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animal cracker cookies with icing and sprinkles

Mini Animal Cracker Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes (includes cooling)
  • Yield: about 85 mini cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Turn a simple 8 ingredient sugar cookie recipe into homemade mini animal cracker cookies! These kid-friendly cookies are flavored with delicious cinnamon and topped with icing and rainbow sprinkles.


Ingredients

  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled), plus more as needed for rolling and work surface
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (12 Tbsp or 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For Decorating


Instructions

  1. Whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a handheld or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, and vanilla and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Dough will be a bit soft. If the dough seems too soft and sticky for rolling, add 1 more Tablespoon of flour.
  4. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Place each portion onto a piece of lightly floured parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness. Use more flour if the dough seems too sticky. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly 1/4-inch thick.
  5. Lightly dust one of the rolled-out doughs with flour. Place a piece of parchment on top. (This prevents sticking.) Place the 2nd rolled-out dough on top. Cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days.
  6. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Carefully remove the top dough piece from the refrigerator. If it’s sticking to the bottom, run your hand under it to help remove it. Using cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes (I love these, these, and these). Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
  7. Arrange cookies on baking sheets 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. 
  8. Prepare royal icing or easy cookie icing. Feel free to tint the royal icing or cookie icing pink or any color you desire. I recommend gel food coloring. I used a tiny drop of fuchsia from this gel food coloring kit
  9. Dip the cooled cookies into the icing, and top with sprinkles. No need to cover the decorated cookies as you wait for the icing to set. If it’s helpful, decorate the cookies directly on a baking sheet so you can stick the entire baking sheet in the refrigerator to help speed up the icing setting.
  10. Enjoy cookies right away or wait until the icing sets to serve them. Once the icing has set, these cookies are great for gifting or for sending. Plain or decorated cookies stay soft for about 5 days when covered tightly at room temperature. For longer storage, cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Plain or iced animal cracker cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 3, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 4, then chill as directed in step 5—no need to chill for 1-2 hours, 45 minutes should be plenty.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Rolling Pin or Adjustable Rolling Pin | Meringue PowderAmericolor Gel Food Coloring Kit | Nonpareils Sprinkles | Mini Animal Cookie Cutters or 9-piece Mini Animal Cookie Cutter Set or Mini Noah’s Ark Animal Cookie CuttersSilpat Baking MatBaking SheetsCooling Rack
  3. Room Temperature: Room temperature butter is essential. If the dough is too sticky, your butter may have been too soft. Room temperature butter is actually cool to the touch. Room temperature egg is preferred so it’s quickly and evenly mixed into the cookie dough.
  4. Food Coloring: Feel free to tint the royal icing or cookie icing pink or any color you desire. I recommend gel food coloring. I used a tiny drop of fuchsia from this gel food coloring kit.
  5. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking success tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: animal cracker cookies