Happy 110th Birthday, Animal Crackers. You’ve had a long good life! In 1902, Nabisco created Barnum’s Animals, from a recipe that was created in England years before. This cookie- which is referred to as a cracker- was also the first item for consumption ever used for product placement in a movie. Shirley Temple sang the famous song “Animal Crackers in my Soup” in the movie “Curly Top” which debuted in 1935.
Nabisco placed their animal-shaped cookies in a package that resembles a circus wagon and was attached with a string handle, this was so you can hang them on Christmas trees. Aside from lions, tigers and bears; throughout the years Barnum’s Animal crackers have had about 54 different varieties. Today, we only see 18 animals, making the other animals that have disappeared from the box, extinct.
The current animals in the box include bison, camel, cougar, elephant, giraffe, gorilla, hippopotamus, hyena, kangaroo, koala, lion, monkey, polar bear, rhinoceros, seal, sheep, tiger and zebra.
Today, other brands of Animal Crackers exist, such as the Austin Zoo Animal Crackers. Even Trader Joe's sells Cat Cookies which taste just as yummy as the other animals.
It's time to celebrate and dig into your childhood memories. Let's face it, life is incomplete without these special treats. If it's been a while since you have bit the head off of an elephant, give it a try.
Here is a recipe for homemade Animal Crackers:
adapted from foodista.com
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup oats
5 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (Optional)
1. Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
2. Add egg and vanilla, combine well.
3. Mix in the cinnamon, allspice and salt.
4 Finally, add in the baking powder, oats, flour, and optional cocoa powder. Cocoa powder should be substituted for flour. Simply add the powder to the measuring cup and then fill the rest of the way up with flour.
5 Mix it up and form into a ball. Store in the fridge for at least an hour or up to overnight.
6 When ready, pull dough from fridge, grab off a hunk and roll it out to 1/4" thick.
7 Cut out the crackers and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
8 Bake for 5 to 7 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.