homemade goldfish crackers

i personally loved goldfish crackers... i think that's all i ate my first year of university. however, muchto my chagrin, they are not the healthiest snack on the shelf with high sodium, high calorie, no notable fibre & a nice dose of good old-fashioned MSG (monosodium glutamate).
not really wanting to give up my little fishy addiction, i really needed to ask... what's so bad about MSG? but they're too cute to be bad for you? isn't every cracker high in sodium? {although, for a quick snack fix kashi's 7 grain tlc's are pretty good} for such an innocent looking little fish, it is sadly one of those travesties of childhood marketing. MSG is a flavour enhancer and a preservative that has been tagged as an addictive neurotoxin. it hides in many foods under names like hydrolyzed proteins, autolyzed yeasts & protein concentrates. just when i thought protein was a good word! look out for this sneaky little additive in foods like canned tuna, vegetable broth, low fat yogurt & ice creams.
there seems to be some controversy on the impact of MSG on our health. some people blame serious neurological & physiological disorders on MSG, while other studies have said that "normal" consumption of MSG doesn't have an affect of the majority of the population. but one thing is for sure, MSG makes food yummy! and for kids, that usually means they get addicted & then cease to enjoy real food tastes anymore (myself as exhibit no. 1). i'm sure we've all either faced or overheard other parents say that all he/she eats is crackers and nothing else. so, with great sadness, i've put away the crackers or just give them in very small quantities/less frequency. until i found this tasty recipe as a substitute! when i found this recipe i almost jumped for joy knowing that davith wouldn't have to be deprived of one of the monumental memories of childhood... the fishy cracker!
here is the adapted recipe from foodbuzz:

  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour {i use multigrain or whole wheat}
  • 4 tablespoon(s) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounce(s) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (around 2 cups). Note: you can experiment with other cheeses. Some people have tried this and loved the results! {i used the oldest cheddar i could find - i generally try to limit dairy with my kids but with goat cheddar being super expensive, i just used old cheddar - the older the cheddar, the healthier it is}
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt {i used veggie salt or sea salt}
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder (note: this is optional since it isn’t part of the original recipe, but I decided to add anyway since I used it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  1. pulse the flour,onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper together using a food processor.
  2. add the butter and cheese, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. pulse in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade. remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes (I put it in the freezer for 20 minutes and in the fridge for 10) or up to 24 hours.
  4. bake the crackers: heat oven to 350 degrees F. line 2 baking pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness, using flour if necessary to prevent stickiness. cut out as many crackers as possible.
  5. to add character to the fish: break off an end from a side of a toothpick so it is blunt. use that point to make the goldfish eyes. to make the smile, lay the toothpick down on its side, press, and drag. if you try to use the toothpick point, it will ruin the smile.
  6. optional: refrigerate for another 15 minutes or so to make sure they won’t spread.
  7. place them on the prepared baking pans. bake until golden and crisp (13-18 minutes). transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  8. they are best when completely cooled and the next day in my opinion. store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
to make homemade fishy cracker cutter or any other fun shape your little one might like:

  • draw outline of goldfish on a piece of paper for reference. (mine was about an inch in length)
  • take an empty soda can and cut through it horizontally using a sharp knife.
  • using your scissors, cut a strip of metal from the soda can (it should be the circumference of the soda can).
  • straighten edges with scissors
  • using your goldfish paper template, determine how big the head will be and fold both sides outwards accordingly. don’t fold too harshly or the strip will break. if this happens, just cut off another strip and start again.
  • using your template, determine when to fold the tail. make sure the end of the tail overlaps at some point, and cut off the excess strip if necessary.
  • staple or tape or glue the ends of the tail together. (i used tape over the tail).
  • for more safety, you may put a protective layer of tape over the top part of the fish (the non-cookie cutting side where you’ll be applying the pressure) as a protection against the metal when cutting.

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