From the time that L was about 1 until she turned 2, I waged a fierce battle with Goldfish crackers. They seemed to appear everywhere that we went and she loved them, with all of their delicious salty flavor. I was constantly frustrated that my efforts to feed her healthy snacks—with a focus on fruits, vegetables, and less refined foods—was being undermined at every turn. And I know it probably sounds silly that I cared so much, but I so desperately wanted to fill her tummy with more nutritious foods.
But you know what? There was almost nothing I could do about it when we were out of the house. Linden is, and always has been, a very (very) strong willed child. Telling her that she can’t have something (or that she has to do something else) never ever works out well and this is especially true in settings where there are other kids and food involved. At home, we offer choices to give her a say in her day, but once Goldfish appeared, there was no stopping her.
I gradually learned to choose my battles and to offer her a homemade cheese cracker so at least I could feel like I was balancing things out a bit. I wanted her to know what a cracker tasted like that wasn’t so high in sodium. I wanted her to taste real cheese. And I wanted her to know that I cared about her health.
Who knows what she learned from my many batches of cheese crackers during that year but I do know that she ate every last one with gusto and they reassured me that her out of the house Goldfish eating wasn’t destroying her taste buds. I’ve relaxed a bit since then (which I am sure is good for my general stress level!), but these crackers have remained a regular snack in our house.
One note: Be sure to resist the urge to under bake these crackers—they need to go until they are golden brown in order to be crunchy. Remove ones that brown faster than others as needed and try to get them as thin as you can to help with the crunchiness goal.
Cheesy Oat Crackers
With the help of a food processor, you can make homemade cheese crackers rich in whole grains and lower in added salt.
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 18 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Yield: about 2 dozen crackers
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tablepsoons cold butter, diced
- 1 large egg
- Add the oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and rosemary to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to grind and blend. Add the milk, cheese and butter and pulse a few times. Add the egg and pulse just until dough comes together.
- Pour dough into a zip top plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Remove dough from bag, form into a disc, and place the between two large sheets of parchment paper. Roll out until 1/8-inch thick. Cut with 1- or 1 1/2-inch cookie cutters dusted with flour. Place on lined baking sheet. Re-roll and cut remaining dough until completed.
- Bake 18-20 minutes or until crackers are golden. (Keep an eye on them past 18 since the edges can brown quickly.) Cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.
Omit the rosemary or try thyme.
Sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds before baking.