Recently I wandered into a Williams-Sonoma. Now, I try not to make a habit of wandering into places filled with things I’ll want but can’t afford, or things I never knew I wanted until I saw them. Egg tongs? I’ll take 12! Miniature casserole dish with a lid featuring a duck/goose/some type of bird? YES.
And so Bryce and I started a little game as we wandered toward the back of the store, certain we would stumble across a minuscule clearance section where just maybe we’d find an artisan croissant plate or ceramic batter ladle in our price range.
The game was called “Guess the Price!”
ME: *holding up an egg slicer (housed right next to the egg tongs, which, if you were curious, were $11.99)*
What’s it cost?
BRYCE: Uh, $10? (this was his guess for most things)
ME: Nope! $14.95.
BRYCE: What? Why? What does it do?
ME: Slices eggs.
ME: *holding up a monogrammed espresso mug*
Guess how much?
BRYCE: *with confidence* $8.
ME: Oh, I’m so sorry. It’s $3.95. (It was on sale, and we actually almost purchased aforementioned cup because it had a B on it, but the T one was not on sale, and was in fact $6).
ME: Awwww, look! A cookbook for newlyweds! Cute!
BRYCE: *clearly thinking “we are no longer newlyweds, and also you never actually use your multitude of cookbooks”* $20?
ME: Nope, $40. *flips book open at random to a risotto recipe* Aw, it’s risotto, which we already make together!
Obviously we didn’t need the Williams-Sonoma Cookbook for the Newly Nuptialed, since we already rock that tandem risotto cooking, so we wandered past the coffee machines, skirted past some very expensive looking tagines, and found ourselves in the baking mixes section.
BRYCE: *picks up Ultra Fancy Gluten Free Pancake mix* Oh, they have gluten free! How much?
ME: I don’t know, $20?
BRYCE: Oh, look, $19.95.
ME: *with inflated ego since I am clearly a gifted price-guesser* Dang, they really gouge you to take that gluten out.
BRYCE: Well, how much is the normal stuff? Oh. $10.95. Yeah.
We finally did end up in the back of the store with the clearance items, and I started rummaging around, pulling out what I thought was a cute mini Bundt pan, but was actually (obviously) a cranberry sauce mold, which led to the following conversation:
ME: Bryce, look! It’s so cute! Can we get it? It’s only $10! It’s a steal! (50% off, y’all!)
BRYCE: What would you do with a cranberry sauce mold?
ME: Pursue my lifelong ambition of making the greatest molds of cranberry sauce in all of the land?
ME: So let’s get five? We’ll make them in bulk. Oh! It could be my thing. My holiday thing. You know. “Here comes Teresa with the homemade cranberry sauce mold, the stuff of legends! We’ve waited all year for this! Huzzah!”
The end of the story is I didn’t get the cranberry sauce mold, and I am being held back from what is clearly an innate although yet-to-be-manifested talent for homemade cranberry sauce, which I DEFINITELY WOULD MAKE… probably.
I also didn’t come home with the clearance, as-is Dutch oven which still managed to be $150, or a very adorable whisk with pumpkins on the handle, or the R2-D2 apron which I genuinely wanted but cost $25.
But I did manage to snag a cookie sample, so I can’t say the venture was for naught.
What I learned is the Williams-Sonoma is too rich for my current wallet, but these cheese crackers are not. In fact, they’re a value because they’re cheaper to make than buying a certain store brand, with the added bonuses of no mystery preservatives AND having the option of being wheat free.
I make these crackers with sharp cheddar cheese and oat flour. I’m not Celiac, so I don’t have a problem with gluten, but I do have what the doctors call a “wheat intolerance.” Wheat and I get along fine… to a certain point, just like hanging out with extended family. It all starts out fine and dandy but eventually someone’s hiding in the closet just for a moment of peace.
If you’re cool with wheat, feel free to sub all-purpose flour. Or try the oat flour anyway! Personally, I think the oat flour adds a little flavor depth. They’re delicious either way.
As for the spices, feel free to play around with whatever you like. We love the heat of the cayenne and the flavors of the paprika and garlic, but this recipe is definitely adaptable to whatever herbs and spices you like best.
Wheat-free Cheddar Cheese Crackers
yields approximately 5 dozen 1-inch crackers
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 Tbs butter
1 cup oat flour (or sub 1 cup all-purpose flour)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
3-4 Tbs ice water
kosher salt (optional)
In a food processor, combine cheese, butter, and flour. (This is a classic do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I do situation. This time around, since my food processor was dirty, I skipped this step, which is why my crackers have more visible cheese chunks. Mixing this in a food processor yields a much smoother dough.) The mixture will look sandy.
Mix in spices. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together. Spoon dough out and wrap in parchment paper or cling wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour, to chill the butter. (I left mine in the fridge overnight).
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness (or thicker, if you prefer). Using a cookie cutter, knife, or pizza cutter, cut into desired shapes. Prick center of each cracker with a toothpick or fork to ensure even baking. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt if desired.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
*2019 edit: Baking time will really depend on your oven and the thickness of dough. When I first wrote this recipe, in my gas oven these baked in about 15 minutes. Since I’ve moved to a new place with a new oven, it took about 10 extra minutes, even rolled out the same thickness. So just experiment!
Cool completely and store in an airtight, pug-proof container.