Cheddar Fennel Crackers
These crackers were part of the appetizers we served at a small dinner get-together.  I’ve always wanted to re-visit crackers, as my first experience with them was pretty awesome. But way too long ago, this blog was just a baby back in September 2009.  Fun times. These are completely different creatures, thick and flavorful, they stand by themselves without the need of any spread.  The fact that you can make them ahead of time, then slice & bake is an added bonus. I am all for making my life easier when entertaining. Let me rephrase that. I am all for making my life easier. 😉

(adapted from the blog Lemons & Anchovies)
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (grated with a Microplane)
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 + ¼ cups all-purpose flour
zest of 1 lemon
Pinch kosher salt
A pinch or two of freshly ground black pepper
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for about one minute. With the mixer on low-speed, add the cheese, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and fennel seeds just until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.  With the mixer still in low-speed add the flour,  and turn off the mixer once the mixture is in large crumbles, about one minute.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, press into a ball then roll it into a 9-inch log. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes before slicing and baking.
When ready to bake, heat your oven to 350℉. Slice the dough into roughly 3/8-thick rounds and lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You can sprinkle more fennel seeds on top of the rounds if you wish.
Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through the cooking time, until very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature. They keep well in an airtight container for a few days.Makes about 24 rounds.

to print the recipe, click here
At first I had some trouble shaping the log of dough, and had to add a little more flour, but finally it all came together smoothly.  These crackers have a shortbread feel, they crumble as you bite into them, and their flavor gets more and more pronounced as you chew them. The lemon zest definitely adds a lot, even though fennel and cheese are strong components in the overall taste.  The basic recipe could be taken in many different directions with different cheeses and spices…  I think that an experiment with a little bit of dried lavender could be quite interesting, but it might be tricky to pick the right cheese to go with it.
This was my first time baking this type of cracker. After slicing it would have been nice to smooth out the surface gently with the tip of the finger, particularly the edges.  Something to consider for next time. Bake and learn, my friends, bake and learn…
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  1. I’m a savoury cracker addict and have never made my own crackers. Obviously something I have to work on this year. I’m not familiar with the taste of fennel though so I’d have to think about a good substitute but your lovely crackers are an inspiration.


    • They were very tasty… and you can definitely adapt to your taste, if fennel is not something you like…. Phil was not too fond of fennel, but I think I slowly converted him 😉


    • Hello, Barb! I just noticed that the original recipe did not call for lemon zest, it was my adaptation, so I modified the recipe… great that you mentioned that. I just fixed the PDF printable version too…


  2. Happy New Year Sally! The ingredients sound absolutely delicious in these little bites! (love the addition of lemon to the cheddar/fennel combo). They are quite thick and hardy aren’t they – yum. Do they retain a crispy cracker texture or are they more like a biscuit? Very fun and make ahead definitely works for me…I seek it out whenever I can ;-).


    • They are more like crackers than biscuits – and they were still good several days later, by the way. Did not turn mushy at all – I think we enjoyed them for almost a full week after that party…


    • Thank you, Gourmantine! I had not seen that article until you pointed it out to me, it made my day, week, month, year! I am in heaven! Thanks for stopping by, nice to “meet” you!


    • Well, let me say a big “WELCOME to the Bewitching Kitchen!”

      nice to have you here, I hope you find recipes you love to try

      Fennel is a wonderful flavor, which my beloved husband did not love as much as I do, but he is quickly warming up to it… (does he really have a choice? 😉 🙂


  3. Worked beautifully in the food processor. I followed the steps as written up to the last bit. As usual for food processor cracker dough, it came together as dough and rode the blade around the container. Never really went through a “crumbles” stage. People loved them, of course.


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