These Ritz Bits-style mini cheese cracker sandwiches are a dead ringer for the real thing. Flaky and buttery, the crispy crackers are just as lovely as you remember Ritz crackers to be. For the smooth and creamy cheese filling, you can really use any semi-hard cheese. I went with Asiago because it’s a favorite of mine for its deep, rich flavor.
xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 1/2 teaspoons
smoked Spanish paprika
(6 grams) kosher salt
(112 grams) unsalted butter, chopped and chilled
(28 grams) vegetable oil
(8 fluid ounces) cold water, with ice (ice does not count in the volume measurement)
Asiago cheese, cut into a large dice
(1/2 can) evaporated milk
(16 grams) cornstarch (or another starch, such as arrowroot or potato starch)
(28 grams) unsalted butter
In This Recipe
Miniature Gluten Free Ritz-Style Crackers
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder, sugar, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the chopped and chilled butter to the dry ingredients, toss to coat and cut the butter in using either a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Add the vegetable oil and stir to combine. Add the water a bit at a time, stirring constantly until the dough begins to come together, discarding the ice. You may not need all the water. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 10 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place between two large sheets of unbleached parchment paper, and roll out about 1/8-inch thick (about the thickness of a nickel). Using a fluted 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out shapes. With a toothpick, poke 2 holes in each cracker to help them rise. Place the shapes about 1 inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheets, brush the crackers lightly with water, and sprinkle with the remaining kosher salt. Place the baking sheets, one sheet at a time, in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the crackers to cool completely.
In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, place the Asiago cheese and evaporated milk. Cook, whisking frequently, over medium-high heat, until the cheese is completely melted. Add the cornstarch, and whisk to combine well. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for another 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the butter until it is melted. The cheese will be somewhat thick, but still easily pourable. Transfer the cheese mixture to a medium heat-safe bowl, and allow to sit at room temperature until cool (about 10 minutes).
Once the cheese mixture is cool, place it in a pastry bag fitted with a medium-sized plain piping tip (or just place it in a large zip-top bag, seal the bag and snip off one corner). Turn half of the cooled mini Ritz crackers upside down. Pipe about 1/4 teaspoon of cheese filling onto the underside of those crackers. Top each with another cracker, right-side up, to close each sandwich.
Nicole Hunn is the author of the Gluten-Free on a Shoestring book series and blog, which has been featured in the New York Times, Oprah.com, U.S. News & World Report and MSN Money. Her latest book, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread, is the latest in her popular book series. She has appeared in Living Without and Gluten Free Living, and on Sirius/XM Radio and ABC News, among others. She lives in Westchester County, New York. www.glutenfreeonashoestring.com