Makes about 180 small crackers.

Note: In "The Cheesemonger's Kitchen" (Chronicle Books, $35), Chester Hastings calls for rolling the dough 1/8 -inch thick and cutting the crackers just 1/2-inch wide. We also found success with a slightly larger version, 1-inch wide and 1/4 -inch thick. It's very important to keep the dough cold, Hastings says. Chilling the rolled out dough 15 minutes in the freezer helped them puff up when baked. Using a high-quality aged cheddar is key. Store crackers in an airtight container up to a week.

• 1 c. flour

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 1 tsp. crushed red chiles

• 1/2 stick (1/4 c.) unsalted butter, chilled, diced

• 8 oz. aged cheddar cheese, grated

• 3 to 4 tbsp. water


Whisk the flour, salt and chiles together in a bowl. Place in a food processor along with the butter; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cheese; pulse to combine.

Add 3 tablespoons water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing until the mixture comes together in a ball. Pulse in an additional tablespoon of water if needed to get the dough to hold together. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out to 1/8 -inch thick directly onto a baking sheet.

Cut the dough into 1/2-inch diamonds (or other shape) using a cookie cutter, sharp knife or fluted pastry cutter. Place in freezer for 15 minutes. Spread out the cut pieces onto parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving just enough room so they are not touching. Bake until deep golden brown and crunchy, 12 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 10 Fat 1 g Sodium 18 mg Saturated fat 0 g

Carbohydrates 1 g Protein 0 g Cholesterol 2 mg Dietary fiber 0 g



Serves 10.

Note: From "Good Eats 3: The Later Years," by Alton Brown (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $37.50). Brown calls for poppyseeds, but we're subbing with flax seeds, which we like better. The crackers store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

• 1 c. whole-wheat flour (5 oz.)

• 1 c. all-purpose flour (43/4 oz.)

• 1/3 c. flaxseeds

• 1/3 c. sesame seeds

• 11/2 tsp. salt

• 11/2 tsp. baking powder

• 3 tbsp. olive oil

• 61/2 oz. water


Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together both flours, the seeds, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Add the oil; stir until combined. Stir in the water until the dough just comes together.

Knead dough four or five times on a floured surface. Divide into eight equal pieces; cover with a kitchen towel. Rest, 15 minutes.

For a thin snacking cracker: Roll out one piece of the dough to 1/16-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If there is room on the pan, repeat with a second piece of dough. Bake on the middle rack, 4 minutes. Flip the crackers; bake until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Place on cooling rack; when cool, break into desired pieces. Repeat with remaining dough.

For a thicker dipping cracker: Roll out the dough as above, but to 1/8-inch thick. Bake for 6 minutes. Flip the crackers; bake 4 to 6 minutes. Cool and break up crackers as before. Repeat with remaining dough.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 172 Fat 8 g Sodium 407 mg Saturated fat 1 g

Carbohydrates 22 g Protein 5 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g