I hadn't thought about the classic Goldfish jingle—you know, "the snack that smiles back... until you bite their heads off!"—in years. Then I opened up Casey Barber's new cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch. She quotes the less violent line, "I love fishes 'cause they're so delicious!" but the mere mention of the song was enough to send me into a YouTube tailspin searching frantically for clips to the commercial.
Alas, my meager search skills were not good enough to give the song another listen. (Can anyone find a video?) Good thing Barber has a bang-up recipe to make the crackers from scratch so I can satisfy the stomach pangs my memory sets off. Barber's Goldfish are just cheese-y enough to satisfy without tasting like grown-up crackers. Furthermore, they bake up crispy and delicate, perfect for snacking by the handful.
Why I picked this recipe: Goldfish are second only to my beloved White Cheddar Cheez-Its, so it would be a shame to skip such an easy recipe for the homemade version.
What worked: The flavor and texture were spot-on. I ate these by the handful.
What didn't: Be sure to keep an eye on the crackers as they bake. Smaller shapes will bake through in more like 10 minutes.
Suggested tweaks: Goldfish shaped cookie cutters are hard to find in stores, and I wasn't willing to shell out the 10 bucks for shipping for a $5 cutter on amazon. Still, these crackers work just fine with any small shape, or can be cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch squares with a sharp knife. You could also go fancy with these by picking up an aged cheddar like Cabot Clothbound.
Reprinted from Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats by Casey Barber. Copyright 2013. Published by Ulysses Press. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:makes 10 to 15 dozen crackers
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 1 cup (4 ounces) very finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) cake flour
- 1 tablespoon Cheddar cheese powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 cup whole or reduced-fat milk
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Stir the cheese, flours, Cheddar powder, salt, baking powder, and onion powder together in a large bowl until the cheese is evenly distributed and coated. Add the milk and vegetable oil and continue to stir with a spatula, then knead in the bowl with your hands until a cohesive dough forms. It will be crumbly at first, but continue to press and knead the dough until any dry bits are incorporated.
Transfer the dough to your work surface, cover with the upside-down bowl, and let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat liners.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Refrigerate one piece while you roll the second piece as thin as humanly possible, no more than 1/8 inch thick. (The thinner your dough, the crispier your crackers will be; thicker dough means puffier, more bread-like crackers.)
Stamp out cracker shapes with your cookie cutter of choice: a fish is the traditional shape, of course, but the crackers taste just as good as hearts, stars, circles, or small squares. Transfer the shapes to the prepared baking sheets.
Bake for approximately 15 minutes, until the crackers are crispy and just turning golden at the edges. The timing will vary according to the size and shape of your crackers. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
The crackers will soften when kept in an airtight container, so they’re best eaten within a day or two.