Cheddar cheese coins

As we all know, it's almost all about the cookies and sweets during the holiday season. I love seeing big cookie platters brimming with cookies of all kinds, shapes, sizes, and colors.  That said, I do like to venture away from the sugar jar on occasion and make at least one savory treat to share with friends and neighbors and to have as a nibble for our holiday gathering.  Usually, it involves nuts in some form.  This year, I thought I'd try a batch of cheddar cheese coins.
I used a recipe from America's Test Kitchen that I've been meaning to try for a couple of holidays seasons now.  Sometimes it just takes years to get to something!  As with any cheese crackers made with a handful of ingredients, it's all about the cheese.  I picked an organic grass-fed sharp cheddar that I really liked.  
I substituted a-third of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour (with all the cheese and butter, who's going to notice!) and while there's some room for customization in terms of spices you can add, I stuck with paprika and cayenne for my first go-round since I often reach for that combination when I'm cooking.  Those spices helped give my cheese coins a golden color despite using white cheddar.
I have seen many cheese crackers made on TV and heard many testimonials about how easy they are to prepare.  It's true...but working with dough (as in pie, biscuit type doughs) is something I struggle with.  How do you get to the point of feeling the dough and just knowing when it's right?  I wish I had those instincts.  And I need a lot more practice!  If I ever take another cooking class, I should pick one for working with that type of dough.

So in the case of making this particular dough, the method is simple - pulse, pulse...combine.  After all the ingredients have been pulsed together in a food processor, you remove it to a bowl, add water, and pull the dough together with your hands.  I was afraid I over-handled the dough and I certainly had some air pockets in my logs but I was happy to see the cracker rounds bake up neatly.  They were crisp on the outside and obviously buttery and very cheesy.  Good cheese can mask imperfections.  
Looking at these, my husband and I kept thinking hash browns...like cheesy hash browns, which might sound odd but isn't such a bad thing at all.  One of the best things about recipes like this is the make-ahead factor.  The logs can be made a couple of days ahead and kept in the refrigerator, or frozen for a month.  That's a good thing since cheese crackers/coins like these are best fresh, eaten the day they're made.

For a minute or two, I actually wondered why this recipe was called cheese "coins" instead of crackers.  I suppose the two are essentially synonymous but when I started making the logs, I realized these are intended to be nice and small, like a coin!  Okay, I realize this may be totally obvious to everyone else but me...
You might even find recipes for cheese "pennies", which is essentially the same thing. Ideally, you want these coins to be about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Mine were a tad wider (typically what happens to me when rolling dough into logs).  After shaping the logs, I placed them inside a paper towel tube to help them keep their round shape.  

I sliced the coins about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick but you could make them thinner and adjust it to your preference.  These small crackers are great as a hor d'Oeuvres to go with drinks for a holiday party.  I've saved some in my freezer for just that!

Recipe:

Cheddar Cheese Coins 
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

- Makes approximately 5 dozen coins, depending on thickness -

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
Slightly rounded 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Scant 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-4 tablespoons water

Place all ingredients, except the water, into a food processor.  Pulse until combined, about 12 pulses or so.  Remove contents to a large bowl.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons water over the mixture.  Squeeze dough together with your hands to form a ball, adding more water as necessary.  Form the dough into two 9 to 10-inch logs.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap (I like to place each in a paper towel tube to help them stay nice and round) and refrigerate for at least a 1 hour.  You can store the dough logs in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month (thaw in refrigerator before using).

To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees with racks set in the upper and lower-middle positions.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Slice logs into 1/4 inch thick coins (I like to slice off the ends or reserve those as cook's treats) and place onto baking sheets, set about 1-inch apart.  Bake until deep golden brown, about 15-20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway.  Let coins cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheets before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.  The cheese coins are best served fresh, eaten the day they're made.  




42 comments:

  1. These look SO yummy! I love the cheesiness and the pretty orange color! :)

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    1. I brought out my inner cheesiness here, Sara! ; ) I was worried they might look anemic with white cheddar but the spices gave them plenty of color. Happy Holidays!

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  2. Your cheese coins look delicious. And when there are so many sweets on offer, I find myself being tempted by savoury treats.

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    1. I totally hear you. Sometimes it's sweets overload but all the cookie platters are like eye-candy so it's all good for me. : )

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  3. I love America's Test Kitchen! This is such a fantastic idea!!

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    1. They are pretty incredible in general, I think we'd all agree!

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  4. I love savory treats during the holiday season too! These cheddar cheese coins are perfect little snacks during holidays!

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    1. It's easy to neglect the savories. I'm sticking with easy meals and constantly thinking about the treats I need to bake up! It can get out of hand. : )

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  5. These cookies are SO addictive! And I like how you made them with whole wheat flour-you're right, who would notice?

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  6. These are awesome and I love the name. Your photos are gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks so much, Ashley. Maybe I'm not the only one who thought "coins" was unusual?

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  7. I love having some savory options to nibble on at a holiday gathering too! These cheese coins sound perfect! I love the paprika and cayenne pepper that you added, it gives the crackers such a pretty color! I could snack on these all day, they look delicious!

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    1. Yeah, I have a lot of savory over sweets people in my extended family and we all definitely need things to eat besides cookies (as nice as that is)!

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  8. They look really yum, Kelly. You just can't go wrong with the cheese!

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    1. Cheese is definitely an easy crowd pleaser.

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  9. I love these savory coins! I'm thinking they'd be awesome as chili dunkers.

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    1. That is so smart! Such a great idea to have it with chili or even soups - it's just like serving a biscuit alongside, right!

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  10. These are gorgeous! You did a great job - and I love the pulse, pulse, pulse - way of making dough. Yum! These are great gifts - I'll put my order in now!

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    1. Oh Tricia! I'm wondering if you are offering any dough-working classes! I may have to make my way to your area to attend! This time of year is so fun for making and packing up treats. I know you agree. : )

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  11. Hi Monica, love these savory coins, perfect appetizer for this time of year!

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    1. I definitely think of these types of appetizer bakes this time of year. Thanks, Cheri.

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  12. These would be so dangerous. I'd eat every last one!

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    1. Especially with drinks! It's easy to lose count of salty, cheesy bites when you're nibbling and sipping. : )

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  13. haha yeah, I would probably want to call them crackers too! But coins make sense I guess :)

    These sound delicious! Perfect to balance all the sweets I'm eating these days.... lol Have a great weekend!!

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    1. Yeah! Crackers/coins, no matter. : ) We are eating plenty of sweet treats. It's definitely one of my favorite months! You have a good one, Ashley!

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  14. I love these savory coins! I'd eat a few while drinking beer ;p

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  15. Yes we do neglect savouriness this time of year. These look wonderful and I love the packaging too x

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    1. Thank you, Mariana. Hope you're having a great December.

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  16. These look sssooo good and savory! You know I love me some savory! And, I think they'd make great gifts for the holidays too!

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    1. Plenty of people prefer savory...I say make room for both! : )

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  17. I am thinking....a glass of champagne, a bowl of cheese coins, and a crackling fire. These cheesy little bites would be great New Years nibbles! I am a major cheese fan. :)

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    1. Ah yes...champagne goes with everything, particularly something salty. The crackling fire is a definitely bonus. You've painted a dreamy picture for me. : )

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  18. These look cute! I'm sure your savory contribution would be much appreciated among the feast of otherwise sweet cookies! ;)

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    1. Break up the sugar just a bit, right, Monica? ; )

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  19. These cheesy biscuits look so appetizing Monica. I once tried to make savoury crackers and failed miserably. Perhaps it's time I gave it another go. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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    1. I don't think I'm terribly good at it either, Jo. But it's fun to mix things up and cheese is tasty! ; )

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  20. What a great idea! We just go crazy with sugary things at this time...there are a lot of people who avoid sweet cookies. And some who don't but would gladly eat these, like me. They look delicious!

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    1. I've become a much bigger dessert person these last few years but I know many people who avoid/limit their sweets so it's good to have a little variety.

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