There’s something nostalgic about animal crackers, something that magically tugs memories out of the minds of adults and makes our growing-too-fast children or grandchildren slow down just long enough to indulge in their box. These special moments are probably why they have an entire day dedicated to Animal Crackers, which was April 18th (sorry, yes, we're late!). Someone somewhere wanted to celebrate it. Whenever I see or hear animal crackers, I hear Shirley Temple singing, “Animal crackers in my soup….”
What if we could enjoy these little cookies more often? It’s as simple as making your own. I found a recipe that is a simple as any other cookie and requires similar ingredients. The chilling time is essential to holding the lion, duck, or other animal shapes you use. If you want to go an untraditional route, you can add 5 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to make chocolate cookies instead. Or crank up the fun factor by dipping half of each or all of the cookies in chocolate and sprinkles once they’ve cooled. This recipe also easily doubles for get-togethers or goodie bags.
Gluten-Free Vanilla Animal Crackers
1 ½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup loosely packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 medium eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Fit two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- Combine flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugars in a large bowl.
- Add eggs and vanilla to flour mixture and combine until dough forms. You may need to knead the flours in; they’ll manage to conform with a little effort.
- Sandwich the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll it out until its about ¼ inch thick. Place dough and parchment pieces in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
- Use cutesy mini cookie cutters such as this Amazon option to create your animal shapes; place cookies about an inch apart on prepared parchment-lined baking sheets and return to the freezer another 5 minutes. (If you want that 'animal cracker' look to the cookies, pick the tops very lightly with a fork, just to indent them a little)
- Place chilled cookies in preheated oven for 4 minutes; rotate and bake additional 4 minutes.
- Take cookies out of oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet at least 5 minutes.
- If you are going to dip in chocolate and sprinkles, do it here. Otherwise, enjoy your cookies with the kiddos in your life.
- If you somehow manage to have any leftover, store them in a plastic bag or airtight container so they don’t go stale.
If you enjoyed this recipe, will you give it a 'share'? Everyone loves Shirley Temple, right?!