Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares

New Year

Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares

SAVOURY LESSON 2

By Caro


Here’s my quick to prepare savoury snack – Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares! Not quite pastry, not quite a cracker, these cheesy snacks are great for entertaining, gifting or nibbling on movie night.


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What Is This Snack?

I didn’t know what to call these cheesy morsels. I used extra mature Scottish cheese and smoked paprika, (as I love smoked paprika & I love mature cheese too! It’s like extra sharp cheddar). They aren’t exactly crackers as they are thicker and almost puffy but there’s no difficult process involved like in making puff pastry. Whatever you want to call them – they are very morish. Cheezee squares are kind of like eating cheese & crackers in one bite.


Perfect Stars For A Perfect Party

And yes your eyes do not deceive you – there are stars and circles too! I only just made them this way, this holiday season with cookie & pastry cutters & felt like changing the shape. I absolutely love the stars and think they are perfect for any New year or party table.


Easy Peasy Smokin Cheeze Squares

Where The Name Comes From

So in November 2020, while writing up this recipe as Savoury Lesson 2 for the new website, I ran a competition for suggestions of what to name these snacks. With you guys’ help, I named them Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares!

A mouthful yes! But helps them stand out from the rest – as they really do stand out from just any old cheese snack, with the addition of smoked paprika.


A Spicy Version – Cheespicy Smokin’ Squares

Now the name suggestions also threw up an idea to make a spicy version with hot smoked paprika, which I developed with the help of my friend CJ and she named them Cheespicy Smokin’ Squares! So details of the ingredients for how to make the spicy ones, are included at the very bottom of the recipe. (See Photo).


Quick & Easy To Make

These little beauties are quick and easy to produce. Mix the ingredients quickly in a food processor, before chilling the dough, rolling out and cutting the squares, and finally baking.


Quantity Made

I have actually updated the recipe and doubled the quantity as making just one tray of them, is never enough – they taste that good! Quantity of course will depend on what size you make them. But if you make 1″/2.5cm squares, you will get about 110 pieces. But you can easily half the recipe or increase it.


Prepare Ahead Of Time

For speed you can also prepare the dough ahead of time, say night before and place in the fridge. Or, prepare the dough, leave to chill 1 hour, roll and cut out and then place in the fridge to bake next day.


If You Don’t Like Smoked Paprika

If you don’t like smoked paprika, they are just as tasty without. Just make sure to season well and try to get mature hard cheese (sharp cheddar), as this is the strongest flavour that comes through. (You can also replace the smoked paprika with mustard powder and you can find that along side pickles in the supermarkets).


Chilling Is Key

Don’t skip the chilling time for the Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares either as this really helps the gluten in the flour relax, as well as the bites keeping their shape whilst baking. I use unsalted butter, but if you only have salted, omit it from the recipe.


Perfect For Food Gifting Too

I have been making these Cheezee Squares to include in food gift baskets for Christmas, for several years now. Not everyone likes sweet baked treats (strange I know), so these are perfect as a savoury alternative. Everyone loves cheese right?

How To Wrap Or Gift These Snacks

You can wrap these any way you like, but be sure to let who you are gifting them to, know that they should be stored in an airtight container, like a cake tin. For more ideas on how to wrap your food gifts for any time of the year, go to my Last Minute Food Gifts article.



Experienced Bakers

Experienced bakers can skip to the Recipe card – an abbreviated version of the recipe. You can also print the recipe via that recipe card, with or without the photos. Click below to skip to the Recipe Card. Lessons students, watch the video & read directions below as well as download the lesson. (See below).

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Almost Real-time Video

Here’s one of my more recent (better made 🙂 ) video of making these cheesy snacks.

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Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares


EQUIPMENT

  • Scales or Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Grater
  • Knife
  • Food Processor
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • Spray Oil or Bottled (optional)
  • Large baking tray (or 2 small)
  • Cooling Rack
  • Wooden Cocktail stick or BBQ Skewer
  • Timer or Phone Timer

OVEN: 170/150C Fan Oven/325f/Gas Mark 3

*photo of the spicy ingredients


Easy Peasy Smokin' Cheezee Squares

INGREDIENTS

  • 226g Scottish Extra Mature Cheese (or any mature/sharp hard cheese).
  • (2 1/4 cup, 8 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar)
  • 58g Butter, cubed (unsalted)*
  • (1/2 stick, 2 oz)
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • (4 1/2 oz, or 1 Cup All Purpose Flour)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (omit is using salted butter)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika*
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder (or onion powder/flakes)
  • 3 tbsp Very Cold Water (approx.)

*(As an alternative to smoked paprika, mustard powder can also be used. Omit salt if using salted butter)


Flour, butter, cheese & seasoning in a processor - photo 1.

INSTRUCTIONS

1.Cube and weigh out your butter and leave out a little to take the cold edge off. It doesn’t need to be soft.

2.Grate/shred the cheese and weigh out the flour.


Close shot inside processor showing blitzed texture of cheezee squares - photo 2.

3. Next, place all ingredients except for the water into a food processor (see Photo 1 above). Pulse the ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. See Photo 2 of how it should look.


Shot inside process showing dough forming a ball - photo 3.

Photo 3

4. Add in the cold water and pulse again until all combined. You can watch this process in the video above or in Photo 3, where the mixture suddenly comes together in a ball, cleaning the sides of the bowl as it does. You might need a little more water to get to this stage, but add in very small drops.


Photo 4

5. Tip the dough out onto baking/parchment paper or cling film/plastic wrap and form into a ball and then flatten to an even thickness disc and then either a rough square or rectangular shape. See Photo 4 (This will make it easier when rolling out later).

**Note if you are going to use a cookie cutter to cut out the snacks, you don’t need to flatten into a square or rectangular shape.


6. Loosely wrap the dough in the paper (or cling film/plastic wrap) & put in the fridge for 1 hour.   This is crucial and makes re-rolling of the dough scraps easier too.  Go wash the dishes or have a rest and a coffee 🙂

7. Prepare your baking sheets/tray(s) by lightly oiling them and placing baking/parchment paper on top. (This is if they have no lip – my cookies have fell off the baking tray/sheet before and you don’t want that).  


8. Now give the dough a few hard bangs with the rolling pin whilst pushing down and putting a lot of weight on it. Open out the paper & now roll out and try to get an even thickness all-around of about ¼ in or 6mm. (Lightly flour baking/parchment paper for rolling if you used cling film/plastic wrap). If you are able to roll out into a square or rectangular shape, this will make cutting into squares easier. (Or trim to shape like in Photo 5 above). But if not don’t worry and you can always use a small cookie or fondant cutter.  Any cracks forming when rolling, just join back together before continuing rolling.    See Photo 5 above.

9. Now cut vertical strips, leaving a 1 in/2.5cm gap in-between.  See Photo 6 above.

10. Turn the baking/parchment paper so you can cut lines in the opposite direction to make 1 in/2.5cm wide squares.  See Photo 6, right pic.


11. Heat up the oven to 170/150c Fan Oven/325f/Gas Mark 3.

12. Remove any incomplete squares.  Place the full squares of dough on the prepared baking tray(s) and leave a little space in-between them.  See Photo 8.

13. Now use a wooden cocktail stick or BBQ skewer to make 2 or 3 holes in the centre of each square, going down about half way. See Photo 7 & 8 (If making a big batch, for speed, I held 2 bbq sticks with a little gap in-between to make 2 holes at once).


14. Now roll up the excess dough and roll out to the same thickness as before and cut out more squares. Repeat until all dough is used up. Place remaining dough squares onto the sheet/tray. See Photo 8.

For Christmas and New Year I also tried making these with cookie and fondant cutters. In the end it was much quicker than cutting the squares (I was a little OCD with that and measured them to cut the lines). The push release cutters were the easiest. I really liked the star shaped ones, and made in small (about 2.5cm/1″) and tiny ones (at about 3/4″/8mm). The stars really held the shape good and are great for New year. (See Photos 7 & 8).


15. Bake in the oven for about 8 – 10 minutes, turning sheets/tray(s) during baking to ensure an even bake. With the colour of the smoked paprika it is more difficult to tell when done. For plain ones, they are done when golden, but at about 8 minutes. They will be puffed up & when you will be able to move them slightly, when gently pushed, take them out. Mine bake at 9 minutes. See Photo 10 below. Note the tiny ones took about 7 minutes. I also made some squares a little bigger than 1″/2.5cm and these took about 10-11 minutes.


16. They will still be a little soft, so leave on the baking sheet/tray for at least 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack, paper and all. See Photo 10. They will deflate just a little once out of the oven.

17. Eat when you can’t wait any longer and store in a tin or airtight container (if there is any left that is!)


Spicy version of smokin squares.

CHEESPICY SMOKIN’ SQUARES

For the spicy version, make as above, but add the following to the dry ingredients:

  • Swap 1 tsp Smoked Paprika with 1 tsp Hot Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Oregano (rounded/heaped)
  • 1 tsp Cumin


DIFFICULTY RATING Easy, Beginner Level

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Download The Lessons:


Thanks for reading & watching the video. Please let me know if you make these & enjoy them. Next step is to proceed to Theory Lesson 5 – Mixing Cake Batter & Dense Cakes.

Please see the sharing options or even printing, at the right/bottom of your screen (bottom of your screen for mobile devices, and down the right-hand side on computers).

You can even pin this to your own Pinterest page. Alternatively, you can download this article, see above. You could also leave some feedback if you like.



Recipe Card – Abbreviated Recipe

New Year
Print

Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares & Stars

Here’s my quick to prepare savoury snack – Easy Peasy Smokin’ Cheezee Squares! Not quite pastry, not quite a cracker, these cheesy snacks are great for entertaining, gifting or nibbling on movie night.
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine American, British
Keyword Cheese, Christmas, Mustard Powder, New Year, Party Food, Savoury, Smoked Paprika, Snack
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 110 Squares
Author Caro
SAVE RECIPE Share on Facebook

Equipment

  • Scales or measuring cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Grater
  • Knife
  • Small cookie or pastry cutter (1.5-2.5cm or ⅔-1" diameter) – optional
  • Food Processor
  • Baking/parchment paper
  • Spray Oil or Bottled (optional)
  • Large baking tray (or 2 small)
  • Cooling rack
  • Wooden Cocktail stick or BBQ Skewer x 2
  • Timer or Phone Timer

Ingredients

  • 226 grams Scottish Extra Mature Cheese (2¼ cup, 8 oz, Extra Sharp Cheddar or any mature/sharp hard cheese.)
  • 58 grams Butter, unsalted (½ stick, 2 oz, cubed. If using salted, omit salt)
  • 126 grams Plain Flour (4½ oz, or 1 cup All Purpose flour)
  • ½ tsp Salt (omit if using Salted butter)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika, non spicy (or Mustard Powder)
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder (or Onion Powder/flakes)
  • 3 tbsp Cold Water (45ml, 1½ fl oz, approx. You may need more)

Instructions

Prepare The Dough

  • Cube the butter & leave out a little to take the cold edge off. It doesn’t need to be soft. Meanwhile gather the ingredients.
  • Grate/shred the cheese & place all ingredients but the water into a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add in the cold water & pulse again until all combined. You can watch this process in the video below. The mixture suddenly comes together in a ball, cleaning the sides of the bowl as it does. You might need a little more water to get to this stage, but add in very small drops.
  • Tip the dough onto baking/parchment paper or cling film/plastic wrap & form into a disc or square/rectangular shape. (Disc shape for using a cutter). Wrap in paper or cling film/plastic wrap & put in the fridge for 1 hour.

Shape The Cheese Squares

  • Prepare your baking sheets/tray(s) by lightly greasing them & placing baking/parchment paper on top.
  • Heat up the oven to 170°c/150°c Fan Oven/325°f/Gas Mark 3.
  • Roll out the dough to a thickness all-around of about ¼" or 6mm on lightly floured baking/parchment paper. If you are able to roll out into a square or rectangular shape, this will make cutting into squares with a knife easier. (You can trim to a rectangular shape). Alternatively, if using a cookie or pastry cutter, roll any shape.
  • For the squares cut by hand, cut vertical strips, leaving a 1"/2½cm gap in-between. Then turn the baking/parchment paper so you can cut lines in the opposite direction to make 1"/2½cm wide squares. Transfer the squares of dough on to the prepared baking tray(s) & leave a little space in-between them. Roll out the excess dough and cut more squares.
  • If using a cookie or pastry cutter, dip in some flour & cut out as many shapes as you can. Then re-roll the excess dough & cut out till all the dough is used.
  • Use a BBQ skewer to make 2 or 3 holes in the centre of each square, going down about half way. Place the prepared cheese squares/shapes in the fridge until the oven is ready.

Bake The Cheesy Squares & Stars

  • Bake in the oven for about 8 – 10 minutes, turning sheets/trays during baking to ensure an even bake. They will be puffed up & when you are able to move them slightly, when gently pushed, take them out.
  • They will still be a little soft, so leave on the baking sheet/tray for at least 5 minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack, paper and all.
  • Eat when you can’t wait any longer and store in a tin or airtight container (if there is any left that is!)

Video

Notes

For the spicy version, make as above, but add the following to the dry ingredients:
  • Swap 1 tsp Smoked Paprika with 1 tsp Hot Smoked Paprika (spicy)
  • 2 tsp Oregano (rounded/heaped)
  • 1 tsp Cumin
 
Spicy version of smokin squares.
Alternative to Smoked Paprika is Mustard Powder.
If using Salted butter, omit the added salt.
Sizes of the cutters – cookie and fondant cutters were used for the new pics.   The stars were about 2.5cm/1″ wide and tiny ones at about 0.75″/8mm.
Store in an air-tight container, (I prefer cake tins) & will be good for at least 3 days.
You can also prepare the dough & place in fridge overnight.  Or, after cutting the cheesy squares, you can chill overnight for baking the next morning.  Just be sure to remove from the fridge, 10 minutes before baking.
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Happy Memories & Tummies!

Caro xx



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