Remember those awesome little Circus Animal Cookies many of us used to eat as kids? I loved them. For me, their appeal was more about the aesthetic quality: bright happy colors and adorable animal shapes… what’s not to love? Eating them always felt like a mini party!
This week I decided to recreate this classic treat in jumbo size, using some cute animal shaped cookie cutters that I have been meaning to put to use. While my party animals are not all exactly “circus” animals, they still put a big smile on my face, and that’s really the best part!
You could use any plain sugar or shortbread cookie recipe to make these yourself. The plainer the better, I think, since the candy coating will ultimately steal the show! I’ve shared the recipe I used below.
You will need:
For the dough:
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
– 1 egg
– 1 tbsp vanilla
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 3 cups flour
For the decoration:
– some cookie cutters in animal shapes
– candy melts in white and pink
– rainbow nonpareil sprinkles
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. First, cream together the butter and sugar. Then stir in the egg and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder and flour until a homogenous dough forms, divide into 3 balls, then chill the dough for at least an hour.
Using a little extra flour for sprinkling, roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out the animal shapes. Place your party animals on a parchment lined baking sheet about an inch apart (they won’t spread much). Bake for 15-18 minutes or until browned along the edges.
For the frosting: set up a double boiler by filling a medium sized pot with water about half way, then placing a bowl of slightly larger size on top. (If you have a bowl with handles it will work particularly well here.) Heat the water on medium and fill the bowl with one color of the candy melts. Stir until smooth and melted through, then turn the heat down to low.
Dip each cookie face down into the coating, then gently lift out and place onto a sheet of wax paper or a wire rack. This part can be a little tricky, so its nice to keep a spoon on hand to help cover any missed spots. Don’t worry about them looking perfect, a generous helping of sprinkles with cover any imperfections! After you’ve frosted about half your batch of cookies, wash out the bowl and continue coating cookies with the other color. The coating sets pretty quickly, so don’t forget to pause after every few cookies and sprinkle with nonpareils!
Aren’t these guys so festive and fun? The pink piggies are my favorite. I think they would make a really great Birthday surprise for someone, or you could customize with other shapes or colors.
It’s a lot of fun to try to recreate your favorite classics at home. Sometimes the homemade version turns out even better (and usually healthier). Are there any other classic snacks or treats you would like to see us DIY on What to do with Lemons? Let us know! We would love to hear from you!