When I discovered my intolerance I thought I’d have to give all those things up. And for a time, I did. But now I’ve created my own versions of my favorite treats, and you can make them, too! (They can also be made with gluten.)
These animal cracker cookies have a slight crunch on the edges with a softer middle. Enjoy them plain, frosted or dunked into a funfetti cake batter dip.
This recipe yields a looot of animal cracker cookies. If you use these cutters, you’ll end up with about 8 dozen cookies. The sheer number of cookies is the reason these take a long time to make. There’s no easy way to divide the recipe in half since it calls for only 1 egg (but hey, I’ve done it with other recipes!). I usually end up freezing about half of the cookies and saving them for another time. If you have a large family then this won’t be a problem!
Honey, cinnamon and brown sugar give these cookies their yummy flavor. If you’re making them gluten free, this is the flour that I recommend.
Divide the finished dough in half, and flatten each half into a disc shape. Wrap the discs tightly in plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Chill them much longer than that and the dough will be difficult to roll out.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface (one disc at a time) so that it’s about 1/8-inch thick. Dip the cookie cutters in flour so that the dough doesn’t stick. And if it does stick, use a toothpick to remove the dough from the cookie cutter crevices. About 20 cookies will fit on a standard-sized baking sheet. Use a lightly floured spatula to transfer them to the pan.
Chill each sheet of cookies for about 30 minutes before baking. You’ll likely need to reuse a couple of baking sheets. Let warm pans return to room temperature before putting cookie dough on them. I like to stick warm baking sheets in the fridge for a few minutes to speed up the pan-cooling process.
The cookies are delicious on their own, but there are two other options if you don’t want to eat them plain. Both recipes are included below.
Do you guys remember dunkaroos? That was my inspiration when creating this funfetti cake batter dip. It’s a simple frosting recipe flavored with cake batter extract, which I found at my local Harris Teeter. You can also buy it on Amazon.
The cake batter dip is best enjoyed at room temperature, but it should be stored in the fridge. The dip is thick and not as spreadable when cold, which means your cookies will break when you try to scoop it out. (Let’s be real, though. The thin neck and legs on the giraffe are always at risk of breaking off!) It’ll take about an hour to warm up.
Another option is adding frosting to the backs of the cookies. Use your favorite gel food coloring to personalize the color. The frosting is like a thick glaze, and all you have to do is dip the back of each cookie into it. Use an offset spatula to smooth it on, if necessary. Wait 10-20 seconds before dipping the cookie in the sprinkles or sprinkling them on with your hand. Place each cookie frosting side up on a baking sheet or wax paper. It could take an hour or two to set at room temperature.
These animal cracker cookies make a perfect lunchbox treat or after-school snack. And of course they’re also adult-friendly! Tag me @rosesandwhiskers on Instagram if you try the recipe, and use the hashtag #rosesandwhiskers. Happy baking! 🙂
Animal Cracker Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour substitute all-purpose flour for gluten-full cookies
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Funfetti Cake Batter Dip
- 1/2 cup Crisco
- 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 4-6 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tsp cake batter extract
- 1/4 cup confetti sprinkles or jimmies
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 4 tbsp + 1 tsp whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 drops gel food coloring
- nonpareil rainbow sprinkles
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure it's incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract and honey.
- Gradually add the flour mixture by thirds, mixing on low speed until just combined. Divide the dough in half and flatten into two discs. Wrap the discs tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. If you chill for any longer you'll need to let the dough warm up some before you can roll it out.
- Line several baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. This recipe yields about 8 dozen cookies, so you might need to reuse baking sheets. Let warm pans return to room temperature before reusing them. (See recipe notes.)
- Once the dough is finished chilling, take out one disc and roll it out about 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out animal shapes using floured cookie cutters. If you use the cookie cutters that I recommend, then you can fit 20 cookies on each baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat). Use a lightly floured spatula to transfer them to the pan. (See recipe notes.) Re-roll the scraps. Then repeat with the second disc.
- Chill each sheet of cookies for about 30 minutes before baking. I usually wait for the first half hour to pass before preheating the oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Bake for 6-9 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. If you want crunchier cookies, bake them at the longer end of the range. The middles will be soft and the edges will have a slight crunch. Let the cookies rest on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
- Let the cookies cool completely before frosting them (if you decide to frost them). Store in an airtight container.
Making the Funfetti Cake Batter Dip
- In a large bowl, cream the Crisco, powdered sugar and 2 tbsp of milk until light and fluffy. Add more milk, 1 tbsp at a time until you've reached your desired consistency. You want it to be thick and creamy. Mix in the cake batter extract, and then stir in the sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator. But best enjoyed at room temperature.
Frosting the Animal Cracker Cookies
- Cream together the butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and food coloring. The frosting will be thick and a little liquidy.
- Dip the bottom half of the cooled cookies in the frosting and use an offset spatula to smooth it if necessary. Wait about 10-20 seconds before either dipping the frosted cookie in the sprinkles or using your fingers to sprinkle them on. Lay the cookies frosting side up on a baking sheet or wax paper until they set. (It could take a couple of hours depending on how thick the coating of frosting is.) To speed up the process put the baking sheet in the freezer. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!
- Speed up the pan-cooling process by putting warm baking sheets in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
- If you use the cookie cutters that I recommend, you'll need to lightly flour them before use. That'll help prevent the dough from sticking in the crevices. If the dough does stick, use a toothpick to scrape it out.