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Goldfish-Style Crackers: Make It or Buy It? (a blog series)

Goldfish-Style Crackers: Make It or Buy It? (a blog series)

What is it about Goldfish Crackers that makes them so fab, anyway? Let’s just go with it, though. If we figure out why we love them, maybe they’d lose their charm. One way or another, though, they should be in your life. Don’t have kids? You don’t need to have kids to like crackers! Come on, now. Since we know we need them, there’s just one question left:

Make ‘Em … or Buy ‘Em?* 

*check out the first two posts in this series: Gluten-free Soft Corn Tortillas & Gluten-free Gingersnap Cookies.

The make-it recipe for gluten-free Goldfish-style Crackers is on page 76 of my new cookbook, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy. It’s a super easy recipe, 30 minutes from start to finish. And it’s even quicker if, instead of making goldfish shapes (cute as they are), you just slice the dough into Cheez-It style squares.

Or cut out triangle shapes. I’m not sure if that’s much easier or quicker than cutting out goldfish shapes. It just seemed kind of cute. And sort of like the Schar brand cheese bites, the “Buy It” part of this little ditty, like you see below:

I compared the prices by weight, since the size of the crackers I made just was too difficult to compare to the size of the Schar crackers. I am trying to be as dispassionate as possible. I’m, like, a gluten-free scientist! Here’s my report: The Schar bites seem to have become less readily available then they used to be. I couldn’t find them at any of my local markets, and I couldn’t even find them at Whole Foods (and I went to 2 locations!). Maybe they’re more available by you, but I had to order them online. Which also means that I had to buy a 3-pack to get anything approaching an appropriate price. So even though it’s clearly easier to open up a package of crackers than it is to make crackers yourself from scratch (I do too know that!), it really wasn’t so “quick & easy” to get my hands on ’em. The quality of both the make-it version and the buy-it version is the same: really really good. Schar makes quality products. I don’t love every single one of them, and some of them can be kind of spendy, but they’re always good quality, and that means a lot to me. In fact, when I do decide to buy ready-made GF products, Schar is at the top of my list, in general.

Where it all breaks down for me with the Schar crackers, though, is taste. They just don’t taste like Goldfish Crackers (not that they said they did, but clearly that’s the niche they’re trying to fill). And they actually taste a little chalky to me, and only vaguely of cheese. The make-it version, with my recipe, is a dead ringer for the real thing—except for the freakish chemically-induced freshness that allows them to be forever crispy. And price is clearly a factor, too. You be the judge.

Make It or Buy It Conclusion:
I’d have to say, Make It. If you’re going to buy an easy gluten-free snack, I’d say buy crunchy gluten-free pretzels, like Snyder’s Gluten-Free variety (pretty well-priced, our family favorite for taste and texture). I just don’t really care for these Schar cheese bites (and yes, they’re a sidebar blog sponsor, but they had nothing to do with this post!). I wanted to like them. I’d been looking forward to trying them, even. Even so, I’m glad they’re there. I like having options. :)

Back tomorrow with more Gluten-Free Cookies! Tomorrow’s recipe isn’t a traditional Christmas cookie variety, but it’s no doubt a nostalgic fave. One I bet you’ve been missing! Can you guess what it is?


P.S. If you haven’t already, please pick up a copy of both of My Cookbooks! I can’t keep the blog going—the Make It or Buy It series and all—without your support!

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