When Beth Lee of Charlotte called me a few weeks ago about the Hatcher Crackers made by her friend Hatcher Kincheloe, I had to ask her what a Hatcher cracker is. "Well, it's . . . it's . . . "
Hang on, I said. I put the name into Google and quickly turned up several versions of the recipe, including a blogger in another state who had taken pictures when she was making them for Christmas. I realized quickly that it's a cheese-based variation of that Christmas toffee that some people call Mystery Cookies - you make a mixture of brown sugar and butter, pour it over saltines or graham crackers and bake it.
But the cheese version demanded to be tried, so I stopped on the way home that Friday and picked up the ingredients. After I got Kincheloe's version of the recipe, I found a few differences, mainly in the red pepper. The online recipes have you sprinkle it on the crackers, while Kincheloe sprinkles it on the cheese. I think that helps with distribution -- I had trouble getting good distribution of pepper, so my first batch was a little too picante.
Still, when Linda Kincheloe dropped off a bag of her husband's crackers, I was surprised to realize I had hit it pretty close to right the first time, with about the same level of browning and crunch as his version.
It's a great recipe and simple to make if you have an electric oven. Gas ovens may make it difficult to get the tray far enough from the heat source to keep the cheese from burning too quickly.
Thanks, Beth Lee, Hatcher Kincheloe and especially Linda Kincheloe, for letting me tell the story behind the crackers. Hatcher Kincheloe Sr.'s legacy lives on.