Today there are many different brands and styles of animal crackers--vegan, chocolate, chocolate covered, covered with icing and sprinkles, and even gluten-free. There's the original Barnum's Animal Crackers, and I really like Barbara's (all natural) Snackimals Double Chocolate and Snackimals Chocolate Chip.
Want to dress up your store-bought Animal Crackers today to celebrate National Animal Cracker Day? Dip the animal crackers in Chocolate:
Chocolate Dipped Animal Crackers
Melt a good dark chocolate in the top of a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave.
Dip animals and let cool on waxed paper.
You can either dip most of the animal (and use forks or special dipping tools) or just dip the feet as I did with the Walker Scottie Dogs with Muddy Boots. I like Trader Joe's Animal Crackers for chocolate dipping.
Want to get fancier? Healthy Happy Life (Lunchboxbunch.com) has a Chocolate-Covered Vegan Animal Cookies post with great photos and recipes.
There's even a Website devoted to Animal Crackers: www.animalcrackers.net/ There you'll find a variety of recipes for animal crackers such as Homemade Animal Crackers, Oatmeal Animal Crackers, Classic Animal Crackers, Cheese Animal Crackers, Chocolate Animal Crackers, and many others.
COCOA ANIMAL CRACKERS
Recipe adapted from AnimalCrackers.net
1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cup Organic Toasted Rolled Quick Oats
1/2 Cup Real Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Baking Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
3/4 Cup of Cold Whole Milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In Blender, mix organic toasted rolled quick oats, with flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and kosher salt.
Pulse until base mixture is completely ground up into delicate powder, and color and texture are even and consistent.
Pour mixture into mixing bowl and vigorously stir in cold whole milk and softened real butter. Stir until dough becomes stiff, adding any extra milk if you need to.
Roll animal cracker dough into ball on clean flat surface, then flatten it out into quarter inch thickness.
Using animal cracker or cookie cutters, make as many shapes as you can with the dough.
Place your finished shapes on lightly greased baking sheet. Cook for ten to fifteen minutes, or until crackers are crisp.
Cool on wire wrack for half an hour.
Want to make your own Gluten-Free Animal Crackers? Gluten free on a Shoestring has a wonderful recipe that's actually close in taste to the Barnum's Animal Crackers. Vanilla paste is the great ingredient. Which reminds me I need to do a post on vanilla!.. soon...
Waiter, there's an Animal Cracker in my soup!
Animal Crackers make a great starch for soups and stews. A few years ago, I posted a recipe for a great Chicken Mole Polano made with Animal Crackers. Or try this recipe for White Chocolate Mole with Animal Crackers.
Want a sweet chocolate soup with Animal Crackers? O. K., this is more of a dessert. This recipe was originally found on the Hershey's Cocoa Box.
CHOCOLATE SOUP WITH ANIMAL CRACKERS
3/4 cups half-and-half
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
2 tsp cocoa
1 egg yolk
Heat half-and-half. Pour into bowl, leaving about 1/4 cup in saucepan or cup.
Add sugar, vanilla, cocoa to pan and mix until it is a syrup. Add egg yolk and stir over low heat. Gradually stir in preheated half-and-half. Stir until blended and thick. Pour into bowl.
Top with animal crackers.
Here's a link to several other Cocoa Soup recipes. All go well with Animal Crackers!
Enjoy this video clip of Shirley Temple singing Animal Crackers in my Soup!