Friday, June 3, 2011

Pesto Animal Crackers

I am ridiculously excited about the farm animal cookie cutters I received as a birthday gift. Take a look:
Why did I want farm animal cookie cutters, you ask? Why, to make gluten free, allergy-friendly animal crackers, of course!

Crackers are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make. They are quick, easy, nearly impossible to mess up, and taste amazing. I don't think I've made two batches that have come out the same yet, but they have all been delicious. Who knew homemade crackers taste so much better than store-bought? Making your own is healthier, and a lot less expensive (especially if you are looking at gourmet or gluten-free crackers). Not to mention, you can make custom flavors, and of course, only use ingredients you tolerate. What's not to love?

This is the second batch of crackers I've made using leftover pesto. Mmmm. Delicious. I might have to start making pesto just to make crackers. I think pesto crackers are my favorite so far.

Pesto Animal Crackers (Gluten Free)

1.5 cups of your preferred gluten free flour mix (I used this recipe)
1 Tbsp organic sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp light olive oil (less if you use more pesto)
Approximately 1/4 cup leftover pesto (I used the pesto left over from this recipe)
5 Tbsp filtered water
*Note: I forgot this time, but next time I will add 1tsp guar gum to this recipe to help the crackers hold together a little better

Add gluten free flour mix, sugar, sea salt, and baking powder to food processor fitted with the "S" blade.  Pulse a few times until mixed. 

Add the pesto and pulse again.

While the food processor is running (I use the "dough" setting on mine), add the olive oil through the chute at the top. Once the olive oil is mixed into the flour mixture, with the food processor still running, start adding the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture starts forming a dough ball. The amount of water varies by each batch of cracker, and in this recipe it will also depend on how much pesto you have added. You are looking for a dough ball that sticks together and will hold together when you roll it out- but you don't want too much water because the dough will become impossibly sticky and difficult to roll out without sticking to everything.

You will end up with a ball of dough. Divide this ball in half. Put half back in the food processor with a towel over the top to prevent it from drying out. 

Use two sheets of parchment paper to roll out your dough. Place the first sheet on the counter and flatten the ball of dough on top of it. 

Lay the second piece of parchment paper on top of the flattened dough. Roll out the dough between the two sheets of parchment paper.
The secret to crispy crackers is to roll the dough very thin.
Peel away the top sheet of parchment paper (save it to roll out the second half of the dough) and get out your chosen cookie cutters. Or a pastry wheel. Or a pizza wheel. Or a knife. Or an empty tin can. Whatever you like. 

Did I mention how enamored I am with my new cookie cutters?
Start cutting your shapes.
Once you have cut your crackers, slide the entire sheet of parchment paper, with the cracker dough on top, onto a baking sheet.

Repeat with the second ball of dough.

Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes. When they are done, they will look like this:
Closer view: 
Once they have cooled, you can break them out:
And eat the crumbs- you know, all those pieces from the middle. No one will know;)
We had a few injuries: 
Gluten-free... quackers?
And did I mention that making your own crackers is really cheep?
Cheep cheep cheep :)

p.s. you can get your own set of Farm Animal cookie cutters here (they have other animals too... so cute... don't be surprised if you see a future recipe for marine animal seaweed snacks, heehee)

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