One of the problems I’ve had in doing the less processed things is that I haven’t had a good replacement for the ubiquitous gold fish crackers. The kids love these, and honestly, I like what an easy snack they are. For things like camp, school and preschool where the boys need to bring a snack and I haven’t prepared (shocking I know…) they’re far too easy to throw into the little baggie and go. But even the more “natural” and healthy varieties are loaded with sodium and preservatives or un-pronouncable ingredients.
So I was excited when I found a bunch of recipes online for homemade cheese crackers. There were a ton of different variations, but the basic ingredients for all of them were cheese, flour, and butter (which means these are not diet friendly – just less processed). There is also a wide variety of ways in which these were prepared. One site even had instructions for how to make your own mini cookie cutters using an aluminum can. While I applaud this mom, I’m not that ambitious, so my kids are stuck with the relatively easy to make cheez-it or square variety.
Cobbling some of these together and using whole wheat flour, here is what I used for homemade cheez-its…
8 oz block of extra sharp cheddar cheese (you can also use 2 cups of shredded cheese)
1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour (can also use whole wheat white flour or unbleached flour if you prefer)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 stick cold butter (cut into small pieces)
2 TB cold water
Break the cheese into a few big chunks and place in food processor. Pulse until cheese is in small crumbles (or add shredded cheese to processor). Add flour and spices and pulse until well blended. Then add butter and process until you get a grainy almost dough consistency. Then add the water and process until you have a good dough (just a few seconds). Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 min-1 hour).
Roll chilled dough out using a little flour to keep from sticking to 1/8 inch (the thinner you roll it the crispier the crackers) and using a pizza cutter cut into squares (notice my very not perfect squares). Then use a skewer to poke a hole in the center of each cracker. If you want a little saltier cracker, you can sprinkle some kosher salt onto the unbaked crackers.
Place on a cookie sheet about a half inch apart and bake for 10-12 minutes until just starting to brown. These will get cripsier as they cool, so don’t over bake them. Once cool, store them in an air tight container.
My kids like these and I’ve gotta say they are pretty tasty (again not diet friendly though). They are not particularly salty – especially when compared to the commercial variety. So if you prefer a saltier cracker you can add an additional 1/2 tsp of salt.