Sunday, July 19, 2009

Animal Cracker Cookies...Homemade!

I was so excited to order these plunger style cookie cutters (which included a recipe) when I saw them on the Williams-Sonoma website!
It came with five animal cutters: a tiger, a lion, a giraffe, a seal and (my favorite) an elephant:)

Here's the trick to using them...After rolling out the dough, dip the cutter in flour and then press it into the dough and press the plunger down...then lift up the cutter(with dough still in it) and set it flat against the baking sheet, push the plunger down, releasing the imprinted cookie:)

It works like a charm!
I was really happy with how authentic they turned out...just like the "real deal!" The first couple of times I made them, I kept them plain like the little red box of animal crackers you find at the grocery store, but the third time I wanted to dress them up, like the "Mother's" brand, that are iced in white and pink:)
All I did was was stick some buttercream icing in the microwave(until melted), divided it up into two bowls, tinted some of it pink and kept the other white, and simply dipped the cookies in the thinned icing until covered. I then set the animals on a cooling rack(or wax paper), sprinkled them, and left them to dry:) Simple as that! Of course, if you are going to ice them, you can just use small ordinary animal cookie cutters since you can't even see the details once frosted, or even for plain if you can't find this sort:) I love how they turned out!!! Just like "Mother's!"

Both versions of this cookie are very tasty, and FUN!!!

Williams-Sonoma
Animal-Cracker Cookies

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

Over a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and mace. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, 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.

Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. 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.

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.

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.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Dip circus cookie cutters into flour just before using and cut out the shapes. 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. Freeze the baking sheets for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out more cookies.

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. Makes about 20 cookies of each shape.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.
 

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