Summer’s A’go


Oh, hi there, it’s been a while. Okay, a lot of a while. On the plus side, however, my first year of college is out of the way, and I am basically halfway finished with my Sophomore year. Yay transfer credits! It’s been a long road, I’m telling you, but I’ve done a lot of growing and maturing, I’ve learned a lot and maybe even forgot some, but all I know is that my first year of officially ‘growing up’ is starting and grueling. But it is a journey I’m willing and wanting to make.

As long as I have a kitchen.

I am a big fan of Smitten Kitchen, I think that her posts, recipes, and photography are all simply splendiferous (yes that’s a word. A word that I made up. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it, wholeheartedly.) Anyway, I was just browsing around on her site (that random post button, it just calls!) and I noticed this I mean….WHAT. Homemade goldfish crackers? Abomination, blasphemy, why let go of the processed, smiley, happy, ready-to-be-eaten cheesy fish that I grew up loving! Too much!

I must make them mine.

Goldfish always were the exception to my aversion to cheese growing up. A lot of people were in certain disbelief of the fact that I never liked cheese growing up. I just didn’t. If it was on my plate, I avoided it. Only processed, American cheese (I know I know, gasp, ooh, ahh, ladida) was the kind that I turned to. Oh the delicious fake-ness that lay nestled in a small piece of cellophane, how I loved thee.

Anyway, I liked goldfish. I liked them a lot. I still do, and they contain cheddar. Well, I bought some sharp cheddar, just to be more ‘explorational’ and to up the flavor of a normally almost-bland cracker. The key, also, was to include onion powder. Next time, however, I might lower the amount, after a couple bites, there was just a bit too much of an onion flavor. Deb warns of this, and said that it was a like it/hate it kind of thing.

In a food processor, you combined the cheese, flour, onion powder, salt (I might add more next time, maybe to balance the onion-y flavor), and butter, and pulse until it forms a clump.

It actually took a little bit, and in the process, it warmed the dough.

So, Deb says to make the dough a disk and chill it until firm. I did so, it worked wonders.

I looked EVERYWHERE for a little goldfish cutter! Everywhere! Well, I did see the big ones, but I wanted a little one! Maybe next time! This time, an apple corer worked perfectly, it made the crackers about the same size as our familiar goldfish buddies. But they weren’t goldfish anymore! Now they were gold….things. Goldcircles, there we have it!

They were very easy and quick to bake, and they puffed up a bit, that was fun. They were crispy and flavorful, I would definitely make them again! Though, maybe next time, I might up the salt, to balance the onion, and maybe incorporate some other flavors. A dash of garlic powder? A touch of cayenne pepper to add some spice? The sky’s the limit!

Go for it! I’m home now, so there’s more to come!
Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers
I swapped most (but not all, because I copped out) of the all-purpose flour in the original recipe for whole wheat flour, suspecting that we wouldn’t miss a thing and indeed, we did not. Should you make these with a full amount whole wheat flour (or any other mix of flours), please let us know how it went in the comments as I’m sure many will be curious.

I’d intended to make the eyes with a wooden skewer but couldn’t find one and used a drill bit instead (hi, honey!). Go ahead and press right through the cracker with the point; the “docking” will keep the cracker from puffing too much. I used the end of a grapefruit knife (the only thing I could think of that ended in a curve) to make the mouth.

I spied onion powder on the ingredient list of the original crackers and included it because onions and cheddar are a fantastic combination. You’ll barely taste it, so if you wish get more of a hint of onion, use 1/4 teaspoon instead.

Finally, the higher amount will give you a familiar level of saltiness, i.e. almost as salty as the original cracker. Understandably, many will probably prefer the smaller amount.
Ingredients
Yield: About 100 1 1/4 inch goldfish

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups coarsely grated) sharp cheddar, orange if you can find one you like
4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 57 grams) butter
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces or 62 grams) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (1 1/8 ounces or 31 grams) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon table salt

Method
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about two minutes.

If the dough feels warm or worrisome-ly soft, wrap it in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes. This also makes it easier to transfer shapes once they are rolled out.

On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick. Form shapes with a cookie cutter, dipping it in flour from time to time to ensure a clean cut. Gently transfer crackers to an ungreased (though mine were parchment-lined, because they are in despicable shape) cookie sheet with a 1/2 inch between them. Bake the crackers on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are barely browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool.

Happy Baking!
Clara

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2 responses to “Summer’s A’go

  1. oh man. i can’t wait to make these. i saw them in smitten kitchen’s blog and somehow i didn’t get motivated enough, but you made me want to make them.
    i can’t wait to see some more of your drawings as well!

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