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Cheddar Crackers (Gluten-Free)

Use good quality cheese and plenty of it. This turns out a tender cracker that is layered like the best pastry. The flavor is of toasted cheese. Adapted from Crackers! by Foust and Husch.

2 cups fine rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional; more for a hotter cracker)
1 teaspoon finely ground mustard seed
6 Tablespoons (¾ cup) butter or margarine, softened
12 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
3 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons water
Salt for the tops (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In the food processor or in a large bowl, combine 1-½ cup flour (reserve ½ cup), salt, cayenne and ground mustard. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Mix in the cheese. Stir well until the cheese is evenly coated.

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In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolks and the water. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and blend to form a dough that will hold together in a cohesive ball. Add more flour from the reserved half cup, as needed, to make a workable dough. Wrap the dough in wax paper and chill one hour.

Divide the dough into two equal portions for rolling. On a GF- floured surface or pastry cloth, roll out to a circle approximately ½ inch thick. The dough will be crumbly and a bit hard to manipulate, but dont let this worry you, it doesnt hurt the final product.

Cut this circle in four equal pie segments. Gently lift each of the segments one at a time and, without rotating them, stack them so that the straight edges form the sides of a square. Press this gently and roll it out again. (This is what makes the cracker flaky.) Repeat cutting, lifting and rolling out two more times. Roll the dough thinner the last time, about 1/8 inch thick. If desired, sprinkle top lightly and evenly with salt and roll over it lightly with the rolling pin.

With a sharp knife (or rolling pizza cutter, if you have one), cut the dough into 1-inch squares and place them on an un-greased baking sheet. Prick each square 1 or 2 times with the tines of a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove any crackers that are already browned through. Turn the rest and bake an additional 5 or 6 minutes, or until medium brown. Remove to a rack to cool. Yield: 70-80.

For another variety, leave out the cayenne, mustard and cheddar cheese and substitute 12 oz. Feta cheese. This makes a cracker with a little tang to it. I suspect you could substitute any hard or crumbly cheese.

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