Everyone LOVES (and remembers) Cheez-It® crackers…why not make an organic homemade version?
I will never forget the long road trips with my parents and siblings as a child. We would drive from New Jersey to Florida and about 30 minutes into the drive, we all ask, “Mom, how much longer?” That is when my mom would pull out our favorite treat and (now) guilty pleasure, the one and only “Cheez-It®!
Now that I have a toddler of my own, I try to serve gluten-free and organic snacks. Until recently, I had yet to come across a healthier alternative to the Cheez-It®. As luck would have it, I ran into a friend and very successful organic chef*, who shared her gluten-free, organic recipe for the classicCheez-It® and I am so excited to bake these up and serve them to Frankie!
*Please visit www.puremamas.com for more of Juli Novotny’s healthy recipes
- Organic All-Purpose Flour (or your favorite gluten-free flour alternative — Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour is a good one!)
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- ¾ cup organic cheddar cheese — if your child has a dairy allergy or if you are vegan: cashew queso cheese** (see recipe below)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp ice water
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and cheese together using an electric hand mixer on high until whipped up nicely.
3. Combine flour, xanthan gum and salt in a separate bowl until combined well. Add ½ of the flour mixture into butter/cheese until blended. Add remaining ½ and mix well. Add ice water and stir, making sure all scraps on the sides of the bowl have been incorporated.
4. Place ball of dough on a piece of parchment paper and knead into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half and place one half into a bowl, then place in the freezer.
5. Roll out the other half of dough into a thin sheet (about 1/8” or so) with a rolling pin between two pieces of parchment paper.
6. Remove top layer of the parchment. Using a pastry cutter, or super-thin sharp knife, pattern out the shapes of the squares, going horizontally and diagonally. Make a little hole in the center of each cracker. Brush or spray a light coat of olive oil and sprinkle the tops with a dash of coarse salt.
7. Transfer the parchment paper to a baking sheet and place in the freezer for 10 minutes while you repeat the same process for the other half of the remaining dough.
8. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
9. Store in an air-tight container for a few days if you even have any leftovers; we didn’t!
**Cashew Cheese Ingredients (dairy-free/vegan option)
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup water (or more, depending on how thick you like it)
- ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 Tbsp Sriracha sauce (start with one and add as you go, until spice is perfect for you)
- 1 Tbsp veggie bouillon paste or powder
- In a high-speed immersion blender, add all the cashew cheese ingredients and blend on medium, and then high until creamy without any chunks.
- Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for about five days.
Blog by Julie Goldstein – Master Artist & Art Studio Teacher
If you enjoyed this post we invite you to read our blog, “Hearty Healthy Winter Recipes: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.”
Carmel Mountain Preschool provides a safe and caring environment with hands-on, developmentally-appropriate programs for children. We also offer excellent care for elementary school-age students with our before and after school programs. CMP is located at 9510 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego, CA 92129, situated between 4S Ranch, Rancho Peñasquitos, Carmel Valley, and Santaluz. For more information, please visit our website or contact us at 858.484.4877.