If there’s one snack we cannot get enough of in this house, it’s goldfish. J/k, it’s ice cream, but goldfish come in a close second.
Therefore, we’re pretty excited about this savory cheddar cracker dough that comes together in a food processor, rolls out repeatedly without an issue, and holds its shape in the oven.
Belle (on the cusp of 3) has a really strong interest in letters right now, and we’re working them into virtually every type of play we do: song, puzzles, shadow puppets (we draw “big line down, little curve on the top, little curve on the bottom” for B), reading aloud, play dough (using stamps), drawing, magnets, and of course, baking. Because our play dough stamps give us letters no more than an inch tall, they are perfect tiny cookie cutters for this dough.
I set her up with half the dough rolled out, a rolling pin to roll out a bit more, and a limited set of stamps (like the letters in her name). Then she can stamp to her heart’s content, we can talk about the letters, she can erase by rerolling, I can swap out the available stamps to make sure we have a whole set of scrabble tiles (emphasizing the letters we’ll likely need to spell names together), and together we can pull the stamped crackers out to put on a cookie sheet.
Meanwhile, I don’t love when Buddy (age 1) eats Play Doh the product, but don’t mind him putting this dough in his mouth. They’re both non-toxic; it’s hardly an emergency if he does eat the product, but I prefer he eat different raw flour. Totally logical, I know. Anyway, while Belle rolls and stamps away, Buddy is squishing the pile of scraps. Yay fine motor strength! And they mostly aren’t stealing from each other. Yay sharing!
Later, when actually snacking on this, we get to reinforce the letters – spelling things on our plate, doing letter searches (“find an E!”), matching/sorting, and identifying what we have. Although Belle isn’t doing sight words yet, we could easily use these crackers to build on sight word flash cards, or we could separate vowels and consonants, or we could work on phonics and digraphs.
OR, because why not, use the number stamps and do early math.
OR, shapes and do early geometry.
OR, just eat.
Skills worked on:
- Early literacy or numeracy
- Fine motor: stamping, getting cracker dough out of stamps, squishing
- Gross motor: rolling dough
- Social-emotional: sharing
- Food processor (holding at least 4 cups)
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Mini cookie cutters or stamps, or a sharp knife and fork for a Cheez-it look
- Rolling pin
- 2-3 cookie sheets
Recipe (5 min prep, 20+ min cut, 15 min bake; yield: about 140 1″x1/2″ crackers):
This recipe was passed along by a friend, who swears by the kick from the chili and paprika. We are out of paprika, but our quarantine pantry thought chili and garlic was good, dry mustard and garlic was good, and cayenne pepper would work well for a kick. The dough doesn’t rise much or spread, so roll it thin (about 1/8″). Whole wheat flour should work too!
- 8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter, cubed
- 1 c flour
- A scant tsp salt
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
- 1 tsp paprika (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp water
- In a food processor, add 8 oz shredded cheese, 4 tbsp cubed butter, 1 c flour, a scant tsp salt, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1 tsp chili powder, and 1 tsp paprika.
- Pulse together until uniform, then add 2 tbsp of water and pulse again. Dough will stick together.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Roll out and cut. Reroll scraps indefinitely.
- Place crackers on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 15 min at 350°F.
- Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.
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