These Animal Crackers are so simple and delicious, you’ll want to bake them for your kids every week! And I have a hunch that they’ll bring you right back to your childhood as well.
One of the first store-bought treats I recall my mom giving my brother and me were those adorable Barnum’s Animal Crackers in the old fashioned circus box. I used to love getting all dressed up, draped in a smocked dress with my big feet clad in black patent leather shoes, and clomp around the house holding the white string handle attached to the top of the box and act like it was a purse.
Animal crackers are synonymous with kids. Little ones just love these imaginative treats and I’d bet you have your own fond childhood memories of eating them….and with good reason. Animal crackers are fun, scrumptious and many moms generally keep them on hand to keep everyone happy. If your kids are like mine, any food in the shape of an animal is usually a hit, and the first time I made these crackers for my son and daughter, there was a lot of excitement about which animal they each were going to pick first.
I have such a special place in my heart for those crunchy animal shaped cookies and wanted to share them with my kids, but with ingredients like high fructose corn syrup I was determined to figure out how to make a homemade version that was just as delectable.
In coming up with this recipe I bought a bunch of boxed brands to see what they were made from and to try replicating the texture and flavor of the best ones. Most animal crackers are made with mace, which is a lovely spice, but not one most people have in their pantry. I substituted allspice in mine and they turned out perfectly. The same goes for lemon extract. You probably don’t have it on hand, but you can use your vanilla extract for a similar cookie.
Whether you’re making these for a birthday party, school snack or a holiday party, these Animal Crackers will bring out the kid in everyone.
Photo by Maren Caruso
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or mace
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
- 1 large egg
- Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the butter and pulse to combine.
- Add the vanilla extract and egg and pulse until the dough forms into a ball.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out animal shapes.
- Place cut outs on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes.