Darcie Bakes //

Baking from scratch… because good things take time.

{Homemade} Cinnamon Animal Crackers.


Homemade animal crackers?! Yes, it can be done. All you need are some cookie cutters shaped like animals – preferably these circus animal plunger cookie cutters – and some good quality dough.

{The lions are my favorite, so I ate its head. Don’t mind my #ratchet nail polish job.}


If you do purchase the plunger cutters [which I would recommend, since they’re fun circus animal shapes, just like the store bought ones!], here are all of your animal shape options: a giraffe, a tiger, an elephant, a lion, and last but not least, a seal!

giraffetigerelephantlionsealEmbarrassing food blogger confession: I have actually owned these circus animal cutters for several years. But I only used them once or twice with some unsuccessful animal cracker recipes. Once I moved to a different apartment in St. Louis and gained a roommate who also likes to bake, I realized that she and I had the exact same cutter set. She was using them a lot to make homemade animal crackers, so I thought, “Why on earth haven’t I tried to make more animal crackers? This is silly!” So I decided to put them to use once again.

Dani has tested so many animal cracker recipes that she has created her own recipe, known as “Danimal crackers.” [Get it?! Haha.] Her cinnamon animal cracker recipe is my favorite, so I decided to start testing out my animal crackers with this recipe.

{Tiger on the far left is all up on that lion. RAWR!}

The dough is easy to work with, and these babies keep practically forever. I used butter in the first recipe, just because I’m a fan of real butter, y’all [Paula Deen voice]. However, Dani says that she prefers to use shortening since it has less of a flavor – which gives them more of that typical animal cracker taste, and less of a “cookie taste.” I love adding cinnamon to them because, well, I love cinnamon. But you can leave out the cinnamon if you’re looking for more of a stereotypical animal cracker taste. Also, the mace is what really gives them their signature flavor, so try to use it if you can find it.

As for the cutters, they work pretty well. Sometimes the dough can get stuck in the intricate parts of the cutters. To prevent that, you just need to make sure that the dough is lightly floured and that the cutters have been floured before cutting out your shapes. Personally, I love that the plunger part of the cutter adds some intricate detail to the cookies, without being overly complicated. Aren’t these just the most fun?! Kids and adults will both love them, and they’re a great, easy-to-make snack. They also taste way better than their store bought counterparts, but that should be a given.

{It’s a pile o’ animal crackers! That’s my kind of pile.}

Special thanks to Dani for tirelessly testing out at least fifteen versions of animal crackers! I will definitely try more variations and post them here in the near future. 🙂

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Homemade Cinnamon Animal Crackers.
It varies; it all depends on how large and thick you cut out your crackers. I’d say I got about 40-50 animal crackers.

– 6 TBSP. unsalted butter, at room temperature [Or shortening if you want less of a “cookie taste” – I used butter in this batch.]
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 8 oz. all-purpose flour
– 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
– 1/8 tsp. ground mace [Note: You should be able to find this at spice specialty stores if you can’t find it at your local grocery store.]
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 2 TBSP. corn syrup
– 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
– 1 large egg

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment [or with an electric hand mixer, or you can do this by hand], beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
3. Add the egg, vanilla, and corn syrup to the butter/sugar mixture, and beat until combined.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined.
5. Form the dough into a flat disc, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate to chill and rest dough for at least an hour.
6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Roll out chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut into animal cracker shapes. {Note: You may need to lightly flour the cutters as well to prevent the dough from sticking and tearing.
7. Place shapes on the prepared baking sheets, and bake for about 9-11 minutes. My animal crackers were still pretty soft; they had the texture of a softer graham cracker. You may bake them longer depending on how thick they are and how crunchy you want them to be. Enjoy! Animal crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about two weeks to a month. You may also freeze for longer term use.

*Side Note: To clean the intricate parts of the cutters more easily, use a toothpick to pick out the dough that’s gotten stuck as you wash them with soap and warm water.

– Recipe from Dani, my roommate!
– Circus animal plunger cookie cutters from Chicago Metallic Bakeware.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I’m not being compensated for talking about these cookie cutters. I have just had them for quite awhile, and I like them. Kthx. 

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