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Goldfish Crackers You Can Make At Home!

October 19, 2011

When you were a kid, didn’t you just love goldfish crackers?  That whole Lay’s chip slogan of “betcha can’t eat just one”, which was later adopted by Pringles, doesn’t hold a flame to goldfish crackers.  Can you really only eat one goldfish?  It’s impossible, I say!  I think my husband would agree with that statement too.  As a kid, I’d go to Costco and get one of those big huge containers of goldfish and just have a snack filled afternoon.

As an adult, I still love goldfish.  Whenever they go on sale at the grocery store, I tend to stock up on them.  My husband loves goldfish too, maybe even more than me.  They are just great snacks to have around when you just need a hit of something.  They are cheesy and salty and just plain good.

So, a couple of weeks back, I came across a blog post where the lady had made goldfish crackers at home!  I couldn’t believe it.  Would it really be that easy to make?  I had to give it a try and see for myself.  To my surprise, my husband was equally as enthusiastic about trying this out (I told you goldfish were addictive!).

We realized in looking at the ingredient list that this was going to be really simple to make.  We already had all the necessary ingredients at home.  The recipe calls for shredded cheese, butter, flour, salt and cold water.  I know, you’re thinking: that’s it?  Yes, that’s really it.  Those 5 simple ingredients!  Ingredients that everyone probably already has in their house!

Ok, the first step in the process was to make goldfish cookie cutters.  Since goldfish are tiny, a normal cookie cutter wouldn’t work – unless you were intending to just make a few huge goldfish cookies.  An easy remedy to the lack of an adequate cookie cutter problem is to make your own, of course.

Take a rinsed out, empty aluminium can and cut off the tops and the bottom of the can.  Now cut about 3/4″ inch strips from the aluminium.

You can now shape your aluminium strips into any shape you want.  Use some clear packing tape to tape the ends together so that the strips stay in the shape you make them.  I chose to make 5 different designs: my husband made a 5-pointed star and larger goldfish, I made a smaller goldfish, a heart, and an attempt at making Pac-Man that didn’t turn out so well.  After using these makeshift cookie cutters, it turned out that the smaller fish and heart worked out the best.  The 5-pointed star was pretty, but it was difficult to cut the dough and the Pac-Man and larger fish cutters just didn’t work as well, but it could have been a design flaw or user error!

Now you’re ready to make the dough.  First, you need to shred some cheese.  My preference is cheddar cheese; either sharp cheddar or extra sharp cheddar.  Gives the goldfish that extra bite.  The goldfish will taste better if you shred the cheese yourself from the block rather than using a bag of already shredded cheese.  The difference is that with cheese you buy from the store already shredded in the bag, they add a waxy substance to the cheese to keep it nice and fresh, which isn’t always the best thing for your baking needs.  If you use a block of cheese and shred it yourself, you don’t have to worry about that.  If you’re too lazy to shred the cheese by hand like my husband and I, we just used the shredding attachment on our food processor to do the work.  Put in whole chunks of cheese, send it through the feed tube and it comes out all shredded.  For this project, you’re going to need to use the food processor anyways, so why not use it to help you shred the cheese as well?

Now you’ve got yourself a glorious pile of shredded cheese!  Yay!  Please, refrain yourself from eating the whole bowl before you even get to making the dough!  Or better yet, shred some extra cheese so that you can eat some and use the rest to make the dough.

At this point, you want to add flour, salt and butter to the shredded cheese in the food processor.  You’ll want to make sure that your butter is cold.  Room temperature butter won’t make your dough turn out the consistency you need it to be, and when you’re working the dough with your hands, you’ll just end up with buttery, greasy hands.  You’ll want to take your cold butter and cut them into cubes to help them blend in the food processor.

Now pulse the food processor gently until the butter breaks up and the shredded cheese and flour start to combine.  You want to end up with something that looks to be the consistency of sand; tiny granules without any large clumps.

Next, you’ll want to add water to the sand mixture, but do it slowly; one tablespoon at a time.  Add in some water, then continue pulsing.  Watch as the dough starts to come together.  Add a second tablespoon of water and it’s like magic; the sand granules seize up and you instantly have a nice ball of cheesy dough!

At this point, you’re done with the food processor.  You’ll want to dump your cheese dough onto a floured surface and gently knead the dough; forming it into a nice tidy package.

Take the package of dough, and wrap it in some plastic wrap and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes before you do anything else to it.

Once the dough has rested, take it out of the plastic package, and put it back on a floured surface.  Take out your handy-dandy rolling pin, and start rolling the dough out.  Here’s the key.  You want to roll it to about a 1/4 to 1/2″ thick.  Too thick and you won’t have goldfish crackers because they will poof too much in the oven giving you a very doughy consistency rather than a crunchy cracker (though it will still taste fine).  Too thin and they will burn, especially on the bottom before they become crackers.

Now it’s time to take out the shapes you cut out of the aluminium strips earlier and start cutting the dough.  At this point, the task becomes a bit tedious.  You have a lot of dough, and many tiny cutters.  It is a bit time-consuming.  This is where my husband lost his patience and left me to do the cutting and baking because he couldn’t deal with it.  Here’s where I also found out that the more simplistic your cookie cutter shape, the easier it is to cut the dough and get it out of the cookie cutter (hence with the 5-pointed start was difficult, but the heart shape was a cinch!).

Once you’ve cut out your shapes, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat with your cut out shapes.

Pre-heat your oven.  Once it’s ready, pop these bad boys into the oven for 15-20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your dough), and watch them rise.  They actually do poof a little once cooked.  Be careful though, there’s a fine line between a nicely cooked cracker, and one that begins to burn on the bottom, especially when each time you roll out a section of dough, it’s not even!  Oops!

You’ll start to smell the goldfish cooking in the oven even before they are done.  They smell super good.  Careful when you take them out of the oven because they’ll be hot.  Let them cool slightly.  Transfer them to a bowl and serve them as a snack while you’re watching a football game!  If you’ve found that you’ve made too much dough, no worries, you can wrap the excess dough in plastic wrap and store it in your refrigerator.  When you take it out the next day, it’ll probably be hard as a rock because the butter in the dough has solidified.  Not to worry.  Just let it sit out on the counter, still wrapped in the plastic wrap, for a little bit until the dough comes back to room temperature.  It’ll become pliable and rollable in no time and you’ll be able to make a whole new batch of goldfish crackers to enjoy!

One, two, three easy as pie — err, ugh goldfish crackers!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Amanda permalink
    October 21, 2011 4:27 pm

    I’m not a goldfish eater – I love Cheez-Its! Especially the slightly burned ones. I will search through the whole box for the burned ones and I have even considered baking them in my oven to burn them a bit. Maybe making my own would be the perfect solution. Intriguing. I would never think of this as something to make at home.

    • October 21, 2011 4:49 pm

      You know, I never ever thought it was possible to make your own crackers at home. But it sounds like this might be a perfect solution for you, then you get them to the doneness that you want. It’s really fun to make, and super simple!

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