To be honest, I could care less about homemade organic cheese crackers. I’ve HATED cheese crackers my whole life – yes I shouted that. Cedar, my son, loves cheese crackers though, so when I recently came across a recipe for whole wheat goldfish crackers I started plotting an organic version.
First a quick note about store-bought cheese crackers:
Buying store-bought crackers won’t mark you as an unfit parent. So far as commercial snack foods go, your kid could do worse than Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. Well, so long as you stay clear of the insane colored goldfish, which are chalk full of lame artificial colors. The original cheese goldfish aren’t all that terrible though. Not that they’re my first choice.
We usually buy Annie’s Homegrown Organic Cheddar Bunnies, because unlike Goldfish, Annie’s Bunnies are organic and GMO-free. On the downside, Annie’s Bunnies still have the same excess packaging that other snack crackers do. For me, zero packaging was one allure of these homemade cheese crackers.
Gather up your ingredients:
- 1 and 1/2 cups grated organic sharp cheddar cheese – you could use medium cheddar for a more mild taste if you like. In fact, if you’re making these for a younger kid, I would use medium. The sharp cheddar made for a super tangy cracker.
- 4 tablespoons organic butter. I used salted butter, since I had salted on hand, but I doubt it matters if you want to use unsalted butter.
- 1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup organic all-purpose flour. You could mix up the grains here – i.e. use more wheat, less white flour or add another grain. For example, next time I make them, I’m going to add some flax.
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder – the original recipe called for onion powder, which I don’t have around, so I used garlic. You can get creative with these crackers and use any old seasoning you fancy.
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Mixing the dough – by hand or via machine:
The original recipe says to combine all your ingredients in a food processor, “Running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about two minutes.” Finding myself, as usual, plum out of a food processor, I thought, maybe the blender on grind would work…. NOPE – don’t try it. My blender failed me miserably and I had to transfer all ingredients from said blender to a bowl.
If you don’t have a food processor, hand mixing will work just fine, as shown in the gallery below. I added all the ingredients to the bowl (or pot in my case), then used my handy dandy pastry blender to get the mix going. After it became somewhat crumbly (middle image below) I used my hands to blend the mix into dough.
Rolling, cutting shapes and baking your crackers:
- My dough felt fairly workable after I got it mixed, so I rolled it right away. If your dough is too soft and sticky to roll, try chilling it in the fridge for a while.
- Lightly flour a surface, grab your rolling pin and roll your dough out to 1/8 inch thick. I didn’t measure mine, and I think it was a little thick, but that’s fine. You’ll just get fewer crackers.
- Cut cracker shapes with whatever small cookie cutters you have around.
- Transfer crackers to an ungreased cookie sheet. My cookie sheets are a mess so I covered them with recycled aluminum foil before hand. Kind of a waste of foil, but my pans are burnt and black (must get new pans). You could also use a reusable nonstick silicone baking mat instead of foil.
- I poked holes in my crackers. Mainly because I was worried about them puffing up if I didn’t. I’m not a pro chef or anything, so you may not need the holes. I think the holes added a dash of cute to the crackers though.
- Bake your crackers at 350°F, for 12 to 15 minutes. I didn’t preheat – because, as I’ve said before, I never preheat (to save energy). The crackers turned out fine, so it’s your call, preheat or don’t.
- When crackers are just barely browned at their edges, get them out of the oven and onto a cooling rack.
- After cooling, the crackers can be stored in a reusable container.
Taste-wise these were a HUGE hit with son Cedar and boyfriend Dave. Because I was going to post about them, I tried one too – even though I can’t stand cheese crackers. I have to admit, so far as cheese crackers go, these were way less gross than usual. I won’t be munching them down all day long, but for me, even eating one whole cheese cracker is a huge step, so…
They were very tangy and the garlic improved the taste (IMO). Cedar asked for more right away and then said, “Make sure you pack these in my lunch tomorrow.” I’m guessing that, if you like cheese, you’ll love these crackers. Cedar’s only complaint is that these crackers are a little more greasy than store-bought. That might be because I mixed them by hand though. I didn’t feel like they were excessively greasy or anything.
Cost and time:
As for the time it took to make these – SUPER FAST and crazy easy. It took me about 20 minutes (baking time included) to get a pan of these mixed, cut and baked. Because there are very few ingredients, and you only need the one bowl, this is a great first cooking project for kids too.
I didn’t figure out exact costs, but I’m guessing the total cost for ingredients is cheaper than a box of store-bought organic cheddar crackers, which range from $2.50 to $4.00. Your biggest cost here is the cheese, but I’m sure it’s less than $2.50 worth.
Cookie cutter choices:
I could have hunted down a goldfish cookie cutter, but Cedar wouldn’t have cared much, so I simply used the smallest cookie cutters I had on hand, which happened to be stuff like butterflies, diamonds and circles.
I used an X cookie cutter because I wanted to see how alphabet crackers would look, and they were adorable, plus alphabet crackers would be fun for a toddler, but it’s a lot of work to cut all those letters. I’m sure I’ll make these crackers again, but I’m thinking I’ll just roll out the dough and slice shapes quickly with a stainless steel fluted pastry wheel. Unless I make these as a holiday gift (see below), then I’d take the time to cut shapes.
Yummy gift giving idea:
I put some of these crackers into a little mason jar for Cedar’s lunch and then realized how cute they looked in a jar. These are rich enough that they’d make a nice homemade holiday gift for friends and family. You could cut cute holiday shapes and then pair the crackers with some homemade organic hot cocoa mix or tea.
Let me know what the family thinks if you make these organic cheesy crackers.
More cooking with kid ideas:
- Organic Black Raspberry Chocolate Frozen Yogurt
- 18 Green & Healthy Cookbook Ideas
- Easy Homemade Bread – Homemade Organic Honey Oat Bread
- 50 Amazing Homemade Popsicle Recipes & Ideas
- Homemade Organic Raspberry Bars
- Eco-Friendly Cooking & Baking Tools for Kids
All images ©Jennifer Chait