Gluten-free Cheesy Crackers (aka Cheese Straws)

I’ve been searching for a really good gluten-free cracker recipe – it’s something that I really miss since I started my gluten-free diet.  We sell a lot of great gluten-free crackers at the Co-op, but I have craved something that is cheesy and crunchy and I just haven’t been satisfied with what is available pre-made.

One of the things I really wanted to avoid was all the rolling involved with most cracker recipes, which is necessary to create flaky layers.  The layers weren’t as important to me as the cheesy goodness – I wanted to find a simple recipe that I could make really quickly.  I found what I was looking for on Food.com – an easy recipe for something called Cheese Straws.

I had no idea what cheese straws were (and still don’t, even after a Google search), but reviews on the recipe were fantastic so I figured it would be worth a try.  The recipe originates from Roben Ryberg’s cookbook The Gluten-Free Kitchen which utilizes gluten-free starches in all the recipes.  When I have made gluten-free crackers with a regular gluten-free flour blend in the past they were good, but they were more like savory shortbread cookies than crackers (if that sounds good, then you can find a recipe here – I just substituted GF flour for the all-purpose flour in the recipe) and since Roben’s recipe uses starches, I figured that I would get a crunchier result.

I was right…not only was the recipe very simple, but they were super delicious – I think they taste like the best Cheez-it you’ve ever had.  I have to admit that I was VERY tempted to sit and eat the whole plate myself they were so yummy, and I have a feeling I’ll be whipping up a batch just for me and my sweetie tonight!

photo gluten free cheese cracker

Gluten-free Cheese Crackers © 2012 Sassy Sampler

Gluten-free Cheese Crackers (aka Cheese Straws)

adapted from Roben Ryberg The Gluten-free Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c organic, gluten-free cornstarch (Let’s Do Organic brand)
  • 1/3 c gluten-free potato starch (can substitute tapioca starch)
  • 1/4 t xanthan gum
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 T organic cream or whole milk
  • 4 oz organic sharp cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)

Optional:

  • 1/4 t ground red pepper/cayenne

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl (or preferably in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment) cream the butter until really smooth, about one minute in a stand mixer and about 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer.
  3. Mix the xanthan gum, sea salt, and the starches in a bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the creamed butter, with the mixer on low.  Gradually increase the speed of the mixer until the starch has fully incorporated into the butter. Scraping sides of bowl as needed.  The mixture will be crumbly (kind of like powdered Parmesan cheese).
  5. Add the cream/milk and mix until dough is smooth.
  6. Add the cheese and mix until the dough is smooth and the cheese is fully incorporated.  If the dough seems too dry, add more cream/milk by the teaspoon.
  7. Roll out or pat the dough to 1/4” thickness on an un-floured surface.  If the dough is too sticky to work with then refrigerate it for a few minutes.
  8. Cut into thin 4-6” long “straws” and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can grease the sheet).
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Let cool slightly before moving from baking sheet.  Serve at room temperature.

Alternately, you can make cheese crackers:

  1. Roll the dough thinly on a piece of parchment paper and move it to your baking sheet.
  2. Cut the dough (a pizza cutter works nicely) into small cracker sizes and bake for ~15 minutes, until golden.  You don’t need to separate the pieces.
  3. Once the crackers are out of the oven, break them apart.

The thinner you roll the dough, the crunchier the straws or crackers will be.

For a little flair, twist the straws as you place them on the baking sheet.

GF Cheese Crackers/Straws PDF

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8 thoughts on “Gluten-free Cheesy Crackers (aka Cheese Straws)

  1. Cheese straws were served at all special occasions in the little town in Alabama where I grew up. My grandmother, who was often asked to make cheese straws for wedding receptions, taught me how to make them when I was a child. Here’s her recipe (with pictures), converted to GF flours. I didn’t have a star attachment for my cookie press, so they weren’t exactly like my Grandmothers, but they were still delicious =)

    • That’s awesome – I had heard that they were traditionally served at weddings so that’s fun to have confirmation, and even cooler that you used to make them with your grandma! I have to admit that I ate them all weekend (now that I know how easy they are to make, I can’t stop myself!). Could you leave a link for your recipe? I’d love to try a variation.

  2. Hi Melissa, thank you for sharing this! I finally gave this recipe a try using only a wooden spoon and lots of patience, and a glass to roll it out. I didn’t quite get the dough thin enough but they were still popular enough my husband and I both finished the lot in one go. I don’t know what Cheez-It tastes like (or if I can get it where I am in New Zealand) but the result is really good. I plan on trying to make it again tomorrow using a hand mixer and rolling the dough thinner so I can share with my Coeliac friend when I visit.

    • Hi Janelle – I’m so glad that you liked them, and I bet they tasted extra good with all the hard work you put into them! I’ve rolled them thick and thin and I think they are great both ways – I probably made 5 batches in a row after I found this recipe because I loved them so much, but I’m practicing a little more self control now.

  3. I am about to try this, and was wondering if either the dough or cooked crackers could be frozen? I like to make things in large quantities when I can:)

    • Hi Heather – Sorry, I’ve been on vacation for the last couple weeks! The dough can be frozen, no problem. I haven’t tried freezing the crackers themselves, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work (you just may have to crisp them in the oven when you take them out of the freezer) – I’d say it’s worth a try…let me know if you give this a go? ~Melissa

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