In the last couple of years I've been trying to cut packaged and processed foods from our diet. But I don't want Bug to miss out on yummy and cute things like animal crackers and goldfish crackers. I had been buying those super-overpriced organic bunny snack crackers, but Bug was pretty lukewarm about them. So one day I tried them- they taste sort of like cardboard! Bleck.
I also spent far too much time searching for a goldfish cracker cookie cutter. The only one out there that looks like the pepperidge farm one is seriously overpriced for a tiny cookie cutter, and I haven't yet gotten around to enacting the DIY goldfish cookie cutter directions that are out on the web. Clever, but I don't have any soda cans lying around, and haven't been inspired enough to dig one out of someone else's recycling bin.
In the meantime I fell for the super-cuteness of all the other mini-cookie cutters out there- how cute are those little frogs, turtles, dolphins, and dragonflies! I've decided that I don't need my cheese crackers to look like Pepperidge Farm goldfish afterall. Bug doesn't seem to mind either.
So here is my Animal Cracker recipe. It makes me feel good that it is full of good stuff like ground flax (high omega 3s!) and oatmeal flour. There is a lot of butter in it... but I don't think that milk-fat is a bad thing for kids, especially as a treat. This is an adaptation of the King Arthur flour recipe:
Omega-3 Animal Cracker Recipe
3/4 cup (12 tbsps) butter
1/8 cup organic cane sugar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup of oat flour (I grind up rolled oats in an old coffee grinder)
1/2 cup ground flax (I grind up flax seeds in the coffee grinder too!)
2 tbsp water
I make it in a food processor. Cream the butter and sugar, then add the honey and vanilla. Mix the salt, baking powder, ww flour, oat flour, and flax. Add to the food processor, and pulse until it resembles coarse, wet sand. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time and pulse. Empty the food processor bowl into a ziplock or onto a piece of plastic wrap, and press together into a ball. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll out to 3/8 inch thick on a floured surface, and cut with floured cookie cutters. Bake at 350 until the edges get a touch of gold on them.
Omega-3 Goldfish Recipe
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
In the food processor, grate the cheese into the bowl of the food processor using your grater attachment. Switch to the usual blade, add the butter, and blend until the large chunks are gone. Add the flour, flax, oat flour, and salt, pulse until it resembles coarse, wet sand. Add the water one tbsp at a time, and pulse until just combined. Empty the food processor bowl into a ziplock or onto a piece of plastic wrap, and press together into a ball. Chill for 30 minutes. Roll out to 3/8 inch thick on a floured surface, and cut with floured cookie cutters. Bake at 350 until the edges get a touch of gold on them.
They are totally fun to make too! Of course I get lots of help, some of which includes poking holes into my nicely rolled dough and tossing handfuls of flour on the floor. The cookie cutters themselves fascinate her, she loves picking out the cutter and handing it to me, and washing them up in the sink afterwards.
They are soooo yummy. And they make good play too.
It is pretty satisfying to start the week with full jars of yummy snack food to put into lunches!