Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cookie #79 - Frosted Animal Cookies

I have this very vivid memory from my childhood of grocery shopping with my mom at our local Grand Union.  There was an area in the front of the store where the carts were kept that was cordoned off with shiny, metal railings.  I would sit on the railing with my stuffed horse (and very best friend) Pineapple and a box of animal crackers while my mom shopped.  Can you imagine doing that nowadays? 
Animal crackers/cookies are such a kid favorite.  The ones in the little red box with the string are probably the most popular, but frosted animal cookies are pretty awesome, too. 
These cookies are essentially just a really delicious sugar cookie, rolled thin and frosted with some sweet icing on top.  I added just a tiny bit of cinnamon to the dough and I was quite happy with the slightest bit of warmth it added. 
These cookies don't have to be frosted.  I think they'd be quite delicious simply dusted with some cinnamon sugar.  
I cut my cookies out with two vintage cookie cutters I bought a few years ago at a garage sale.  The horse shape reminds me of the Ikea horse.  As I was testing out this recipe, I really wished I had the Williams-Sonoma Circus Animal Cracker Cookie Cutters, but they had been discontinued.  They would have been perfect.  They had all the famous shapes:  a lion, giraffe, tiger, elephant and even the seal balancing a ball on it's nose.  I found a few sets on eBay, but I just couldn't justify over $30 for a set of cookie cutters.
No matter how you choose to cut them, it's still a pretty darned good cookie.

Frosted Animal Cookies

2 cups flour
2/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla

2 egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Nonpareils for decoration

Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.  Mix in egg, then vanilla until well incorporated.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Add slowly to butter mixture until just combined. 
Divide dough in half.  Form each half into a ball, then flatten into a disk.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Working with one half of the dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/4" thick.  Cut into desired shapes, reworking scraps of dough as needed.  Place cut cookies onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake until the edges are just golden, about 15-20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make icing:

Whisk egg whites just until stiff.  Whisk in lemon juice and powdered sugar until well combined.  If too thick, thin with a little bit of water until the desired consistency.  Frost each cookie and top with nonpareils.  Allow the frosting to dry before storing. 


No comments: