Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Animal Crackers


Everyone remembers animal crackers, especially the ones in the little red box with the handle. These are like those but better! I made little elephants, lions, and bears. I would have made giraffes but somebody with tiny hands grabbed my giraffe cookie cutter and it didn't reappear until the next day. That's alright though, these are adorable on their own. I made chocolate chip cookies also and those were more of a hit than the original vanilla ones.


I would recommend using a good vanilla for these because that is the predominant flavor, at least for me and my husband. My three year old had nothing to say but "more cookies please". 


I made the dough then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator and rolled, cut, and baked them the next day. The actual preparation for these cookies is pretty quick, I was surprised for some reason when I was done because I was done and they were in the oven. I used a cake tester to get the holes in the cookies like traditional animal crackers and I think it adds to the aesthetic. 


If you want to make all of them chocolate chip then just double the mini chocolate chips to 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) and mix it into all the dough instead of just half. I will try that next time. I may even try to make all chocolate cookies or double chocolate cookies. That would be delicious. I also thought these would be good with a filling, like chocolate or vanilla frosting (or both swirled) sandwiched between two cookies. So many ideas. I hope these cookies inspire you like they inspire me! These were featured over at Couponing & Cooking. Happy Baking!


Animal Crackers
Makes about 40-50 depending on size (50 - 1”)

Ingredients:
- 8 ounces flour (about 2 cups)
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature (6 tablespoons)
- 4 ounces sugar
- 1/4 ounce powdered milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 ounce vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 ounces egg whites (For me it weighed to about 1 large egg white)
- 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
- Extra flour for dusting

Directions:
  1. Make the cookie dough:
  2. Using a sieve to sift the flour. Set aside.
  3. Using a hand or stand mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) cream together the butter and sugar, along with the powdered milk, salt and baking soda, on medium speed. Not until light and fluffy, but only until well combined. About a minute. Scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula and cream a minute more.
  4. Set the mixer to low. Drizzle in the vanilla. With the mixer still running, add half the flour and mix until just incorporated. Then add half the egg whites. Repeat with the remaining flour and egg whites. Mix until homogenous, then shut off the mixer.
  5. Use a rubber spatula to scrape half of the cookie dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap the dough. Mix the 2 tablespoons on mini chocolate chips into the dough in the mixer until just mixed. Scrape the chocolate chip dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and wrap the dough. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight, before rolling.
  6. Cut and bake the cookies:
  7. Preheat the oven to 350° and have 2 parchment lined sheet pans standing by.
  8. On a well floured surface, roll the cookies to just a little over ¼" thickness (3/8" if you like to be precise). (Mine came in a little under the ¼” thickness). Run a metal spatula between the dough and the rolling surface, to ensure the dough isn't sticking in any places. Cut the dough with your desired cutters and transfer the cut-outs to the cookie sheet. They won't spread significantly in the oven, so they can be placed fairly close together.
  9. If you like, dock the cookies twice with the tip of a clicky pen (clicked to the retracted position) to mimic the large, deep dock marks on the originals. (I used a cake tester - see picture)
  10. You can gather, knead and re-roll the scraps three times; the dough is very forgiving.
  11. Bake the cookies for approximately 12 minutes, (my cookies were a bit thinner and I only baked them 9 minutes) or until quite firm to the touch and just beginning to brown. Cool thoroughly. Store in an airtight container at room temperatures for up to a month.




Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

This recipe may be linked up to:
· Inside BruCrew Life - Trick or Treat Tuesday's
· Crazy For Crust - Crazy Sweet Tuesday’s
· Alli 'n Sons - Sweet Tooth Friday
· Mrs. Fox's Sweets - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party 
· Sweet as Sugar Cookies - Sweets for a Saturday 
· Mandy's Recipe Box - Totally Tasty Tuesday's
· A Pinch of Joy - Busy Monday Link Party 
· House of Hepworth's - Hookin up with HoH 
· Cups by Kim - Sweet & Simple Sunday  
· Couponing & Cooking - Mealtime Monday 
· What's Cooking, Love? - Showcase Your Talent Thursday 
· Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo - Anything Goes Linky
· Dwell on Joy - Dwell on Friday 
· Six Sister's Stuff - Strut Your Stuff Saturday
· Something Swanky: Desserts & Designs - Sweet Treats Thursday 
· A Slice of Southern - Southern Sundays 
· Me and My Sweets - My Sweet Party

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