What are cheddar cookies?

Cheddar cheese.

Cheddar cookies are small, cake-shaped pieces of baked dough that have a soft, creamy interior and a baked, crumbly exterior. They look like regular crackers in almost every way, except that the cheddar cheese has been incorporated into the dough and baked inside the cheddar crackers until the cheese melts and is cooked into the crumb. The added flavor of the cheese makes cheddar crackers tougher and able to withstand ingredients that are not normally added to cracker dough, such as chipotle peppers or onions. The finished cookies can be served alongside almost any meal that would complement their rich, cheesy and occasionally dense character.

Yellow or white cheddar cheese can be used to make tasty cheddar crackers.

The signature ingredient in basic cheddar crackers is the cheese itself. There are several types of cheddar cheese, some of which are not entirely suitable for baking in crackers. Basic cheddar, which doesn’t age as much as others and usually has a slightly soft consistency with a tendency to create small crumbs, is a good choice because it melts into the dough and adds a pleasant cheesy flavor. These types of cheddar usually come in mild and spicy varieties, with the spicy one having more flavor to your liking.

More specialized forms of cheddar cheese can be used, but they can create cheddar crackers that have large chunks of cheddar in the crumb or in the hard areas where the cheese has dried out and solidified again. Hard, aged cheddars often perform this way when roasted. Extra-spicy cheddar cheese can be used, but certain artisanal types can be very difficult to use for baking and can separate if not finely chopped.

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Cheddar crackers are usually formed with standard dough ingredients that include flour, baking soda, baking powder, butter, and eggs. Some recipes use vegetable shortening instead of butter for a softer texture, or replace some of the butter with buttermilk. Gluten-free cookies can be made with tapioca starch, rice flour and xanthan gum.

Additional ingredients can be added to cheddar crackers to complement the flavor of the cheese. This can include finely diced onions, fresh chives, garlic and pepper. Chipotle peppers, bacon or even other cheeses like Parmesan or Asiago can be worked into the dough to create a biscuit with a robust flavor.

Most cheddar crackers are baked in the oven until the end of baking, with a golden brown top and a moist, tender interior. They can also be used to cover other dishes, such as pan pies, in which cookies can bake directly on top of food and form a crust. Ready-made crackers can be served as a side dish or spread open and used as a roll to contain anything from meat or pepper to more cheese.

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