Reinventing Goldfish Crackers

Who here has a kid that does NOT like Pepperidge Farms goldfish crackers? Anyone? Bueller? That's what I thought...

Those tasty little buggers (ahem, crackers) are totally addictive. Even I've had trouble stopping myself from eating the whole bag. Kids love them because they're small, they're shaped like fish AND they're super salty (about 10% of your child's daily intake of salt).

Many years ago I had a friend with a severe allergy to MSG (monosodium glutamate) - the stuff they add to Chinese food, which makes the flavour slightly addictive. She let me know that any ingredient labeled "autolyzed" or "hydrolyzed" was actually a form of MSG. Since then, I've made sure to read labels so as to avoid the sneaky way they get that stuff into our food. MSG has always made me extremely thirsty after meals, and often leaves me with a headache. 

Lo and behold, our tasty goldfish friends have autolyzed yeast listed as one of the ingredients (among 14 others!)

Goldfish crackers

This information, coupled with the fact that my daughter is now eating mainly gluten-free, I decided to look around for a healthier version of these crackers. This recipe is perfect! The crackers turned out tangy, salty (but not too salty!) and crispy. My girls actually declared that they were better than the store-bought version, which makes me happy :)

If you're hoping to try these yourself, here are a few tips:

1) You'll need a goldfish cracker cutting shape. You can find one on Amazon and a couple on Etsy, but my handy husband made me one with a little bit of sheet metal.

2) Even with a cutter, you will slowly die of boredom cutting one million tiny fish out of this dough. I eventually gave up and just used a pizza cutter to make square cheese crackers. I've decided that the little fish will be a special treat :)

3) If you're doing gluten free, follow the recipe to a tee. Beware that the dough is extremely crumbly, and you have to be careful how you transfer the fish onto your baking sheet. If gluten's not an issue for you, there are other recipes on our Pinterest board (I haven't tested any of these, so can't vouch for them!)

4) Stand guard of the oven - seriously! These little guys cook in about 5-6 minutes. 10 seconds too much and you'll end up with burnt fish.

5) Use a good quality cheese. I used an old cheddar with no added "modified milk ingredients." The flavour and texture will be so much better!

Happy Fishing!