I’m just gonna put it out there. I’m awkward with kids. I mean, I’m probably not as awkward as I think I am, but in my head, no one can be more awkward. So when I was invited to a 2 year old’s birthday party, I had a slight panic attack. Do I shake the kid’s hand?! (No, said my sister). Do I bring a present?! (Of course, said my mom). Do I just hand the gift to the kid when I get there?! (Do you know how little a 2 year old’s hands are, said my dad). So I prepped and rehearsed and was semi ready. But I also knew that I would have to do something that would impress the adults a bit more, because my interaction with the children just wasn’t going to cut it.
So I decided to make homemade goldfish crackers! What could be better – a nostalgic, kid-friendly treat that’s made at home! The other guests would be so impressed! I had it in the bag. And that’s when there was a fire in my oven. I can’t tell you how it happened, but all I know was all of a sudden, there was so much smoke in my apartment that I couldn’t even find the oven door. My little gold fishies ended up looking like this:
Not impressive. The one batch that did survive was delicious. Like little fish-shaped cheese pastries. But I didn’t have enough to take to the party. When the smoke cleared and the fire department left, I had no choice but to buy a baked good item in shame and take myself over to the party. Turns out that kids are not that hard to please. Laugh at them and they laugh back. Make a funny face and you’re in. The adults on the other hand, I owe them some homemade goldfish crackers.
Homemade Goldfish Crackers (slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups shredded orange sharp cheddar
4 tablespoons butter, cold is fine, cut into cubes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor, running the machine until the dough forms a ball, about two minutes. You can also do this by hand, like I did, if your food processor has temporarily decided to shut down, by cutting in the butter with a fork and kneading the dough until it comes together.
Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350.
On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out 1/8-inch thick. Cut out shapes with cookie cutter, dipped in flour. If you’re making goldfish, take a skewer and poke out an “eye” (this sounds violent – it’s really not), and with a toothpick, carve out a little smile. Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Hope for no fires, and bake for 12 minutes, or until they are ever-so-slightly browned on the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.