Whole Wheat Cheese Crackers

Summer is here! With it comes its usual promise of soaring temperatures that will have one cranking up the a/c. I won't be complaining though. Our summer also brings sunshine, blue skies, and a thousand excuses to pack your bags and head out on a seaside jaunt - where the promise of white sand and crystal water beckons. And the beaches aren't the only draw of summer on our islands. There are the mountains too for those who wish to escape a bit of the heat. And anywhere in between. The arrival of summer just sets everyone's (no matter the age) thoughts to vacation, no matter what the destination.

We will be leaving a today for our first summer trip of the season. Nowhere far or fancy, just a drive out of the city to a friend's place near the sea. This is one of little C's first trips and I am quite excited. Although traveling with a child is a whole different ballgame (gone are the days when all I needed was a backpack!), it carries a whole new set of pleasures and surprises. Not the least being the feeling that you are experiencing even the little things for the first time through the eyes of a child.

I bookmarked this recipe from the awesome Smitten Kitchen as soon as I saw it. I am always on the look out for homemade (and healthier) versions of snacks for the little one. This fit the bill to a T...and it makes a great travel snack as well -- easy to pack and cart around and great to have on the go!

Whole Wheat Cheese Crackers
(Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers from the Smitten Kitchen -- if you've got the fish mold!)

6 ounces cheddar cheese (about 1 1/2 cups coarsely grated -- I used half cheddar and half mimolette)
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon salt (you can use up to 1/4 teaspoon but I thought 1/8 was salty enough for me)

- Process all the ingredients in a food processor for about 2 minutes until the dough forms into a ball or until you can form the pieces into a ball (mine never really formed into a ball until I "assisted" it with my hands).
- Divide the dough into two discs, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30-45 minutes --- a must in our summer heat!
- Take one of the dough discs out and roll to a thickness of 1/8 inch (I like to roll the dough out between two pieces of parchment). Cut the crackers out with your cookie cutter (you can dip the cookie cutter in some flour to ensure a clean cut) and transfer gently to a parchment lined cookie sheet with 1/2 inch of space in between them.
- Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for about 12-15 minutes. Remove and cool the crackers on a wire rack. Repeat with the second dough disc.

Sadly, I do not have, now could I find locally (yet!), the adorably tiny fish cookie cutter Deb has. Instead I used the smallest of my round cutters and this work fine for now (I will definitely be on the hunt for cuter cutters soon!). I also used a mix of cheddar and mimolette cheese as I couldn't find orange cheddar and the mimolette's bright orange color, and delicious taste and texture (it was a relatively young one), seemed perfectly acceptable to me as a replacement.

The crackers are lovely -- cheesy and crisp. Despite most of the flour being whole wheat, the crackers do not have a very overtly wheaty taste, just a slight earthiness that I think is perfect with the cheese. They got the thumbs up from both little and big C's, the former munching on two in a row and the latter declaring that it would go well with a glass of wine (I agree!).

I must leave you now to start preparing for our trip (so many things not to forget!), but I didn't want to go without sharing this with you just in case you were also looking for something tasty and healthful (and lovingly homemade) to take on your road trips this summer :)