White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers

I love appetizers.  I like standing around the table, picking up small handfuls of grapes, raiding the cheese trays, and eating all the sliced apples.  It stems from my love of snacking.  It’s a problem, but admitting that in no way compels me to reform.  If I had my way, lunch would always consist of a large tray of various cheeses, olives, apples, grapes, and warm baguettes.  Throw in a big sweater and an old book and oh my goodness - totally idyll.

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

The great thing about snacking is that no one (including you, thank goodness) can keep track of exactly how much you are eating.  The wheel of brie disappears and no one in particular is to blame.  It just disappeared when half a dozen people were standing around the appetizer table.  That’s a good thing when you consume brie at the rate that I do.

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

A mid-afternoon snack craving inspired these crackers.  Here’s what happened.  I was with my sister, (that line is always a warning that ridiculous and fattening things will follow), when she whipped out a bag of cheddar and caramel popcorn.  What?  Too weird.  I’m definitely not trying that…well, maybe a little bit.

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

“That's disgustin - wait…  I’m going to marry this stuff!  Give me that bag!”  And that’s how it all went down. 

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

Fast forward to the next afternoon when the popcorn was gone but the cravings were strong, and I started contemplating how I could recreate the enigmatic yet addicting snack.  Of course, I could make my own cheesey popcorn, but then I would need to dehydrate cheddar and make it into a powder and yeah -- I was not going to go there.

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

However, crackers were a reasonable option.  That would take care of the cheddar element.  The caramel, however, stumped me at first.  Then I remembered burnt sugar and I knew good things were about to happen.

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

Making your own crackers is not hard!  Can you make shortbread?  Then you can make crackers, I promise.  The hardest part is not eating them all. 

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

After the crackers cool a bit they are drizzled with a heavy dose of sticky, golden burnt sugar.

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

Burnt sugar is just what it says, burnt sugar.  Not super burnt, but just brown enough to give us that caramel flavor and a touch of sweetness.

I paired these crackers with some crisp apple slices and it was a perfectly balanced snack tray.  Think of the crackers as the cheese and the burnt sugar as the honey.  It’s weird but it really works. 

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers {Pedantic Foodie}

Snack lunching it up in here.  


  Pedantic Foodie

White Cheddar & Burnt Sugar Crackers

 makes about 70 crackers / recipe adapted from Joy the Baker

for the crackers

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sharp white cheddar, grated 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold water 

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine butter, salt and white cheddar.  Mix on low speed for 1-2 minutes, the mixture will begin to form a ball.  While continuing to mix on low speed, slowly add flour in increments until all the flour has been worked in.  Add water, one teaspoon at a time.  Add just enough water to form a rough dough, you may not need the full amount or you may need a little extra, depending on the humidity.  The dough should not be wet or sticky, just moist. 

Shape the dough into two discs and wrap with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  

While the dough chills preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  

Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to an 1/8 of an inch in thickness.  Use a 1-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the crackers.  Use the end of a skewer to make several indentations into the center of each cracker.  

Place the crackers on a baking sheet lined with parchment, spacing them about 1/4 inch apart, and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and fragrant.  Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.  While the crackers are cooling, prepare the burnt sugar.

for the burnt sugar

  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup water 

In a small saucepan combine sugar and water and place over medium high heat.  Stir several times and then fit the pan with a candy thermometer and allow to cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 300 degrees.  

Remove from heat and drizzle the burn sugar over the cooled crackers with a fork.  Work carefully and quickly, as the sugar with set up rapidly as it cools.

Allow the crackers to sit for about 10 minutes before eating - this will allow the sugar to fully set. 

Serve immediately or store in airtight containers for several days.  Enjoy!

5 Things I Learned From Traveling Alone

Nearly two weeks have passed since I first climbed aboard the first of several planes which would carry me across the country. I have climbed mountains, talked to strangers, gotten lost in a new city, and eaten an undisclosed number of doughnuts. No joke. Thank goodness we are entering “hide my doughnut shame underneath a big sweater” season. It was research, I did it for you. I will always sacrifice my waistline for the good of my readers. That’s just how much I love you all.

You know how when people go away by themselves they always come back and tell you that they learned a lot about themselves? Blah, blah, blah. Effusive hipsters. Well, as obnoxious as all that sounds, I get it. Traveling solo is enlightening.  

Even though I am rolling my eyes at myself as I type these horrendously cliche words, I wanted to share a couple of things that I learned while I was prancing about the country, solo style.

1. I learned that traveling alone means you always get to pick the restaurant. I like that. I like that a lot! When I have travelled with others and meal time rolls around my travel buddies usually say they don’t care where we eat. “Let’s just pick something.” Of course, I am then obligated to be easy going and reply by saying that I do not care either, even though I TOTALLY CARE. Of course, I could save about 20 minutes per meal time, an hour each day, just by telling them where we should go, but then I would be a controlling foodie jerk. When I’m traveling by myself, there is no discussion. I just choose.  End of story. It’s a perk of solo travel.

2. I learned that you can always eat more doughnuts than you think.  Trust me on this one, it was tested thoroughly. 

3. I learned that I transform into a total chatterbox when I’m alone by myself for more than eight hours. When I go out into my own town I keep my head down and my chatting to a minimum. I’m there for a purpose - probably to buy butter, and I want to get home with minimal delays. I have plenty of conversations throughout the day with the normal characters in my life and seeking out conversation with strangers is not something I generally feel compelled to pursue.  BUT, when I am touring solo and haven’t talked to another human all day long, I see strangers in a new light. “Well, hello there stranger! I’m having the time of my life, but I am also a bit lonely and I haven’t even come close to using up my five thousand words for today, so would you mind if I chat you up a bit? Do you like chocolate? Would you like to hear about these revolutionary caramels I just discovered?” You get the idea. It was weird - I found myself being the kind of person I have always avoided, yet admired. And I watched others, similar to the normal version of myself, become surprised and yet appreciative of having someone to talk to.

4. I learned that you should always try the Pear and Blue Cheese Ice Cream. YOLO that stuff - you won’t regret it. You will, however, probably regret saying YOLO, like I now am. *Sigh*

5. Lastly, I learned that it’s alright to cry in the streets because you got lost, again. Order two obscenely large doughnuts and eat them both yourself. Buy a dozen bags of candy and do not offer an explanation. Shamelessly take selfies to text to your sister.  Do whatever the heck you want because it’s vacation and you never have to see those staring strangers again.

The End.

Thank you Portland. Thank you for welcoming me into your beautiful city. It was a pleasure to meet you.


  Pedantic Foodie


{The 1st Meal} Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter

I am not completely sure when it was that my mother first fed me banana bread, but I know that I have been in love with it ever since.  I cannot be trusted alone with a loaf of freshly baked banana bread.  I’m serious.  I can, and will eat the whole loaf, and likely polish off 3/4 of a stick of butter in the process. 

If my brother and I are together?  Gone.  All of it.  Yes, we did just buy all the bananas within a ten mile radius, bake 47 loaves of bread, eat every last one of them by ourselves.  It’s how we bond.  If you need us, we will be found sleeping on the kitchen floor in a beautiful banana bread coma. 

What I am trying to say is that I really, really, really like banana bread.

Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter {Pedantic Foodie}

In my mind, banana bread is breakfast fare.  I like to enjoy a warm slice or two with a big cup of coffee.  The only challenge is, I often lack the patience to wait an entire hour for my breakfast to bake. 

By the time I crawl out of bed and mosey out to the kitchen I can only wait about 23 minutes for food to enter my mouth.  Here lies my quandary. Sure, I could bake it the night before, but that would not necessarily guarantee banana bread for breakfast.  The lateness of hour by no means lessens my ability to devour.


So, I have to get my banana bread fix in a slightly more timely manner.  Hello pancakes! 

These pancakes were the first thing I made in my shiny new Ninja blender.  Pancakes are always the first thing people make when they get a new blender, right?  Okay, maybe not, but they should be. 

Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter {Pedantic Foodie}

I have long loved my Ninja blender, so I was more than delighted to take their new Auto iQ model for a test run.  Though I loved my former, more basic model, I do not know that I could go back to it after using the Nutri Ninja and all its fancy buttons.  It not only serves as a blender, but also as a food processor, giving you extra room in your pantry by cutting down on your appliances.

Besides saving dishes, making pancakes in a blender also aerates the batter, which in turn, leads to fluffy pancakes.  For this recipe, I took advantage of the new Smooth Boost setting and it created a perfectly smooth batter without overworking it and making the pancakes tough.

Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter {Pedantic Foodie}

The batter is relatively standard.  Ripe bananas are pureed first using the Smooth Boost setting to make them extra creamy.  Then they are combined with eggs, butter, vanilla, and milk.  

I let the blender do all the work here and she did a fantastic job.  The best part?  You still only have one dish to clean.  Well yes, the measuring cups, but just work with me here.

Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter {Pedantic Foodie}

My particular model comes with two different work bowls as well as two single serving pitchers.  I used the Blend and Prep Bowl for this recipe.  I was skeptical in the beginning, and I doubted that it would be able to replace my beloved food processor, but it did the job wonderfully.  If you can only afford one extra appliance, I would certainly recommend this tool because it can serve as both a blender and a food processor and does both jobs wonderfully well.

Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter {Pedantic Foodie}

As I said before, I have always slathered my banana bread with a generous dose of butter, and I had no intention of treating these pancakes any differently.  However, I wanted to jazz my butter up a bit with pecans, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.  

Oh yes, I did all of this in the blender too.  While the pancakes were cooking, I rinsed out the work bowl and made the butter.

A couple of pulses later, you are ready to slather some pancakes with spoonfuls of sweet, nutty butter. 

Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter {Pedantic Foodie}

Here we are.  At the end of another week, and ready to forge some meaningful moments. Let’s begin well.  

Easy Banana Bread Pancakes with Pecan Butter {Pedantic Foodie}


Pedantic Foodie

This post was in partnership with Ninja Kitchen.  As always, all opinions expressed were completely my own.  I just happen to be pretty mad about their products.

Banana Bread Pancakes with Brown Sugar Pecan Butter

serves 2-4, depending on your appetite

for the butter

  • 2/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Add raw pecans to the Blend and Prep bowl fitted with the Chopping Blade, or in the work bowl of your food processor.  Pulse several times, until finely chopped.  Add brown sugar, vanilla, and butter.  Pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides with a spatula as needed.  When the butter is smooth, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

for the pancakes

  • 1 large banana
  • 8 ounces whole milk 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 10 ounces all purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 
  • softened butter, for frying 

Sift to combine all purpose flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

In the Ninja Blend and Prep bowl fitted with the chopping blade, or the work bowl your food processor, add 1 banana.  Blend until smooth.  Add whole milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla extract and pulse several times to combine. 

Add flour mixture and blend on high for 1-2 minutes, until a smooth batter has formed.  

Place a large frying pan over medium heat and coat with a small amount of butter.  Pour about 1/4-1/3 cup(depending on the size of your pan) of batter into the frying pan and cook until the batter has bubbled and all the bubbles have popped.  Flip the pancake with an offset spatula and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Continue with the remainder of the batter.  

To serve, butter each pancake with the prepared brown sugar pecan butter and drizzle with maple syrup.  Top with pecans and sliced bananas, if you feel so inclined.  Enjoy!