Monday, July 23, 2012

Homemade Cheddar Crackers (aka bunnies or goldfish)

After coming across this article by, I was crushed.
 I had no idea the vegetable oils used in most crackers turn rancid and require processing to make them taste edible. That really bothers me! Why can't they just use butter, or an oil like coconut, that can withstand high temperatures? I suppose it's because simple, pure butter-based crackers aren't meant to be packaged and put in a box to sit on shelves for months. The preservatives are there for a reason, I just hate having to injest them. And the yeast extract the bunnies contain? Another fancy word for Monosodium Glutamate, the flavor enhancer that tricks our brain into craving more of the there any boxed or canned product out there that doesn't contain a form of free glutamic acid?? So I concocted my own version of a cheddar bunny, without all the added junk.

1 lb. chunk of the sharpest cheddar cheese you can find, shredded or cut into small chunks. (I prefer to shred cheese myself, since learning the pre-shredded kind contains the anti-caking agent cellulose, a form of wood fiber! Eww.)
2c. whole wheat flour
1 stick + 2T. unsalted butter
2t. sea salt
2t. garlic powder
2t. onion powder
1/2t. fresh ground black pepper
4T. cold water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Put all ingredients besides the water into your food processor. Combine until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add each tablespoon of water seperately, pulsing between each to combine. I dumped the contents of my Cuisinart onto my wax paper-covered countertop, and smushed it all together to form a log. I then wrapped it up and chilled it for a half hour. After that, I placed it back on the wax paper and carefully rolled it out to about 1/4" thickness. I had a flower shaped cookie cutter from my daughter's first birthday party (it was a springtime garden theme) that I used to cut out the shapes for the crackers. NOTE: On some of them I sliced the petals apart so they almost looked like little fish. I recommend doing that to all of them; the ones I left as whole flowers turned out too big. The amount of baking time is accurate for doing so- 25 minutes on wax paper-covered cookie sheets. When they were done baking, I tranferred the crackers to a wire rack to cool before storing them in a paper bag. The crispier the cracker gets without burning it, the more flavorful it is. I like the way the smaller "petal" crackers bake up versus the whole flower cracker, the bigger ones could have used another five minutes or so in the oven.


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