Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cheesy animal crackers

Blog, what blog.  Something made it up yesterday but only because I started adding pictures and for some reason I had only saved a draft of the recipe.  In all actuality, this recipe was typed in over a year ago when I checked this sneaky chef book out from the library.  Fast forward a year, and I checked it out again and actually made the recipe.
I've wanted to try making my own crackers and over the course of the year have seen a lot of different recipes.  I chose this recipe because it actually used real cheese, not powdered.  I worried about how that would work into a dough, but thought it would have better flavor than a powdered cheese.  I'm pretty sure I was right.  Of course I'm sure it also helped that I had some tasty Parmigiano Reggiano and not the cheaper Parmesan.
These were devoured in a very short time.  Not sure if they were worth the work for as quick as they were eaten.  However, they would be lots quicker using the method I wrote about at the end of the recipe.  I could double the batch and make them that way.
I flipped some upside down to show both sides.  You can see they
are made with actual cheese.  YUM!

  • 1/3 cup chickpea puree (exactly what it sounds like - puree a can of rinsed and drained chick peas using a Tablespoons or 2 of water if necessary. I like my immersion blender for this task.)
  • 1/2 cup grated  cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (not sure if I used this today)
  • 1/3 cup flour blend (equal parts white flour, wheat flour, and wheat germ in the book - use whatever blend you like.  I used the books blend this day, but wouldn't hesitate to make them again using a blend of any flours ie, wheat, spelt, barley, or brown rice, spelt, oat....)
  • small animal shaped cookie cutters - I got some of these, but the kids wanted to make them using some cute mini Christmas shapes I also bought
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment or spray with cooking oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine chickpea puree with cheeses, oil, salt, onion powder, and paprika.  Add flour blend and mix until well blended.  Remove from bowl and shape into a flattened ball using hands.  If dough is too crumbly add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until it holds together.
  3. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 min.
  4. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature and roll out onto a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin until about 1/16 inch thin.  Cut out fun shapes using cookie cutters.  Place on prepared cookie sheets and bake until golden brown on the edges, about 10-12 minutes, peeking occasionally to make sure they are not burning.  Transfer to a rack to cool.
As an easier option, just roll them directly on parchment, cut into 1 inch squares with a pizza cutter, poke a hole in the center with a tooth pick, transfer the parchment to the cookie sheet and bake.  WAY EASIER than the cookie cutter method.  However, the kids enjoyed playing with the cookie cutters.  We made it through about 1/2-2/3 of the batch cut with cookie cutters and finished the rest in just squares.  
Here are the squares.  You can tell I did them quickly and didn't pay
close attention to thickness.  The edges were a bit thinner and are a bit toasty.

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