10.17.2015

One for You, One for Me

You may have noticed a pattern.

When I go shopping to buy someone a gift, I often end up with at least one for myself.

This is especially true in antiques stores. You saw those sweet little swallow molds I got for aspic? And now these little animal cookie cutters.

They were just sitting there, looking forlorn and forgotten.

They were in the "expensive stuff" case, so I just assumed they would be out of reach.

But I asked anyway; "How much?"

Three dollars! One. Two. Three. Dollars!

They were mine before you could say, "Mid-century modern!"

Animal Crackers were a big favorite of mine growing up. What kid didn't like the circus-car box with the carrying ribbon? And sharing them with friends was fun. One for you, one for me.

True, the crackers from this recipe don't taste like the originals, and maybe theyre better-suited to the adult palette. The shapes are nothing like them, either. But they taste good, and they are so darned cute!

What are some of your childhood favorites?

~David

Homemade animal crackers

6 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch ground nutmeg
tiny pinch salt
1 cup flour plus 2 tablespoons

Cream the butter and sugar till just combined. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and lemon zest; mix well. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix until ingredients are just incorporated. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 3/16-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes. Place cookies on parchment-lined baking sheets and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Remove the sheets form freezer and bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size. The cookies will be a pale gold color. Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, then place cookies on racks and let cool completely.

Makes a lot... I stopped counting after a while...


36 comments:

  1. Lieber David, your lovely cookies go to prove that animal crackers are certainly meant for kids of all ages (I hope that statemant is ok - as it is meant in the nicest way possible, dear friend). The kids and I love animal crackers and your cute post is a wonderful reminder to bake some again - together with a whole lot of kids that I will invite to bake along with us!
    Ich wünsche euch beiden ein schönes Wochenende und grüße euch beide ganz herzlich aus dem ziemlich kühlen Bonn!
    Andrea
    P.S.: One thing is for sure, we shall visit the incredible city of Hamburg next time you visit Germany (a mere 430 km...) and we will take a cooking class together and...and...

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    1. Andrea - I am, at my best, just a big kid! I loved your comment and am glad you like the post. The cooler weather is coming to Tucson now, but nothing like what you get in Bonn! Liebe Grüße! D

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  2. $3? In with the expensive stuff? I need to see this store! I'll take a pocketful of these little critters as well, please?

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    1. Well, I think the placement was a bit of an error, but I have found great things there. We will go when you visit, John!

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  3. Oh yes, I loved animal crackers too! Fun post, David xx

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  4. Too funny that both of our latest posts are cookies! I'm betting that your animal crackers blow the little red box out of the water. :) You probably don't know my childhood favorites since I grew up in the UK, but I still buy a bag of Iced Gems when I go home! They are tiny little biscuits with a piped "gem" of royal icing. Each color is a different flavor and I still love them! ;)

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    1. I would love to try some Iced Gems! We hope to get over there in the next few years, so I have added your childhood cookies to my list!

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  5. These are lovely! I've been experimenting with natural ways to color cookies and cakes for my little one. not to mess too much with tradition here... but have you thought about some fun colors? I've used blueberries, beets, strawberries - zipped in our vitamix - which naturally throws off the liquid balance...
    Happy weekend to you, dear teacher!!

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    1. Hi Gaelen! One of the best colors can come from Saffron! It also gives great flavor mixed with cardamom! If you blanch chopped spinach, then squeeze it through a cloth, you will get a good green. Learned that from a book called Monet's Garden! For that, and for any of the fruit juices you mentioned, you can reduce them to concentrate the color without adding too much liquid! Carrots also add good color! Blackberries for purple/lavender.

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  6. These are darling! Crate & Barrel sometimes has some very cute animal cookie cutters but they are expensive so I've never indulged. Yours were a steal--how fun!

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  7. Those animal cookies are adorable! Too bad we aren’t your neighbors at the moment. We'd have begged for a taste...and left behind nary a crumb! Should we add animal shapes to our Christmas cookies? Here, we just had our first hard frost. Time to start packing. Looking forward to seeing you soon...“soon” being around mid-November. Hugs to you both.

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    1. We'd have gladly shared! Looking forward to having you back in the Pueblo!

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  8. Your post brings back images of those little boxes designed like a circus train car. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane!

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  9. I have lots of animal cutters from back when Mark and i were kids. I inherited these from Mom and used to make lots of cookies with them. I think my recipe was probably sweeter though. I will try these with JayJay.

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    1. Great idea, Carol! Just remember, these are tiny! No bigger than an inch! You will need to adjust the cooking time!

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  10. Gosh, I'm trying to remember which animal cracker was my favorite one and the first ones I'd eat. Of course, who has been thinking about animal crackers of late? Thanks for the memory.

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    1. Caterina - I think for some reason, I ate the Tigers first. But hadn't thought about that till you mentioned it! Fun to hop back in time occasionally, isn't it?

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  11. Hi David, I collect cookie cutters and have some unusual shapes. Love your animal cookies, they are adorable. My favorite cookie growing up was the pink and white animal cookies with sprinkles and fig newtons.

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    1. I love fig newton cookies, too, Cheri! Working on a homemade variety now!

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  12. I panicked when I saw animal shapes. I have an allergy to fussy cookies. However, as there was no icing in sight, I think I can breath easy. Incidentally I have the same red circus car memories. GREG

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    1. Didn't mean to throw you into a tailspin, Greg! Glad the hives abated... Hope all is going well in Florida!

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  13. I have to say I'm a bit of an uncontrollable collector of baking things, all the usual molds, pan, cookie cutters. But, add to the list exotic ingredients like agar powder. Why I ordered it? I have no idea. But, I have it, in case suddenly I realize I need it, you see?

    These animals crackers look so cute and sound so yummy. I have to see what animal cookie cutters I have and make them. xoox

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    1. Yep, Colette, I get it! I have some things like that in my cupboard, too. xox

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  14. what fun! I loved Animal Crackers as a child--right up there with oreos--and today I still love them but oreos I could live without for the rest of my life. Barring homemade oreos, for which I happen to have a to-die-for recipe! I love the mini-ness of them, too!

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    1. You had me at homemade Oreos! I need to know, Susan!

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  15. What fun, I haven't thought about those little cookies in years. Mothers used to give them to their children but now it seems Cheerios and Goldfish are the norm now.

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    1. From the child's perspective, Karen, don't you think animal crackers would be more fun that little inner tubes of oats? Or badly flavored fish crackers?

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  16. For some reason I always thought animal crackers in the US were savoury. Guess I never tried them...
    Here they were sold at the zoo! I haven't seen them (or gone to the zoo) in ages.
    Great recipe David, I love making commercial stuff at home.

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    1. The manufactured ones are a little sweeter than these, but are meant no to be too sweet for young children.

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  17. Hi David, cute little animal crackers. Great to go with a nice cup of coffee. It's addictive, guess hard to stop munching. :))

    Best regards.
    Amelia

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    1. Amelia - when they are so tiny, it is easy to lose count of how many you have eaten!

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