Monday, January 11, 2010

Chiquita Bonita Cheezits

The Mexicans don't have a cracker, and I don't mean Larry the Cable Guy's comedy tour hasn't come to Tijuana yet. They know their way around a tortilla like nobody's business, but in their rich and flavorful Con Queso culture, how can you completely void out the cracker? Answer: You can't. It's disturbing and unacceptable.

I have decided to help. Really roll up my poncho flaps, tip back my somebrero, and remedy this problem la raza has.

I give you the Chiquita Bonita Cheezit. Named for the lovely lady who received the maiden batch, they are the offically unofficial cracker of la raza. You can muchas gracias me later amigos.

The original inspiration was a food basket I was putting together to give as a secret Santa gift. The finale present had to be homemade, and I knew my SS giftee's fave cocktail is a margarita. I decided to deconstruct some of the flavors of a margarita for the basket. On my quest for yummies in that theme, I decided on a cheese straw recipe that I thought would lend itself pretty well to some traditional Mexican spices, like cumin and chili.

The recipe is pretty simple and only took me a few minutes to put together. Once I had the dough made (and chilled briefly), I simply rolled it out nice and thin and then rectangled it off with a pizza cutter. Making smaller rectangles after that, then three pokes to each with a small fork, and a nudge onto the baking sheet is all that was left to do.
(I don't think I have to remind you that I take awful photos...)

Too hip to be square

They brown up (not a Mexican joke, haters) nice and flaky and in just enough time for you to get a pitcher of Margaritas together. Fiesta time (or siesta time, depending on how many of those Ritas you are going to be downing)!

The mustard and cheddar team up for a really nice little sharpness to the flavor, while the chipotle adds just enough heat to remind you that you've gone south of the border baby!

Try them. You will never go back to boring old Cheezits again.

Just add queso - bonita!

Chiquita Bonita Cheezits TM
adapted from the Lottie + Doof blog's Cheese Straw recipe

* 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
* 1 tablespoon of yellow mustard
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or more, to taste)
* 1/4 teaspoon cumin
* 1/2 pound extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (2 1/2 cups)
* 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 2 tablespoons water

Sift the flour, cumin, salt and chipotle chili powder into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the cheese, mustard, and butter on low speed until well blended. Gradually beat in the flour until completely incorporated. Add the water and beat for 1 minute.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 5 times. On a large sheet of wax paper, roll the dough into a 12-by-9-inch rectangle. Slide the dough onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the dough in half crosswise, then cut it into 1 1/2 -by- 1/2 -inch strips (this doesn't have to be perfect). Take a small fork and poke tops of each 2 or 3 times.

Transfer the strips to 2 cookie sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time for about 10-12 minutes, or until the CBC's are golden brown (especially on the bottom) and crisp. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Shelley, Nick, and Baby G said...

These delicious crackers are AMAZING and very ADDICTING! You are so clever and talented in the kitchen!

Daniella said...

Oh - there you go! The comment above is from THE Chiquita Bonita herself, who was in no way compensated for her endorsement of said CBCs.