TIP OF THE DAY: 3-D Animal Crackers - THE NIBBLE Blog
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TIP OF THE DAY: 3-D Animal Crackers

If you like to bake cookies, try your hand at something different: 3-D cookies.

They’re sold by a British novelty products company called Suck UK (why ask why?), and available on Amazon.

The zoo animal cookie cutter set contains a mother and baby. Each set has four cutters: two bodies and two pairs of legs, large (mom) and small (baby).

Cut out the cookie dough, bake, then slot the pieces together. The larger cookie is 7″ tall by 4.5″ wide. Instructions are included.

For Valentine’s Day, you can affix a candy heart with icing.

  • Elephant
  • Giraffe*
  • Hippo
  • Lion
  •  
    NOTE: For those who pay close attention, we know that these are not 3-D cookies, but 2-D (flat) cookies that stand up. But that’s what the manufacturer calls them, and no one has called them on it.
    ________________

    *We couldn’t find the giraffe on Amazon, but found it on another site, a bit more expensive.

     
    THE HISTORY OF ANIMAL CRACKERS

    Americans grow up on animal crackers. But the concept actually originated in England in the late 1800s, as animal biscuits (the British term for cookies).

    In 1889, when P.T. Barnum toured England with his circus, several manufacturers took advantage of the marketing opportunity and named their animal biscuits “Barnum’s.”

    The animal biscuits were exported to America, inspiring local bakeries to make their own.

    The National Biscuit Co. (today, Nabisco), introduced theirs in 1902 as “Barnum’s Animals” (they added the word “Crackers” in 1948).

    The “circus car” box with the string handle was introduced later in the year, as a Christmas tree ornament for Christmas 1902.

    (Neither P.T. Barnum nor the Barnum & Bailey Circus ever got a cent in licensing fees from any “Barnum’s” crackers or biscuits. Where were their lawyers?)

       

    Giraffe Cookie Cutter

    Elephant Cookie

    Hippo Cookie Cutter

    [1] Giraffe, [2] elephant, [3] and the hippo cookie cutters (photos courtesy Suck UK).

     

    Homemade Animal Crackers

    Homemade Animal Crackers Recipe

    Homemade Animal Crackers Recipe

    [4] Even if you don’t want to take on 3-D cookies, you can make better-tasting animal crackers with this recipe from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen. [5] and [6] Use a toothpick or other implement to make designs in plain cookies (photos courtesy Chicago Metallic).

     

    RECIPE: ANIMAL CRACKERS

    If you have an animal cookie cutter hanging around, here’s a recipe for that animal cracker taste, from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

    They used a set of plunger animal cookie cutters that create the marks on the cookies. Those cookie cutters are no longer available, but we found something similar on Amazon. Alternatively, you can:

  • Make the grooves with a toothpick, ice pick or other utensil.
  • Leave the cookies plain.
  •  
    Prep time is 45 minutes, cook time is 16 minutes. You can make the dough up to two days in advance.

    Ingredients For 20† Cookies

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon mace
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ________________

    †The number of cookies will vary based on your cookie cutter size.
    ________________

    Preparation

    1. SIFT together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and mace over a small bowl. Set aside.

    2. FIT an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater and 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.

    3. STOP the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been incorporated. 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.

     
    4. 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 or up to 2 days. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Place each dough disk between 2 clean, large pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. (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.

    6. LINE several baking sheets with parchment paper. Dip the cookie cutters into flour just before using and cut out the shapes. With plunger cookie cutters: Hold each cutter over a prepared baking sheet and lightly depress the plunger to remove the cutout; the plunger will also imprint the tops of the cookies. With regular cookie cutters: Place the cut-out shapes on the baking sheet one at a time and decorate as desired with a toothpick.

    7. FREEZE the baking sheets for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out more cookies.

    8. BAKE the cookies until very light golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let the cookies cool to room temperature.

      




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