My last post covered my Keto Aid drink that helps me through extended fasts and Fat Fasts and Zero Carb Challenges. I completed four days of fat fasting and then we went to my parents' house to pick up our kids. My parents always have a ridiculous amount of junk food, almost none Keto, despite that one of our kids is diabetic and another allergic to wheat, and this time was no exception. My mother had my daughter bake a bunch of iced shortbread cookies and also had all kinds of pasta and chips and bread and juice and ice cream. I did okay the first night but the second night I ate a bunch of Cheez-It crackers and a cookie and drank way too much wine. I recovered my equilibrium once we got home the next day (the amount of junk food is one reason we rarely stay long at my parents' house) and did a week of all-day fasts with just one meal each day and some days a snack added. I found, however, my craving for Cheez-Its just wouldn't go away. Anyone who does low carb or Keto knows that once the carbs leave your body and you get fat-adapted (meaning your body and brain starts using your body fat for fuel rather than recently-consumed carbohydrates), you don't have many (if any) cravings, so this surprised me. Maybe Cheez-Its have some addicting ingredient or maybe it's just that they've always been my absolute favorite snack, but I just couldn't stop thinking about them all week.
I looked for Keto Cheez-It recipes online. I've made similar "cheese chips" and fried cheese in the past but none of them were exactly like Cheez-It. I only like Cheez-Its, too, not any of the store brand copies or Cheese Nips or any of those. I had to find a Keto recipe for classic Cheez-Its, and I'm happy to say, with the help of someone in my Keto Instagram feed, I've done it! It turns out re-creating the authentic Cheez-It flavor requires four things: the cheese must be aged, the cheese must be Gouda, paprika must be added to the seasoning, and the salt must be coarse salt. I have to admit, these are pretty much just as addictive as regular Cheez-Its, so you'll have to exert some will power to keep from snacking. Maybe just eat them as meals, the way I do!
Keto Cheez-It Crackers
12 slices Gouda pre-sliced cheese
Coarse Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt to taste
Paprika to Taste
First age the cheese. Place four slices of cheese on a paper towel (or you can use clean absorbent cloth towels) as shown, layer with another paper towel, and repeat until you've used all the cheese slices. Cover with a paper towel and leave at room temperature for three days. On the third or fourth day cut the cheese slices into quarters. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet so the pieces aren't touching each other. Sprinkle with coarse salt and paprika. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes until the cheese begins to brown. For maximum crunchiness, blot the crackers with a towel to remove any excess oil and store in a covered container at room temperature.
So in the past I've done the "chips" you make by baking shredded Parmesan cheese on parchment paper, and I've made the ones where you bake sliced cheddar or fry it in a pan, and those are good, but none had the Cheez-It flavor. I also tried to make cheese crackers by adapting the Fathead pizza crust dough. Those had great Cheez-It flavor but the texture was wrong. They were way too soft. I knew from reading the Cheez-It ingredients on the box they use paprika, which is the difference between them and other similar cheese crackers. Maybe I'm addicted to Paprika! Revelation came when someone in my Keto feed mentioned when they use aged Gouda cheese they get the real Cheez-It flavor. I tried aging the Gouda and the result was really good, but still not 100% Cheez-It. For that batch I used regular fine salt and they were just too salty.
For the next batch I tried the most popular recipe on Pinterest, which calls for cheddar and isn't aged, but I substituted Gouda. That batch wasn't salty enough and the texture was all wrong. When you don't age the cheese it has too much oil in it and the chips puff all up and end up chewy. You can see in the photo above the aged chip on the left and the larger, puffy, un-aged chip on the right. They taste like stale Cheez-Its! The reason you need to age the slices in a single layer on absorbent towels is they soak up the oil from the cheese, which allows the crackers to become as hard and crunchy as those baked with flour.
For my third batch I tried using coarse Himalayan salt on aged Gouda and it turned out perfectly! I don't think you can get closer to the real Cheez-It than this! Real Cheez-Its have those big pieces of salt on them, which I love, and the coarse salt adds that part of the Cheez-It experience.
After getting myself back on track I ended up losing almost another inch off my waist, so now I've lost nearly four inches off my waist in the last two weeks. I know I could do even better on another fat fast, but it's really hard to do with the kids home, so I've just been trying to fast for at least 18 hours a day. Maybe now that I have the Cheez-Its down I'll be more successful at fat fasting!
My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.