Nothing says Southern cocktail hour quite like homemade cheese crackers.


Ok, I guess a mint julep throws its Southern-ness out there pretty hard.  But for most of my life, cocktail hour consisted of sweet tea and nibblets {yes, nibblets}.  And whenever those nibblets included homemade cheese straws, I was all over that.  As in, adults batting away my greedy little hands so I won't spoil my supper {or, more likely, their cocktail hour}.


According to my mother, a good Southern woman has frozen cheese straw dough in her freezer at all times, just in case.  {Side note: how many food processors full of cheese have I posted?  Probably 65 times more than any normal human cholesterol needs}

But I do love to be a good Southern woman {insert wink}.


I also love recipes that come together in 5 minutes thanks to my food processor.  Skipping steps in recipes is also a hobby of mine.  Yeah, I live life on the edge.  In this recipe, I skipped that whole rolling out the dough and slicing it into perfect long rectangles to make straws.  Rather, I rolled the dough into logs and sliced them.  Done and done.


You should have seen people trying to stop themselves from eating these crackers.  It was very me circa 1995.  So you've been justly warned: cheese crackers are addictive.  Once you pop, you just can't stop?  Sorry.


Throw them on a pretty platter, and feel your Southern Grandma's smile.  {Ok, my grandma is Swedish and loves some good pickled herring on crackers, but I bet these would still make her smile}

Southern Cheese Crackers
Makes about 40 small crackers, recipe from {gasp} The New York Times.  My theory is that all the Southern lady publications are too busy guarding their recipes to post them.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 pound sharp orange Cheddar
1 stick butter, room temperature

Shred the cheese in a food processor or by hand {please don't use the pre-shredded stuff for this}.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika.  Add cheese and butter and process until it forms the consistency of play-doh. {NYT says you can also make this in a stand mixer by first creaming the cheese and butter, then adding in dry ingredients}.

Shape the dough into long worm creatures, about 2 inches in diameter.  Wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 and pull out the dough.  Slice the worms into disks about 1/4 inch thick.  Place on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes.

Keep in an airtight container.  These theoretically last 3 weeks, but its more like an hour at a party.


It's a classy lady's cheez-it.


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