The Spice Ina Garten Uses To Elevate Homemade Cheese Crackers

The Boston Globe calls cheese and crackers the O.G. of fast foods. In an age where the drive-thru reigns supreme for those on the go and in need of quick meals, the news outlet reveals the muse for the classic cheese and crackers combo can be traced back to the "ploughman's lunch," which was no more than cheese on bread and some ale to wash it down. Fast-forward to the 20th century, and cheese and crackers began making appearances at dinner parties and even took the place of dessert during World War II when sugar was in short supply.

Today, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin shares that cheese and crackers can be found in kids' lunchboxes from sea to shining sea. This pairing is part of both simple and lavish charcuterie boards for gatherings large and small. But the O.G. of the catch phrase, "Store-bought is fine," takes this concept to the next level with her homemade cheese crackers. Ina Garten revealed to Bon Appétit the she likes to make a cheese cracker dough months in advance, freeze it, and then make this cheesy snack right before the party gets started. And while cheese crackers are nothing to write home about, the spice Garten uses to up their flavor definitely elevates this appetizer.

It's time to 'wake up' your taste buds

The Barefoot Contessa has a rather practical approach when it comes to appetizers and entertaining in general. She told Bon Appétit, "I just like to make one thing and then buy the rest. If you're not careful, making appetizers can take as much time as making dinner." And when she wants something special, she reaches for her Chipotle Cheddar crackers. 

What is it about these cheese crackers that makes them so delish? In sharing her recipe for these favored snack, Garten told Bon Appétit, "The sharp Vermont Cheddar and spicy chipotle chili powder with crunchy sea salt really wake up everyone's taste buds. My friends can't stop eating these!" But the fact that they only require four ingredients, plus some specialty salt, and that they can be made ahead of a dinner or cocktail party, be it for 12 or 24, definitely elevates them in anyone's party playbook. 

Garten is clearly a fan of making her own crackers. Per Food Network, the celebrity chef also makes a version of these using jalapeno. For those who can't take the heat, Garten's parmesan and thyme crackers may be a better fit.