As anyone who has a toddler knows, goldfish are a staple of their diet. But have you ever actually read the label on those cute little crackers? It’s not pretty. I buy Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies (whose ingredients list is much shorter and less sketchy) and Charlie eats those when we are home. But inevitably, goldfish crackers do cross our path—at play dates or parties—and when they do, I relent and let him eat them, despite the fact that I am inwardly cringing. (Especially if it’s the “Colors” variety. I shudder to think how they arrive at those “colors.”) I don’t want to be THAT mother, the one who judges her peers by the kinds of snacks they feed their kids. Because the truth is that I can feed Charlie whole, organic foods throughout his childhood and he may still wind up eating at McDonald’s when the choice is his. I have made my peace with this. Sort of.
Goldfish crackers have been on my mind lately though because I am planning Charlie’s second birthday party, which has a Sesame Street theme. Some of the snacks I plan on serving are in keeping with the characters’ favorite foods and Elmo does love his goldfish. I thought about just putting the bunnies in a bowl and hoping that nobody noticed but I also wondered, in one of my conversations with Christie, whether or not a recipe existed for making my own goldfish crackers. Before I even had a chance to look, a link to the blog, Tasty Kitchen, appeared in my inbox, courtesy of Christie, my BFF and party planning guru. The ingredients list was pretty basic: water, butter, cheddar cheese, flour and salt, so I decided to give it a shot.
So, in the interest of full disclosure, my first batch did not go so well. I made my little goldfish cutter too small and the crackers burned a bit. They were really tasty, just not photo worthy. This next batch went much more smoothly. I made the goldfish bigger and only baked them for 12 minutes rather than 15. This cracker dough is seriously flavorful though so even if you haven’t a need for goldfish shaped bites, I would try it anyway and serve it the next time you have a party. You can use a circle cutter to make them into a round shape. To make the goldfish shape, follow the instructions on Tasty Kitchen. I would suggest making the cutter out of a soda can which is much easier to mold than a vegetable can. All in all I was pleased with this batch and plan on making them for the party. The true test, however, will be whether our little guests will eat them.
Homemade Goldfish Crackers (from Tasty Kitchen)
Makes about 8-9 dozen crackers
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse all ingredients, except the water, in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Pulse in the water, one tablespoon at a time. Remove dough from the processor, wrap it in plastic, and let it chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Roll out the dough (the thinner you do so, the crispier the cracker) and cut with goldfish cutter. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crackers are slightly puffed and golden.