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One Cheez-It to Rule Them All

The L&T Cheryl DeGroot
My PRESH-ussssss!

Nancy was on jury duty this week and couldn't record.  Here's one of our favorites from yesteryear.

At the conclusion of last week's Food for Thought, I bragged to Nancy Leson that I would create a cheese cracker the size of a Long Playing Record sleeve in my home oven. 

"I'm talkin' about the big Corellian Cheez-Its now" I told her.   Thanks to pastry chef Stella Parks' BraveTart blog I can declare "mission accomplished!"

Once I showed my results to Nance, she tried it too, with equally Stella results.  Pictures and tips for making your own Cheez-Its below.

I suggest you see Parks' forward and video here before going on to the actual recipe.  It makes two half-sheet batches.  One I rolled out to the mammoth size pictured above.  I cut up the other batch into traditional inch-square Cheez-Its.

Credit Stein
Just out of the oven after 20 minutes at 375.

Nancy made a saltine-sized batch which she topped with Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning.

Credit Nancy Leson
Gilding the lily again: Nancy's saltine sized, Cajun-flavored Cheez-Its.

The most tedious part of  this straightforward recipe is grating 8 oz. of sharp cheese on a microplane, but it's important to do so.

Parks says, "Finely grating Cheddar cheese increases its surface area so that it serves as a 'dry ingredient' in the dough."

I froze my block of Tillamook first.  Nancy says she's using her Cuisinart next time.  We both found our batches were done about five minutes sooner than the 24 minutes Parks recommends. 

All ovens are a little different so keep your crackers under close surveillance.  Just a minute too long can make the difference between perfect and burned.

That said, I really think this recipe out-Cheez-Its the store-bought.  It's cheesier, and to my mouth, has a lighter crunch.  Most importantly, it's really fun to do, even if the sheer volume of Cheez-Its did give pause to the lovely and talented Cheryl DeGroot. 

"It's only a dream; it's only a dream; it's only..."

"The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath." – W.C. Fields

Dick Stein joined KNKX in January 1992. He retired in 2020 after three decades on air. During his storied radio career, he hosted the morning jazz show, co-hosted and produced "Food for Thought" with Nancy Leson and wrote and directed the Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen.