Many of you may not know that I have a “scale of difficulty” for baking.
I think in the world of gluten free baking, the scale of labor intensive -ness goes something like this:
1) easy- yeast free muffins/pancakes
2) takes (waiting) time but easy- yeast breads
3) More labor intensive but not difficult- tortillas
4) Labor intensive, a little tricky, requires patience-Pie crust
(requires chilling dough, rolling out & repairing crust)
5) Labor intensive,fiddley-sugar cookies
(requires chilling dough, rolling out & cutting out individual pieces)
6) Labor intensive, homemade crackers
(requires chilling dough, rolling out, cutting in shapes, adding details- also many pans in and out of oven, unless you make small
7)SUPER Labor intensive, requires insane willpower- GF filo dough (a la Rebecca Reilly)
For reference, I would put cakes, crumpets and rolls at 1.5 and bagels at 3.5. Personally, I start balking at around difficulty level 4… I will do it, but must have lots of time for “baking play” and some seriously strong motivation.
You will note that homemade gluten free crackers rate a 6 on the scale, two points above my point of resistance. Pie crust is generally a 4. Well, luckily, I find Chebe dough so easy to work with that when I make recipes using it, I have to knock things down a point or so on the scale. I will cheerfully roll out dough for perogies/ knishes out of Chebe like nobody’s business, because it’s extremely supple and forgiving dough that is practically fun to work with. It’s even a weekday dish, rather than just a weekend, because I find it so easy to work with. But you won’t find me making pie out of normal pie crust on the weekday, no sir. It’s just too much hassle! Given this, yesterday when I felt the urge to bake, I found myself doing one of the more unlikely baking projects- making Chebe goldfish crackers! I make crackers extremely rarely, but they are worth the effort when I finally do it. My favorites are Rebecca Reilly’s gluten free graham crackers and Bette Hagman’s various crackers, but don’t ask me the last time I made them. Anyway, I kept hearing people say they made crackers out of chebe, and I was finally so curious I had to try it for myself. I took a recipe from Chebe’s recipe page and adapted it slightly, adding garlic powder for additional flavor, and dusting the baking tin with cornmeal for additional crunch and to make it easier to remove the crackers from the pan. They were surprisingly easy to make, and my fish cookie cutter worked very well, although it created more of a “whale” sized cracker rather than a little fish sized cracker. (I can’t imagine making hundreds of little fish crackers, I think I’d go buggy!) I only made up half of the recipe, and the other half of the dough is reserved in my refrigerator (I have an idea about tart cups, hmmm…), but I had a very nice little stack of crackers when I was done. The crackers themselves were very tasty, with the characteristic tapioca chebe flavor and good crunch and flavor. Like most Chebe products, unless you bake them until really crispy, they would be best reheated in the oven like chebe pizza or knishes). So, if you’re feeling slightly ambitious in the kitchen and want some cheesy gluten free crackers with more personality than little bland circles, why not make your own fish or whale shaped crackers? Or, how about seasonal crackers- I think pumpkin, bats, goblins and ghost crackers would be pretty darned cute, myself.
Here’s some other recipes I’ve created using Chebe
Gluten Free Cheeese Cracker Recipe: Fishies
1 Package Chebe Bread Mix
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
Set oven to 375 F.
Combine Chebe bread mix with oil and eggs. Mix in cheese and garlic, and add water a little bit at a time. Knead dough until it is thoroughly mixed and forms a smooth ball.
Cut open a large Ziploc bag (gallon size) at the seams, leaving the bottom seam parallel to the opening intact. Place half your dough inside the ziploc bag, making sure a layer of plastic is between you and your rolling pin. Roll dough out carefully to about the same thickness as pie crust- thin! Take any cute cookie cutters you have (I used fish shaped ones) and cut out your crackers.
Dust a large, light colored cookie sheet (not the kind with air pockets) with cornmeal (if you want) and place your crackers on the sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes and then carefully turn them over using a very sharp metal spatula. Be careful of any cracker edges that have turned brown, as they will be very brittle. Bake for 5 more minutes or until golden on both sides and they have reached your desired texture. Remove from oven and enjoy your own Gluten Free Goldfish Crackers!