Cheez-Its. They are my kryptonite. Can anyone relate?
Baked cheese is not my invention but I appreciate it, as I do snacks like “Just the Cheese.” But…I’m a single mom with two kids, a dog and a cat to feed all on one meager salary so…sometimes a Foodie’s gotta do what a Foodie’s gotta do.
So here’s how I get my Cheez-It fix on the cheap. This is the simplest thing I’ve probably ever posted on this blog. There are two ingredients. Cheese and cheese.
So here’s how it goes down.
Choose your cheese(s). You can use one type of cheese or several. You can also add things in. I like spicy stuff, so I’ve done Mexican blend with a pinch of ground Chipotle pepper in it. I’ve done Parmesan/Romano (with a teeny bit of mozzarella) with a pinch of Italian spices. Let your imagination go wild! Here I did Colby Jack and Parmesan. It’s an unlikely combo but then I’m an unlikely girl 🙂
I use full-fat cheese. I suspect this will still work with low-fat cheese but the cook times might be longer as reduced fat cheeses don’t tend to melt as fast as full-fat. I do not know about fat free cheese because, frankly, it frightens me. 🙂
If you are using one cheese, measure out a serving of it for each person who will partake. If you are using more than one cheese, use equal parts of each.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s heating up, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (not aluminum foil, not non-stick cooking spray on the cookie sheet…parchment paper). Lay out your cheese however you want. I like to mix mine up a bit. You may like it layered. It’s yo’ thang. Do what you wanna do!
You can also do one big cheese crisp and break it up or do little rounds (I’m showing both ways in this post). Or heck…get creative. Make cheesy hearts if you wanna!
This is where the journey gets highly personal. When I researched how to make this, most sources said bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese is very browned around the edges and lightly browned in the middle. In my oven, however, this took more like 13 minutes. Your mileage may vary. I’d say start checking on it at 7 minutes and let it go until it looks like this:
Or like this if you are doing rounds:
This is, by far, the hardest part. Turn off the oven and walk away! The cheese crisps will continue to cook a bit on the hot cookie sheet but that will just contribute to them being crispier. But they MUST cool to be crispy. So you want crisps? Walk away!
When you come back you should have little pieces of cheesy heaven! And one note: If you overcook the cheese, no worries! (Unless it’s burnt black…that tends to be…yucky…). When trying to get down exactly how long it took for these to cook I overcooked quite a few batches and both the divas and I still loved them!
Now, since you’ve only used one portion of cheese (which is what I’d use in any recipe where I use cheese) to me these could be a snack. But most of the time, in my eternal weirdness) I find myself doing other things with them. Like dipping them in Greek yogurt ranch dip. Or crumbling over a salad. Or tossing atop a bowl of soup (that didn’t work out so well for me by the way).
Whatever way you choose to do it, this will definitely give you your cheesy fix. Enjoy!