Casey Barber has brought us both Twinkies® and Cheetos® recipes so that we can make them at home. These recipes and more can be found in her new book Classic Snacks Made from Scratch. Never thought of making these at home? Well, think about it. They have flavors we adore but so often these baked goods contain poor quality ingredients. By creating these at home we can control the quality of ingredients while having a whole lotta fun at the same time. (Check out our Hostess with the Mostest Cupcakes for more snack foods to make from scratch). Can you imagine your friends response when you say, “Yeah, I made these Cheetos®”! They will be stunned and you will be the hot baker on the block. You have to try these.
They say people start to look like their pets after a while, but I think our pets are starting to eat like us. Case in point: my tubby kitty Harry, who has developed an affinity for cheese powder. He’s learned to recognize the crackly sound of the cheese curl bag and comes running to lick the residue off our fingers (if we let him). Yes, I gave him a taste of a homemade Cheeto after I developed this recipe. Yes, it was the best thing to happen to him all day.
TOTAL TIME: 1½ hours, including dough chilling time
DIFFICULTY: 2 (Moderate)
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: stand mixer, spice grinder or mini food processor
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup (4¼ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons yellow cornmeal
- 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, finely shredded (about 1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons Cheddar cheese powder
- ½ teaspoon buttermilk powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- MAKE THE CHEESE CURLS: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, salt, and garlic powder at medium-low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cornmeal, and shredded cheese. Stir together at low speed until a firm dough forms. Shape into a disc and place on a large sheet of plastic wrap; wrap tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.
- Pinch off small pieces of the chilled dough and gently roll between your palms and fingers to form lumpy logs roughly 2 to 2½ inches long and ¼ to ½ inch across. Place on the prepared baking sheets—you can space them fairly close together because they won’t puff up while baking.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the pieces are no longer shiny and are just beginning to brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- ADD THE COATING: Place the cheese powder, buttermilk powder, salt, and cornstarch in a spice grinder or mini food processor and whir for 10 to 15 seconds to blend evenly.
- Transfer to a large zip-top bag. Add the cooled Cheetos, seal, and shake gently to coat evenly.
- Store the coated cheese curls at room temperature in an airtight container for up to a week.