Cheddar Cheese Crackers are commonly remembered in the form of the bright-orange, addictive snack food that most people grew up eating as kids. These homemade crackers aren't bright orange because I used a white cheddar, but they will disappear just as quickly. The cheddar cheese works well with crackers because of its semi-hard to hard texture--soft and very hard cheeses won't achieve the appropriate texture. Gruyere is another cheese that works really well in these crackers, if you are looking for a variation. The texture of the cracker is more dense than its store-bought cousins; there are nuts; and heat has been added in the form of two kinds of pepper. These crackers are not only nostalgic but are now sophisticated.
Mix together the first four ingredients: flour, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, allow the butter to come to room temperature. Combine the shredded cheese and butter and mix either with a wooden spoon or your hands. Once the butter-cheese mixture is smooth, fold in the flour until smooth, and finally mix in the chopped walnuts.
Transfer the dough to parchment paper or plastic wrap. Shape the dough into either a log or a flat disc and chill for at least an hour. The dough needs to be firm but pliable when slicing the crackers. Using a cheese cutter to slice consistently thin (1/4 in.) crackers off the log works like a charm, but a sharp knife works, too. If using the flattened disc method, first roll out the dough into 1/4 in. thick before slicing. Transfer slices to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and poke a couple holes in the dough using a toothpick.
Bake the crackers for 8 min. at 400 degrees F or until golden brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Crackers will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container.
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