It never crossed my mind that there may be a homemade version of Cheez-its. I mean, how in the world could they be replicated? Not possible. But, this recipe made the Top 9 on FoodBuzz one day and I was sold. I knew they had to be made. The only down side to them? I can't eat them! With the milk-elimination diet I'm on, these are off limits. UGH. I did taste one just to make sure they were okay, and I could have easily eaten every single one of them that very moment. Amazing. You must bake them. NOW.
Homemade Cheez-it Stars:
8 ozs. shredded, sharp cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. ice water
(The original recipe calls for salt for sprinkling, but I forgot this step and I just don't think they need it. Your call)
Combine cheese, butter, shortening and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. It will be crumbly. Slowly add flour then ice water. If you need it (though I didn't) add just a few drops of water to help the dough come together. But, you do not want a wet dough, so be careful.
Form dough into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes (I let mine chill for a few hours).
After dough is chilled, preheat oven to 375. Roll each disc to 1/8" thickness and cut into desired shapes. I used a small, star fondant cutter. The original recipe calls for cutting into squares using a pastry wheel. Again, your call. The original recipe also calls for poking a hole in each piece with a toothpick. I did not do this and don't think it needed it.
If your dough is difficult to work with, just return it to the fridge for a bit. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes until they are just beginning to brown and puff up. I usually only needed about 10 minutes. If you remove the crackers and they are not crispy enough, just place them back in the oven for a minute or two. But, be careful. You don't want them to burn. Makes several dozen.
Adapted slightly from In Katrina's Kitchen.