I love cheese. I love crackers.
I do not love cheese crackers.
Never have. Probably….never will. My memory of cheese crackers stems from the 80′s. When my parents would have company over and the proverbial ‘snackies’ plate came out. At my house, it was defined by the cracker (often a Ritz or Veggie Thin), the sliced kielbasa sausage, the alternating white and yellow cheese, all arranged nicely on a plate. The Bic pickle would probably make an appearance as well. (For the record us Little ones got the special treat of Old Dutch chips from the box with a side of the homemade trifecta chip dip (powdered ranch + mayo + sour cream). Ahhh, the good ol’ days.
Fast forward 20 (sheesh closer to 30) years and that cheese cracker turned itself into a fish and took over play dates everywhere. In my new world of mommyville, I have witnessed that guppy coax a Little out of a hiding spot, instantly plug tear ducts and quiet even the chattiest of chatterboxes. And in my daily (hourly?) quest to keep the junk out of my Little ones seemingly hollow leg, I have never actually purchased the goldfish. They contain a lot of stuff I am not certain about and a few things I am (MSG being one) so I have avoided bringing them in the house. But of course, through the refined art of toddler sharing, he has been exposed. And despite my dream that he spit it out and say “yucky mommy”, the reaction was opposite…Little is a fan.
So I played around with a bunch of different recipes of homemade fish and this is where I landed. We had so much fun making them. I swear the hardest part was finding a cookie cutter that looked like a little fish. But I did. Or I thought I did. We were on a fantastic child-free trip to Seattle with some friends, browsing through a little kitchen shop, and there it was. Perfect! I thought it was a wee bit odd that it was pastel pink but who cares right? It’s a little fishy cookie cutter. I had to have it. (perhaps wine in the afternoon maybe clouded my judgement. maybe not. but probably, maybe yes) I excitedly bring it home and after cutting out what is literally about 150 little fish it occurs to me my little bitty cute fishy cutter is more likely the shape of the breast cancer ribbon. Or any worthy causes ribbon for that matter, depending on the colour of your cookie.
So no more wine before shopping in the afternoon.
Regardless, this “ribbon turned fishy” recipe is the best of a few attempts. It makes lots of fish and ingredients are super simple. I used a skewer to make the eyes and the end of the
breast cancer ribbon fishy cutter to cut out a little mouth. I even threw a few sharks in for fun. The turmeric adds a bit more yellow colour in an attempt to match the commercial product. My Little doesn’t really care either way and I think you could go 100% whole wheat flour without noticing much taste difference. They make a nice whole food alternative to the store bought and I found the process of making them to be a pretty fun play date with my wee one. It also confirmed my suspicions.
He loves cheese.
He loves crackers.
And unlike his mama…
…he loves cheese crackers.
1 and 1/2 cups of grated aged white cheddar cheese
4 Tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp water (maybe)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor, blend the aged cheddar for about a minute and then empty into a mixing bowl.
3. To the bowl, add the flours, turmeric & salt. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or fork (or your fingers) Start to work the mixture into a dough, kneading it with your hands.
4. Depending on several environmental factors, you may need a “fitch” of water to work the dough. Just add a few drop at a time and then go back to working the dough. You want to end up with a nice, firm smooth dough.
5. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for 2 hours up to overnight.
6. When ready, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a fish cookie cutter, cut out shapes and place them on parchment lined cookie sheet or silpat. You can use any fine point instrument to make eyes and mouths if desired.
7. Back at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned. When done, remove from oven and allow to cool on racks on countertop.