“Who makes their own crackers?” Tyson wanted to know when he saw what I was pulling out of the oven.

“The Barefoot Contessa,” I replied, and then he understood.

We love crackers in our house, especially at Christmas, when December dinners feel like one long string of appetizers. These cheddar-jalapeno crackers are wicked all by themselves. I obey the Barefoot Contessa without question, and these are from her new cookbook — a fancy version of what Cheez-Its want to be. If you serve them as an appetizer, you don’t need anything else. People will be too busy marveling that you made homemade crackers, because who does that?

I also brought them to a friend’s open house to share =  ideal hostess gift. (Would you like to know about my cool olive wood board – which I did not, and could not ever give away? Keep reading.)

The crackers were pretty easy, with a few modifications. Tips: Use the expensive cheese and grate it yourself. You may need twice the amount of water called for in the recipe. I added two teaspoons of chopped green onions and another teaspoon of chopped jalapeno to the second batch. Both were excellent. I also baked them for five extra minutes for extra-crisp results.

My olive wood board was handmade by my photographer friend Michael McNamara, who crafted it from salvaged Arizona olive wood. I fought off other friends for this one. (Sorry, Adrienne.) Michael plans to start selling them soon, so leave a comment below  if you’d like a heads up.