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These homemade frosted animal cookies taste just like the ones from your childhood, only better. They have a few unique (maybe even surprising) ingredients make them extra delicious!
With our oldest going to kindergarten this year, I thought it would be fun to make an extra special back to school treat to pack in his lunch box for his first day. Something homemade but fun and cute. These bright, colorful frosted animal cookies were perfect! He LOVED them! ?
If you’ve ever tried the coated animal crackers from the store, these are a lot like them, only made with real ingredients and a lot less sugar.
The dough does require chilling so make sure to carve out extra time for that. I personally prefer making the dough the night before I plan on baking them so that it’s ready to be rolled and cut. If you are planning on making these with kids I’d highly recommend going that route.
To start you’ll want to cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer. Get the mixture pale and fluffy. This usually takes about 3 minutes on high. Next add the vanilla. I used Nielsen-Massey’s No Sugar Added Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract. It’s a great alternative to their other varieties and has the same rich vanilla flavor I love. Nielsen-Massey is always my go-to vanilla!
I also added a splash of their Organic Pure Almond Extract. It’s amazing. So much better than the cheap stuff. The flavor is unreal. I love the strong vanilla flavor with just a hint of almond. It really makes these cookies!
Once you mix the extracts and the egg, you’ll whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. I always get asked why I do this. Not only does it help aerate the flour, but it helps thoroughly mix the ingredients which will be evenly distributed when mixed in with the wet ingredients.
This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, ground old fashioned oats, baking powder and coarse kosher sea salt. I ground my oats by pulsing them in my food processor for a minute. You can also use a high speed blender if you don’t have a food processor on hand.
The dough will be soft and sticky. That’s how it should be! Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper until it’s ¼ inch in thickness. If your kitchen is warm you may want to freeze it for 15 minutes before cutting out the shapes. Peel the top layer of parchment off, revealing the rolled dough. Using mini animal cookie cutters (I purchased mine at a craft store in a Noah’s Ark set) cut out the animals and transfer to a lined cookie sheet.
You can place the cookies ½ inch apart, they only spread a little. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown on the bottoms, about 11 minutes.
While the cookies are cooling, prepare the frosting. I tried a few different recipes and ultimately decided that white chocolate was the way to go. Not only was it super easy and almost mess-free, but it had the right taste and texture. Melt the white chocolate melting discs with coconut oil, then whisk in some more vanilla extract.
For a more defined animal shape, make sure to only dip the one side, leaving a nice border around the edges. If you want to stay true to the original, you can dunk the entire cookie in, just know that you may loose some definition and you will need to place it on either a Silpat, parchment paper or wax paper to set.
Sprinkle with some rainbow nonpareils and then let the white chocolate set. To speed this process along you can chill the cookies in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
These cookies are crisp, sweet, buttery and so fun to eat! They are sturdy enough to hold up in a lunch box which is just what I was looking for. I have big plans for this recipe, so stay tuned. A slightly healthier, unfrosted version will be coming your way soon!
I hope you will enjoy these adorable frosted animal cookies as much as we did. Do you have a favorite childhood treat? Did you look forward to something special in your lunchbox as a kid? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know!
LEARN HOW TO MAKE FROSTED ANIMAL COOKIES IN THE VIDEO BELOW:
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Frosted Animal Cookies Recipe
For the cookies:
- 3/4 c. unsalted butter - room temperature
- 2/3 c. granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1 egg
- 1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. finely ground old fashioned oats*
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt
For the frosting:
- 10 oz. white chocolate melting wafers
- 1 tbsp. refined coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- Pink gel food coloring - optional
- 1/4 c. rainbow nonpareils
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter for 1 minute on high until smooth. Add sugar and cream for 2-3 minutes or until pale in color. Add extracts and egg, mix until combined, about 1 minute.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet ingredients, then mix until combined.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Remove dough from plastic wrap and place on a long piece of parchment paper. Place a similar size sheet over top, then using a rolling pin, roll into a flat, even layer, about 1/4-inch in thickness. If the dough is soft and sticky, transfer to the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, set aside.
- Working quickly, carefully cut out mini animals and place on the prepared baking sheets about 1/2-inch apart.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the centers are no longer soft and the edges are pale brown in color. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in a medium microwave-safe mixing bowl, add white chocolate wafers and coconut oil. Heat for 30 seconds on half power, stir, then repeat twice more if needed. Whisk in vanilla extract until smooth.
- Turn each animal cookie upside down and dip in the white chocolate. Swirl to remove excess. Add sprinkles then return to the cookie sheet or additional parchment/wax paper to set. Cookies should set within 20 minutes (refrigerating them will speed along the process). Cookies stay good at room temperature for up to 4 days. They aren't super fragile which means they're perfect for lunch boxes!