The Hatcher Kincheloe Sr., Family
11X16 inch nonstick jelly roll pan (Silverstone or Teflon coated)
10-11 oz. New York State Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (Heluva good works well)
40 Saltine Crackers (Zesta generally works best)
Ground Red Pepper
1. In conventional oven, place rack at lowest level.
2. Turn heat on broil and allow oven to preheat.
3. Place crackers side-by-side on 11X16 pan. 40 crackers should completely cover the pan. (It may be necessary to trim a few crackers to insure that the crackers fit snugly side-by-side.)
4. Grate cheese over crackers, making sure cheese evenly covers entire surface of crackers. (The finer the grate on the cheese, the more successful the cracker.)
5. Lightly sprinkle cayenne pepper evenly over cheese. (
6. Place pan of crackers on bottom rack of oven. LEAVE OVEN DOOR OPEN or mostly open!
7. As cheese melts, large bubbles will form. Bubbles will get progressively smaller as the crackers cook. (It may be necessary to prick several of the large bubbles as the cooking progresses to get them to pop and go down.) When the cheese has stopped bubbling and the top of the cheese appears to be stiffening, remove the pan from the oven.
If the broiler is not cooking evenly, it may be necessary to turn the pan once or twice during the cooking process. The amount of time necessary to properly broil the cheese varies depending upon the oven. Generally the time will be between 8 and 15 minutes.
The goal is to broil the crackers just long enough for most of the moisture to cook away and for oils from the cheese to be partially absorbed by the crackers. If the pan is removed too soon, the cheese will settle, and the crackers will be hard. If it stays in too long, the cheese will scorch and the crackers will be bitter.
8. Turn oven to bake at 155˚ F and allow oven to cool.
9. While crackers are still hot to the touch, cut with kitchen scissors into small sections (whatever shape and size you wish) and rearrange the sections back onto the pan, cheese side up. (It may be helpful to use a second Teflon pan.)(A pizza cutter works great, if you remove the entire sheet of crackers from the pan to protect the pan)
10. Place the pan back in the upper half of the oven. Set the oven temperature on 155˚ F (warm), close the door, and leave overnight (at least 10 hours).
11. Store crackers in an airtight container or in sealed plastic bags. After a couple of days, the crackers may be freshened by placing them back in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes at 155˚ F.