Cheese crackers (like Cheez-Its or Cheese Nips)
- 1 c. all purpose flour (I used unbleached) plus 1/2 c. for kneading & rolling
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 c. cheddar cheese powder (equal to 2 pkts. cheese powder from mac & cheese boxes)
- 3 Tbsp. shortening
- 1/3 c. buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp. salt for tops, optional
Sift together 1 c. flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cheese powder in a large bowl. Cut in the shortening until you get rice-size pieces. Mixture will be very dry.
Stir in buttermilk with a fork until dough becomes very moist and sticky. Sprinkle a couple of Tablespoons of the reserved flour over the dough and work it in until it can be handled without sticking, then turn it out onto a floured board, being sure to keep 1/4 c. of the reserve flour for later. Knead the dough well for 60 to 90 seconds until the flour is well-incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a light coating of cooking spray on a baking sheet.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and use the remaining reserve flour to dust a rolling surface. Roll about 1/3 of the dough to just under 1/16th of inch thick. Trim the edges square (a pizza cutter works great for this), then transfer the dough to a lightly greased baking sheet, using a rolling pin to transfer the dough. Simply pick up one end of the dough onto a rolling pin, and roll the dough around the rolling pin. Reverse the process onto the baking sheet to transfer the dough. Use a pizza cutter to cut across and down the dough, creating 1 inch squares. Use the blunt end of a skewer or broken toothpick to poke a hole in the center of each piece. Sprinkle a very light coating of salt over the top of the crackers if desired (crackers will already be quite salty) and bake for 8 - 10 minutes, mix the crackers around so those on the edge don't burn, and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes until some are just barely turning a light brown. Repeat the rolling and baking process with the remaining dough.
Make approximately 300 crackers.