Friday, January 29, 2016

Vegan Goldfish Crackers

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Growing up, Goldfish were one of my favorite snacks. My mom never bought a whole box of goldfish for me and my brothers to snack on, she didn't buy much snacks at all for that matter. But sometimes, when I was a very good girl, my mom would treat me to something special. Through the bustle of a typical Manhattan street, we would enter the DUANEread on 72nd street, and take the escalator to the first level; at this point my mom and I would separate, I would walk a well known route to the snack isle, snatch a small waxed carton of goldfish off the shelf, and find my mom to purchase my treat parcel. As a girl, I took pride in possession. It was actually more like an issue... I savored the knowledge of all the things that I still had.
The following was a typical thought process:
" I still have those Hello Kitty stickers,
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I still have that cookie,
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I still have my brothers daily crime log,
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 I still have my goldfish from this morning,"
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So in the end, Goldfish meant a lot to me.
I have been working on this vegan goldfish crackers recipe for a while now, and it's still a work in progress. Each time I make them, I twerk and adjust the ingredients a little. But this recipe has the best proportions, at least so far. After doing a little research (picking up a box of goldfish) I discovered that there is more to that distinct goldfish flavor than just a cheesy taste. The Active dry yeast is included not only for its rising properties, but it actually has a distinct flavor: it's nutty and faintly umami. The Ascorbic Acid gives that subtle twang that is so familiar to cheesy products. Celery salt creates a faint bitter undertone that compliments the Nutritional Yeast well.
For the Crackers
2 3/4 cups Unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Nutritional yeast flakes
2 teaspoons Aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Paprika
Dash Cayenne pepper ( optional)
1 teaspoon Onion powder
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon Active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon Vitamin C powder (Ascorbic acid)
2 Tablespoons Lemon juice
1/2 cup Olive, grape seed, or safflower oil
1/2 cup Ice cold water
The Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix together all dry ingredients thoroughly. Make a well in the center leaving about 1/2" of flour on bottom of bowl, add oil water and lemon juice. Mix the liquids together in the well, then begin stirring in the surrounding flour. Mix and mix until it forms a dough, DO NOT KNEAD! Let it rest for 25 - 30 minutes.
  2. Flatten the dough into a disc then use a rolling pin to roll it out into a large irregular shape.
  3. Cut the dough with a knife (or use a pizza slicer to make the job easier on yourself) into squares or triangles or diamonds or any shape you like.
  4. ORRR... you can use a cookie cutter to cut out cutesy little shapes like fishes or little people. And then you might as well be bored because your going to get bored if your not. It takes forever to pick up those little crackers, that's why I don't make little crackers I make big chunky squares and irregular shapes, (cuz, ain't nobody got time for that...) But here is a link for cute little fish cookie cutters here.
  5. Place the crackers on an oiled baking sheet and bake them for about 15-25 minutes. Remove them from the pan and allow them to cool before to bite into these cheesy, crunchy bites! 
Tip: The perimeter around baking pans is hotter than the interior. So don't place any crackers too near to the edges of the pans to prevent them from burning.

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