Breckenridge Texan

Texas Cheeters: Kc Crawford has plans to expand local original beyond Breckenridge’s city limits

Texas Cheeters: Kc Crawford has plans to expand local original beyond Breckenridge’s city limits
June 30
19:43 2024

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

No one seems more surprised than Kc Crawford himself that the former bareback horse rider and oil field worker now spends a good portion of his day in a commercial kitchen baking pastries.

“I would have never imagined it. I mean, I literally screwed up macaroni all the time, before. Now, I’m the primary cook in our house. I do all the cooking in our household,” said Crawford, who also is a U.S. Army veteran, adding that running a bakery wasn’t something he ever planned to do. His grandparents were stock contractors, so he grew up participating in rodeos, specifically riding bareback horses. He also raced BMX bikes.

Kc Crawford stretches out the Texas Cheeters dough after it’s been flattened. Click here to see more photos. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Between then and now, Crawford has had several jobs, including working in the oil field, working on vintage airplanes, and other manual labor-type jobs. Nowadays, he and his wife, Rhonda Rogers Crawford, own the Texas Cheeters company, and Kc does most of the hands-on work — the baking, packaging and delivering — by himself.

The Texas Cheeters that he makes and delivers each week are a Breckenridge specialty, and the Crawfords’ plan is to introduce them to the rest of the world. For the most part, Kc follows the recipes and procedures that the late Jerry Beene created at his Buckaroo Bakery more than 40 years ago.

What exactly are Texas Cheeters? They’re best described as a cross between a roll and a muffin — a filled yeast roll baked in a muffin tin and served in a traditional cupcake or muffin liner. They come in savory varieties — sausage and cheese, the original Cheeter, known as the Tex; jalapeno, sausage and cheese, known as the Jorge; and, sausage, egg and cheese, known as Cousin Eggy. And sweet — traditional cinnamon rolls. And a combination of sweet and savory — maple and bacon.

The pastries were first created at Buckaroo Bakery by Beene in the 1980s. According to the Texas Cheeters website (, the legend is that the pastry was first called a “cheater” by Weight Watchers members who stopped in at the bakery after their meeting next door.

When Beene decided to close the bakery more than 30 years later, he taught his recipes and techniques to Rhonda, who served Texas Cheaters — as the name was spelled originally — at her Sweet Accessories shop that was located in the former Buckaroo Bakery spot in downtown Breckenridge. Kc even made videos of Beene making the pastries.

In 2018, the Crawfords moved to New Mexico to take advantage of a job opportunity they had. But, in 2021, after moving back to Breckenridge, they reignited the baking business. Realizing that internet searches for “Texas Cheaters” mostly showed results for infidelity sites, they rebranded the pastries as “Texas Cheeters” and started working to expand the business beyond Breckenridge. Relying on Rhonda’s experience and those videos of Jerry Beene, who died in 2012, Kc learned to bake.

The bakery is still in the same location as Buckaroo Bakery and Sweet Accessories were, 130 E. Walker St., but the Crawfords only use the kitchen portion in the back of the building, known as Suite B. The front part is currently rented to Dennis Funderburg for his martial arts school, Spectre Elite.

The Texas Cheeters are rolled up, cinnamon roll-style, before being cut into individual rolls. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/ Breckenridge Texan)

Back in the kitchen, not much has changed over the years. Most of the equipment Crawford uses today is Beene’s original, including an oven, pans, mixer and more. He’s added a few updated items, including a dough sheeter that flattens the dough to the perfect thickness for the Cheeters.

On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Crawford was in the bakery, making a couple of batches of Texas Cheeters. He makes 16 pounds of dough at a time, cutting each ball of dough into four parts. Each part is then rolled out through the dough sheeter into long rectangles.

“This machine has been a lifesaver,” Crawford said. “Being able to just plop this dough out and roll it out to where I want it and not have to do much work there. It makes (the dough) less agitated, so it tastes a little better.”

After the dough is flattened, Crawford stretches it a little and then uses a rolling pin to square it up and ensure uniform thickness. For the original Texas Cheeter — the Tex — he brushes melted butter over the dough, spreads on a layer of cheddar cheese and tops it off with a batch of cooked Kennedy’s whole hog sausage, which he buys direct from Kennedy’s Sausage Company in Santo. Then, Crawford starts at one end of the long sheet of dough and rolls it up, cinnamon roll-style, and cuts it into individual rolls. Each roll is placed in a lined muffin tin on a large baking sheet. The pan of uncooked rolls then goes in the proofer for about 20 minutes so the dough can rise a second time, making the rolls a little fluffier. Then, they’re baked, brushed with some more melted butter and set aside to cool. Click here to see the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery of Crawford making a batch of Texas Cheeters.

Kc Crawford puts a tray of Texas Cheeters in the oven. Much of the equipment he uses was in the original Buckaroo Bakery. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Each batch of the pastries cools overnight in the refrigerator before being packaged in bags holding six each. Those are then frozen to ensure that the Texas Cheeters stay fresh until they are ready to be eaten by the customer.

There are several aspects of the business that Crawford likes, such as the routines involved. One of the keys to his success is the prep work he does. “I’ll come in and cook my sausage, I’ll weigh everything out, by gram, and I’ll package it by the gram. And then I’ll do my cheese that way.” he said. “That way when I’m ready to go, it’s just pull it out and go. There’s no fumbling around with stuff.”

Part of the routine is cleaning as he goes. Throughout the baking process, Crawford is constantly cleaning the flour off of the table, putting away utensils, etc.

Crawford also sticks to a regular, yet flexible, routine. Every Thursday, he delivers the Texas Cheeters to several places that sell the pastries, including Soggy Dog Wine and Brew and W5 Pharmacy and Coffee in Breckenridge, three locations of Ironworks Coffee in the Weatherford area, Mrs. Brown’s Coffee Shop in Eastland, Paradise Bistro & Coffee Co. in Granbury and Railway Express Coffee in Santo. He also takes orders from locals who want to buy a half dozen or more at a time.

Kc Crawford takes a freshly baked batch of the Jorge — the Texas Cheeter with sausage, cheese and jalapenos — from the oven. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Another part of running his own business that Crawford likes is the opportunity to schedule his work around his family life. The Crawfords have three daughters, ages 5, 10 and 16. Crawford is able to arrange his schedule so that, during the school year, he can drop the kids off at school and then pick them up in the afternoon.

Kc is from the Metroplex and met Rhonda, who is from Breckenridge, when she went to college in that area, and they moved to Breckenridge to be close to her family, he said. They never expected to be carrying on the Texas Cheeters legacy.

Currently, Texas Cheeters are available on a wholesale basis, but Crawford would like to eventually get a USDA certification to sell the pastries individually. But, for now, he’s focusing on the wholesale business.

“Right now, we’re just trying to continue to grow, pick up new locations and just try to get our marketing out there to the locations where we’re wanting to go,” he said.

As Crawford talks, he’s busy, cleaning the counters, checking on the Cheeters in the proofer, moving them to the oven, etc.

When the buzzer went off, he opened the oven door and took a look inside. “Those are perfect,” he said, taking out a batch of the original Texas Cheeters, stuffed with sausage and cheese. “That’s a beautiful tray of Cheeters right there.”

Texas Cheeters are available in five varieties and can be purchased at local coffee shops in Breckenridge, Weatherford, Eastland, Granbury and Santo. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Kc Crawford follows the same recipes and procedures that Jerry Beene used when he created the Texas Cheeters more than 40 years ago. Click here to see more photos. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)


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