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How to Make Cheez-Its at Home

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All week long, our very own Jennifer Steinhauer from Weeknights with Jenny will be sharing recipes from her new book Treat Yourself: 70 Classic Snacks You Loved as a Kid (and Still Love Today). Follow along to win one of five copies we’re giving away -- and to take a trip down memory lane. 

Today: A throwback to after-school soccer practices and the bags of Cheez-Its that accompanied them. 

Cheez-Its on Food52

I directly associate this snack with tomato soup, the perfect pairing throughout junior high, when consumed post-soccer practice in front of reruns of "The Rockford Files." 

The dough for our recipe is prepared in a food processor because, as Gail the baker explains, "the sharp blade and its fast rotation cuts the cheese into tiny bits quickly, dispersing them through the dough to promote a flakier texture." If you spooned these out into little balls, people would think they were a high-end cocktail snack. Cut into squares, with a neatness level that will depend on how compulsive you are, they are a bagged lunch treat completely loyal to the original. The paprika is responsible for the tang; the better the cheese you use, the sharper and more elegant the taste, yet they will still remain distinctly Cheez-It-esque.

Cheez-Its

Makes approximately 120 one-inch cheese crackers

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup vegetable oil

See the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

We're giving away a copy of Treat Yourself every day this week! To enter to win today's copy, tell us in the comments: What was your go to after-school snack? We'll pick five winners at random next Monday, June 9th!

Photo by James Ransom. Excerpted from the book Treat Yourself: 70 Classic Snacks You Loved as a Kid (and Still Love Today) by Jennifer Steinhauer. Reprinted by permission of Clarkson Potter Publishers. All rights reserved.

Tags: guest editors, jenny steinhauer, treat yourself, cheez-its, snacks, how-to & diy

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Comments (64)

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about 1 year ago Carrie

Apples and peanut butter! I still snack on them as an adult ;)

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about 1 year ago Erin Lynch

We always had ramen noodles at my house after school.

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about 1 year ago Aprilgottfried

Bagal Bites!

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about 1 year ago Tenley

Fig Newtons were my go to... when I take a bite of one today, I am instantly brought back to sitting in my childhood kitchen after school.

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about 1 year ago Karlene

Apple wedges with crunchy peanut butter.. it's the best and it's really healthy for you.

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Karlene, those were also one of my favorite snacks then, and are one of my favorite snacks today, though I more often reach for unsalted raw almond butter these days. ;o)

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about 1 year ago Karlene

I must try the almond butter, thanks.

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about 1 year ago BakerRB

Rice Krispy Treats were my go-to, often with chocolate chips and peanut butter mixed in.

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about 1 year ago alliejones

In high school I used to make M&M cookies after school a lot. Or a toasted Lender's bagel (not worthy of recreation in a cook book) with cream cheese and jam. Jenny's book looks soooo fun.

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about 1 year ago lich

Since I was a latchkey kid, and my parents didn't come home until 6pm, I used make myself the oddest things to eat. One of my favorite snacks (or meals, I should say) was cooking ramen noodles and only adding about a teaspoon of butter, salt, and pepper (never used the flavoring packet). It made me feel like a grown-up cooking for myself.

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about 1 year ago CarlaCooks

I was also a big fan of cheez-its and goldfish. Now that I live abroad, whenever someone from the States visits, I always ask for a bag of goldfish!

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about 1 year ago lisina

So funny! We always bring my cousin in Italy Costco sized boxes of cheese its when we visit. They are usually gone before we leave. I just sent her this recipe, though, I'm not even sure she'll be able to get her hands on cheddar cheese.

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about 1 year ago CarlaCooks

You are a very good cousin! Does your cousin have access to Mimolette (it's a French cheese that has a similar taste to cheddar)? Otherwise, Dorie Greenspan's recipe for cheez-it-ish crackers uses Emmenthal and/or Gruyere, and those crackers are tasty even without being cheddar!

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about 1 year ago Mulzee

goldfish or pasta with butter and parmigiano! depending on how lazy I was feeling.

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about 1 year ago Yael Even

Oreos and a big tall glass of cold milk!

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about 1 year ago redorgreen126

Toasted Eggo waffle with a drizzle of melted butter and a smear of strawberry jam topped with Reddi-whip.

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about 1 year ago Melody J

I loved potato chips.

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about 1 year ago Heather

Ritz crackers dipped in hot chocolate with a spoonful of fluff

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about 1 year ago swscovell

cheese melted on a ritz

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about 1 year ago Rachel

Cinnamon toast!

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about 1 year ago Aleksey Lirov

I know it sounds too healthy but I have to go with fruit. I could easily go through a hand of bananas in 20-30 minutes.

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about 1 year ago aegan

Crushed cheddar cheese Ruffles, and sour cream. Mixed in a bowl. Eaten with a spoon. Pure bliss, and I still eat it.

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about 1 year ago jeneric

cheddar cheese on toast. Mom thought snack food was too caloric.

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about 1 year ago skb

Kid: quick popsicle out of the freezer (anything but orange!), then out the door and on my bike. Teenager: massive bowl of cereal in front of Santa Barbara soap opera.

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about 1 year ago Jo Oakman

Homemade meatloaf!

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about 1 year ago spiffypaws

molasses cookies and milk, I'm a Yankee!

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about 1 year ago rmcgrudiva

Bread. Squishy white sandwich bread, that I loved to roll up into a ball. Oh! And fried bologna sandwiches. Yummmmm!

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about 1 year ago WinnieAb

I used to eat a twix bar pretty much every day after gymnastics practice!

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about 1 year ago Moira A

After school snack was always mom's homemade baking, particularly oatmeal squares. Mmmmmm... sweettooth.

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about 1 year ago Hillary

I'm only slightly ashamed to admit it was a nice sized bowl of puffed Cheetos. Licking my fingers at the end might have been my favorite part...

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about 1 year ago Gibson2011

easy: milk and cookies.

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about 1 year ago caelvan

I'd come home and have a bowel of instant ramen noodles.

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about 1 year ago LucyS

In the winter, it was a ritual of cheese and crackers/cookies and a cup of tea (other seasons sporting practices always precluded being able to have an after-school snack). We always had cheez-its at sporting events in college, though.

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about 1 year ago Lkbixby

Definitely gushers. And open face PB&J on heavily toasted bread.

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about 1 year ago Omitat

Go to after-school snack? For a long time it was peanut butter on celery! Who could say no to that. I still eat it today (except with almond butter now)!

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about 1 year ago Meg Martin

Cheez-its - oh yum! However, my go to snack was pb & j. loved it!

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about 1 year ago Cassieanne

I can't eait to make these!! My brother used to make us broiled cheese toast, or broiled peanut butter toast! Still one of my favorite afternoon snacks!

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about 1 year ago SuzannahJane

Cheddar cheese quesadilla with scallions, done in the microwave :)

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about 1 year ago K_Squared

Gushers, fruit roll ups, fruit snacks - you get the gist ;)

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about 1 year ago Liza's Kitchen NYC

SmartFood popcorn. I loved licking the artificial cheese off of my fingers.

23b88974-7a89-4ef5-a567-d442bb75da04--avatar

about 1 year ago Teruska

Fruit.

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about 1 year ago Choirbell

Peanut butter and brown sugar sandwich on white bread... love it while the brown sugar was still a bit crunchy!!! Mmmmmm

771f1e0a-d530-4881-b826-757cd6a939ce--noelle2

about 1 year ago enbe

Puffin cereal. Yum :)

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about 1 year ago LeeLeeBee

Cheese popcorn - the bomb!

23b88974-7a89-4ef5-a567-d442bb75da04--avatar

about 1 year ago Bascula

Ritz crackers with peanut butter. Or something my mother had baked - she was a stay at home mom and baked a lot.

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about 1 year ago sunflourbaking

Velveeta on Wonder Bread, of course!

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about 1 year ago Hanna Johansen

String cheese dipped in pizza sauce!

4798a9c2-4c90-45e5-a5be-81bcb1f69c5c--junechamp

about 1 year ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Until I was in 8th grade I had a stay-at-home mom who loved to bake, so most afternoons we had fresh home made cookies. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, Soft Cream Jumbles, always wonderful.

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about 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Okay, so you've changed the question from what was posted earlier this morning. My favorite after-school treat? Saltines with crunchy peanut butter! Sometimes open faced, sometimes not -- and I'd squeeze the peanut butter out around the edges and lick it off when my mother was not looking! Then I'd eat an apple and take the core out to my pony before riding. I had the best childhood ever. ;o)

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about 1 year ago DianaB

Slices of cold cuts, consumed while standing on one leg, propping the fridge door open with the other. Or on a plate, if my mother was around.

883a1fda-5d16-4d87-9c39-64a4440f3570--fb_avatar

about 1 year ago CrabCakes

Potato chips - we got one bag a week between me and my brother, so while we could ration them out, they usually only lasted an afternoon. After that.....I usuallu snacked from whatever I made/started for dinner.

23b88974-7a89-4ef5-a567-d442bb75da04--avatar

about 1 year ago Erin

Ants On A Log - celery, peanut butter, raisins. Fun to make and eat!

23b88974-7a89-4ef5-a567-d442bb75da04--avatar

about 1 year ago saga

I ate roasted peanuts and it still is my goto snack.

23b88974-7a89-4ef5-a567-d442bb75da04--avatar

about 1 year ago CheapBeets

Cheese melted on anything.

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about 1 year ago littleknitter

I loved Donettes! I used to stop by the corner store on my way home from school and get some.

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about 1 year ago Crystal

I used to have instant Lipton Cup-o-Soup after school every day in my grandmother's kitchen. So good.

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about 1 year ago Gourmel

A hot bag of popcorn made homework slightly more tolerable

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about 1 year ago LLStone

Ding Dongs!

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about 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

My husband is obsessed with cheez-its and insists that there's no point in even making a a homemade version because they ways taste too fancy and that's beside the point of cheez-its. But I'm going to try these anyway! My go to snack was always bread with butter and cheese. OR if we could get them cranberry newtons. Those were the best. I wish they still made them.

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about 1 year ago heyjude

Fluffernutter

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about 1 year ago mcs3000

I can't wait for this book. Congrats, Jenny! Ditto, @AntonioJames. Hostess fruit pies were my childhood fave.

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about 1 year ago Andrew

I absolutely love hostess cakes.

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about 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Cheez-Its are my guilty pleasure/only in airports and at rest stops thing. Can't wait to make these! (I know Clara will love them too.)

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over 1 year ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

My favorite Hostess treat? The little fruit pies. I never understood the fascination with Twinkies, which are akin to what I imagine yesterday's Wall Street Journal must taste like, without the benefit of an interesting read first. ;o)