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Cheesy animal crackers

Instead of cooking up a storm for the spring holidays this week, I decided to make crackers. I came to this decision partly because I have these really cute animal cookie cutters that I was dying to use, and partly because I’ve never made crackers before. It seems unlikely, but it’s the truth. They just seem like one of those things that I always buy, and don’t think twice about. Sometimes it’s easier to just pluck items off the grocery store shelf and toss them into the cart. However, after a recent visit with my nephew – who loves animal crackers – I started to think about what really goes into making the snack food. I figured that they probably weren’t that hard to make; I was right. And cutting out the animals was a blast. You can even make the animal noises as you do so. Happy spring!

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (you can actually add up to three cups of cheese, or omit it all together)

In a large bowl, mix the first six (dry) ingredients together. In a separate, smaller bowl, beat the egg and olive oil together. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until it forms a course meal. Add the cheese. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until you can form a ball with the dough. Divide the dough in half, and wrap both balls in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line or grease two baking sheets (or use a baking stone). On a floured surface, roll out one piece of dough, until it is 1/8 inch thick (mine were a little thicker, but the thinner the dough, the crispier the cracker. I’m definitely making mine thinner next time). Lightly prick the flat dough all over with a fork. If you’d like to add toppings, lightly brush the dough with water and sprinkle with salt, pepper, seeds, etc. Use cookie cutters to form shapes (or just cut out squares, rectangles, etc), and then bake for 8-20 minutes, depending on the size of the cracker (the smaller crackers will take less time to bake). Repeat with the other ball of dough.

Recipe from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon.

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