac 'n' cheese. Cook and toss the naked macaroni that remains with butter and cheese, or save for a craft project. Up to you.
Nacho Cheese Crackers
Makes 6 dozen crackers
1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
7 tablespoons warm water (110°F to 115°F)
1 1/2 cups "00" flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1 cheese powder packet from 1 (6-ounce) box macaroni and cheese
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
2 jalapeños, sliced into thin rings
Step 1: In a small bowl, mix the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Set aside to let the yeast come alive and turn slightly frothy, about 15 minutes.
Step 2: Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the flour, cheese powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Set aside.
Steps 3-9: Follow steps 3-9 for my Free-Form Herb Crackers.
Step 10: With a knife or pizza wheel, cut both sheets of dough into 2-inch squares.
Step 11: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; transfer the squares to the baking sheets. Separate the squares slightly so they’re not touching (if they do you’ll have to break them apart after baking). Use a fork to prick each in a couple of places so the squares won’t puff too much in the oven. Press a jalapeño ring into each square.
Step 12: Bake until the surface of the crackers takes on a light brown tint, about 10 to 12 minutes. Careful, the cheese powder accelerates the browning—these burn very quickly! Turn off the oven and open the door completely. Let the crackers sit in the oven for 1 hour. They’ll keep cooking and drying out, becoming crispy.
Serve right away or store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
My other BAKED projects:
Photos by Chris Rochelle