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Spicy Cheese Crackers with Roasted Pepper Spread

Sometimes nothing is easy.  Sometimes everything is easy.  Like these crackers. You should make them.

I did not bake the crackers in the middle of the picture… I’m so ashamed. I just snapped a photo of this platter before taking it to a dinner… my bad.

I think I got the original recipe from Hannah at her awesome blog honey & jam

Spicy Cheese Crackers

1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 4 pieces

3/4 cup flour (I used whole wheat)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, flour, salt, cayenne pepper and red pepper in five 5-second pulses until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.

Shape the dough into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm enough to be easily sliced– around an hour.  Or if you’re impatient like me, put the dough in the freezer.

Remove the dough from the fridge, slice it thinly (about the thickness you’ll want your crackers to be) and place slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper (as they bake they will expand slightly so don’t place them too close together).  Return dough to fridge between batches.

Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, or until golden.  Important note: the crackers will harden as they cool, so don’t worry if they don’t seem firm at first.  Let them cool for a bit on the baking sheet before transferring to cooling rack.

BUT WAIT. There’s more.

I decided I wanted to make dip to serve with these crackers.  And this is what I did

Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Spread

Ingredients: red bell peppers, goat cheese

Instructions: broil red bell peppers.  If you haven’t done this before, I suggest googling it.  All you do (for the most part) is rub some red bell peppers down with olive oil, and stick ’em in your oven set to broil.  Some directions have you cut them and spread them flat, otherwise you will have to rotate them a few times.  Anyway, once the red bell peppers are all blackened and unappetizing looking, let them cool/steam by placing them in a semi airtight container.  This could be a pouch made out of tin foil, or just put them in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.  After they have cooled for a bit and can be handeled, the burn skin will just wipe off.  Just like that.

Take red bell peppers.  Combine with goat cheese.  Mash or puree.  Adjust red bell pepper and goat cheese ratios to your liking.  Consume.  Easy as that.  Yeah, I’m sure you could add some spices, fancy it up a bit, but I am lazy and spices make things complicated.  This was easy, and seriously amazing tasting. Do it.

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