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Animal Crackers served on a platter.

Childhood Circus Animal Crackers

  • Author: Denay | Confetti and Bliss
  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 40-45 Cookies 1x


Adorable circus animal crackers are a precious taste of childhood! This delicious animal cookie recipe is very easy to make. Included are instructions for making cookies that easily release from their cookie cutters AND keep their shape while baking. In no time flat, you’ll be enjoying these scrumptious little cookies that bring a whole lot of smiles!



  • 1 + 1/2 sticks of butter (12 tablespoons), softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Add the butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream them together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla to the bowl and mix again.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, mace and nutmeg. Add the sifted ingredients to the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix everything together until all ingredients are well incorporated, and the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
  3. Divide the cookie dough into 4 equal pieces. On a pastry board roll out each piece to form a 1/4-inch rectangle. Wrap each piece separately in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Place the cookie dough in the freezer for 30 minutes. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!
  4. After 30 minutes, pull out the first piece of dough. Leave the other three pieces in the freezer. Your dough is at the correct thickness, so you can start cutting out shapes. Dip the cookie cutter into a small bowl of flour. Shake off all excess flour. Press the cookie cutter down firmly into the dough. Lift the cookie cutter straight up with the dough still attached. Move the cookie cutter over to a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Hovering over the cookie sheet, press down on the knob of the cookie cutter to quickly release the animal cracker onto the cookie sheet. Continue cutting out shapes. Gather up the remaining scraps of dough and press them into a ball. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inches. Wrap it and return it to the freezer.
  5. Take out the other three pieces from the freezer. Put two of the pieces into the refrigerator, then work with the third piece cutting out shapes. Continue until all of the animal crackers have been formed.
  6. Stick the cookie sheet with all of the preformed animal crackers into the freezer for 15 minutes. DON’T SKIP THIS STEP! Adjust your oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Bake the circus animal crackers for 11-14 minutes. The cookies are done when the sides and tops are barely starting to become lightly golden in color. Allow the cookies to remain on the cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes or until they’re room temperature. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack to continue the cooling process.
  8. Enjoy childhood circus animal cookies with a cold glass of milk, warm tea, or hot chocolate.

  • Category: Snack, Dessert, Party
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: animal crackers, animal cracker recipe, homemade animal crackers