If I haven’t already tempted you to buy those cute little fruit and vegetable cutouts I used in my Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus recipe, I’m going to try again!
This time, I used them for something different…not fruit or vegetable related. I made tiny Vegan Pepperjack Cheese Crackers that are a “copycat” (and much healthier version) of the famous little fish-shaped cheese crackers that kids love so much.
The first time I ever made these was about 6 years ago for my oldest son and the only small cookie cutter I had at the time was a tiny pumpkin cutter which was kind of strange to use year-round but went well with the orange-ish colored dough! lol Of course, you can use any shape of cutter you’d like, but the smaller the better.
However, in an attempt to persuade you to try this healthier version, let’s look at the ingredients in the original “Goldfish Crackers”:
Ingredient List: MADE WITH SMILES AND WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED WHEAT FLOUR (FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE [VITAMIN B1], RIBOFLAVIN [VITAMIN B2], FOLIC ACID), CHEDDAR CHEESE (CULTURED MILK, SALT, ENZYMES, ANNATTO), VEGETABLE OILS (CANOLA, SUNFLOWER AND/OR SOYBEAN), CONTAINS 2 PERCENT OR LESS OF: SALT, AUTOLYZED YEAST, YEAST, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE), PAPRIKA, SPICES, DEHYDRATED ONIONS. (source)
While there are lots of other foods out there that are worse to eat than this, there are a few major ingredients to be concerned with:
- Canola, Sunflower and Soybean Oil - well known and documented GMO ingredients. Unless it is labeled “organic” or is labeled “non-GMO Project Verified”, we can only assume it’s made from GMO products.
- Spices – a sneaky way for companies to hide ingredients they don’t want you to know about
- Salt – processed, toxic iodized salt
- Cultured Milk – if it’s not organic, it’s from cows that have been given antibiotics, hormones, fed GMO grains, etc.
- Autolyzed Yeast – another name for MSG. You do not want to be eating this or worse serve it to your children (source)
- The “Pepperidge Farms Cheddar Goldfish” product is a brand of ”Campbell’s Food Service” which contributed $179,545 to oppose the labeling of foods containing GMO’s (source)
There’s simply no reason to buy a product with GMO’s, MSG and toxic salt from a company that doesn’t want you to know these bad ingredients are in the foods you buy from them.
So….here is a recipe with only 4 ingredients that you can control, feel good about making and serving to your family.
Tip #1: Since oven temperatures and times can vary, you’ll want to keep an eye on them and make sure they bake long enough to have a crispy crunch to them like the original crackers and not a soft, cookie-type texture. But, at the same time, making sure you don’t overcook or burn them.
Tip #2: You can use whatever shape cookie cutters you prefer, but the smaller the better. I like the latest set I’ve purchased, the stainless steel veggie and fruit cutters, but if you really want to be authentic, I found a really cute copper fish cutter that you could use to make fish shaped crackers.
Tip #3: I made these with the Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds, which is a spicy vegan cheese and it gives them a little spice. I used this version instead of adding any other type of pepper. If you don’t like the spicy flavor, just use the Daiya Cheddar Shreds.
Tip #4: Lastly, if you don’t need this recipe to be vegan, it can easily be converted to a non-vegan recipe (which is what the original recipe was) by substituting the vegan butter for organic pasture butter and organic cheddar cheese. The amount of cheese to substitute would be 2 cups/227g/8 oz. If you use dairy, please make sure you are using the organic versions