Sometimes I finish store-bought food just to recreate it.
Over the course of a month, I made it my personal goal to finish the giant plastic jar of animal crackers we’d bought when I had discovered a homemade version. When the crackers were finally almost finished, my mom asked if she should buy another giant jar before I screamed “NO!” through my animal-cracker-filled mouth. I was going to make homemade animal crackers, and nothing was going to stop me.
…Except for the fact that I didn’t have small animal cookie cutters.
You see, after buying a 101 cookie cutter set, I naively assumed that I was set for life–that I would never need to buy other cookie cutters. Umm…yeah right. Within the span of a day I was already discovering new shapes and sizes I wanted. I’m kind of crazy and greedy when it comes to bakeware. It’s not fair.
So I did what any desperate semi-drop-out teenage food blogger would do. With a 25% discount coupon in hand, I excitedly bought a set of
“Noah’s Arc” cookie cutters! These are my first non-plastic, metal overpriced cookie cutters.
I found 2 very different animal cracker recipes and had been debating over which of the 2 I should use. I eventually decided on this one because this recipe seems much more similar to my giant jar of animal cracker’s ingredients with its use of nutmeg and I saw people complaining about the lack of sweetness for the other recipe.
I made them the very next morning after I bought the wondrous cookie cutters. It was exciting. The results were delicious. Not quite identical to animal crackers, but they made a yummy cookie/cracker :)
You can dunk these in marshmallow fluff, Nutella, peanut butter, honey, or anything else your heart desires. I personally think that since these are sweet enough, they’re absolutely perfect with green tea or any sort of tea.
I removed these cuties from the oven a little early because I was scared they would overbake, so they actually came out crunchy on the outside and a little soft on the inside since I didn’t leave them in there long enough. I actually think I preferred them on the chewy side, but it’s up to you. If you place them in the oven for a little longer, they’ll get crunchier so don’t worry about it.
Enjoy my preciouses!
Animal Crackers (adapted from Williams Sonoma)
Makes about 90 (very small) Animal Crackers
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I added a little more when I realized the dough was a little sticky. Also, I’m considering grinding 1 cup of rolled oats in place of flour for next time)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. nutmeg (I doubled this since I didn’t have the following ingredient)
- 1/8 tsp. mace (I omitted this and added an extra 1/8 tsp. nutmeg)
- 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used 1 stick + 1/2 cup of applesauce…next time I think I’ll use those low-fat butter spreads to make these even more healthy)
- 1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 white sugar and about 3 tablespoons of brown sugar)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Over a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and mace. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and beat until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Shape each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I refrigerated for about 45 minutes – 1 hour and didn’t even put it in plastic wrap and it was fine) or up to 2 days.
- Place each dough disk between 2 clean, large pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness (I think I made these a little thicker). If the dough cracks while rolling, let it stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes more.
- Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on a floured work surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.
- Preheat an oven to 350°F.
- Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Dip cookie cutters into flour just before using and cut out the shapes. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out more cookies.
- Freeze the baking sheets for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Bake the cookies until very light golden brown, 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool to room temperature.