There are two ways to prepare these savoury treats. The crackers are a bit simpler to make, but the sticks let kids have fun rolling ropes of dough with their hands. The two versions are equally tasty.
• 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, at room temperature
• 11/2 cups flour
• 1/2 tsp fine sea salt or regular salt
• Pinch of cayenne pepper/ black pepper powder
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well with hand/ electric blender till the dough is soft and pliable, like a firm chapati dough
2. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into two 11/2 – by 8 inch logs. Wrap them lightly in plastic wrap and chill until firm- about 1 hour.
3. Position your oven racks at the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or butter paper.
For the crackers
1. Using a sharp lightly floured knife, cut the logs of dough into 11/4-inch slices and place them an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
2. Bake the crackers, rotating the sheets once, until they are lightly browned on the edges, about 20 minutes. Set the baking sheets on a wire rack to cool completely. ( tip: use an offset spatula for easier handling)
For the sticks
1. Using a sharp lightly floured knife, cut each log in half crosswise, then lengthwise, creating four 4 inch long pieces. Roll each piece into a 12 inch long rope with your hands ( If the rope breaks, just pinch it back together). Cut each rope into 1 1/2 inch sticks and place them an inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a lightly floured fork, gently press on the sticks to indent the dough.
2. Bake the sticks, rotating the baking sheets once, until they are lightly browned on the edges, about 15 minutes. Set the baking sheets on a wire rack to cool lightly, then transfer the sticks to the rack to cool completely. ( Tip: use an offset spatula for easier handling)
Makes– 4 dozen crackers or 8 dozen sticks
Cooking time– 1 hour 45 minutes ( including cooling time)
By Meena samtani