The older I get, the more I lean toward savory snacks and treats during the holidays. They seem a welcome reprieve after all of the sweets and sugary drinks. One thing that has become my standby for get-togethers and easy hostess gifts is savory cookies. Next year for Christmas, I will just make a medley of these shortbread crackers/cookies as gifts because they are always popular on table spreads.
Ina Garten first introduced me to her blue cheese and walnut shortbread crackers, which turned me on to savory pastry cooking.
Recently, I saw her prepare these on The Today Show (a recipe from her new cookbook, which of course I own) and knew I had to make them. Not unlike the cheese coins or cheese straws we see everywhere in The South, Ina’s Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Crackers combine sharp cheddar cheese with fresh jalapeno, smoked chipotle chili powder and crunchy fleur de sel on top.
Addictive, the crackers go perfectly with a cold beer.
I make the dough a day ahead and then just slice and bake before I need them.
As seen on The Today Show…
Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Crackers
Ingredients (makes about 34 crackers):
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¹⁄8 teaspoon baking powder
- 14 tablespoons (13/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, 1/2-inch-diced
- 5 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar, grated
- 1 tablespoon minced seeded jalapeño pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
- Fleur de sel or sea salt
Place the flour, kosher salt, and baking powder in a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheddar, jalapeño, and chipotle chili powder and pulse again. With the food processor running, add the ice water all at once. Continue pulsing until the mixture begins to form a ball. Dump the dough onto a floured board and roll it into a 14-inch log. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Cut the dough in 3/8-inch-thick slices. Place the crackers on the prepared sheet pan, brush with the egg wash, and sprinkle with the fleur de sel. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown (Note: mine took about 18 minutes). Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. If serving later, cool completely then store in airtight containers.
Can you see the bits of jalapeno in there? So pretty and festive!
Enjoy, friends! xoxo