Chocolate Animal Crackers

I love finding recipes for recreating popular snacks at home.  When I make them, I feel like I’ve one-uped the kings of junk food.  Especially when it tastes even better, which is almost always the case.

I could tell you that my son loves these animal crackers.  That would be true.  I could tell you that I make these especially for him.  That would not be true.  I could tell you that he eats the majority of them.  Again, big fat hairy lie.

So I’ll tell you the truth.

These little cuties are delicious.  They are simple to make, but difficult not to eat while they are in the house.  They are one of my favorite afternoon treats.  I tell myself that I’ll just have one or two, but that’s never the end.  The original recipe is from Williams Sonoma and it’s the traditional vanilla animal cracker.  They are good that way, but adding this touch of chocolate is what makes them wonderful dangerous.

Chocolate Animal Crackers (adapted from here)

Printed recipe

– INGREDIENTS –

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

– PREPARATION –

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar.  Beat for 2 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

3.  Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture.  Beat on low speed until the flour has been absorbed.  Add the remaining flour and beat until all the flour is absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes.

4.  Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface and roll to 1/8 inch thickness.  If the dough is sticky, dust with more flour.

5.   Line several (I used 3) baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut out shapes using mini animal cookie cutters.  Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut more cookies.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

6.  Put the baking sheets in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking.

7.  Bake the cookies until lightly browned, about 12 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!  And, if you’re feeling generous, share them with your children.

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