My kid has food kicks.  Each obsession lasts about 3 months, then she’s moved onto the next food of choice.  Whatever ‘food of the quarter’ we’re in, it’s THE ONLY food she wants.    Last summer, it was the fruit nutri grain bar things from Trader Joes.  Then in the fall it switched to toast.  With  butter.  Not just any toast, it HAD to be sourdough, which she calls ‘regular toast.’  And for the love, don’t you dare forget to put butter on that piece of ‘regular toast.’  Seriously, don’t.  And this past spring it’s been pretzels.  Not pretzels sticks, or peanut butter filled pretzels.  They MUST be mini pretzels twists, with salt.  DON’T BUY THE UNSALTED.  I made that mistake.  And I think the next phase may be pita chips.  The huge bag from Costco, to be exact.  Don’t even try to trick her giving her another brand, she’ll call your bluff in .0006 seconds.  She’s 2 1/2, going on 16.  Lord help me.

Not only does she get obsessive about food, she gets obsessive about movies.  Madagascar.  Hands down her favorite movie.  Well, favorite movie(s).  She’s watched all of them, 800 kazillion times.  She has even give each one it’s own name:

Madagascar 1: Madagascar Crying

Madagascar 2: The REAL Madagascar

Madagascar 3: Afro Circus

Merry Madagascar: Jingle Bells Madagascar

So far she hasn’t been obsessed with animal crackers.  Likes them, but not obsessed.  However, given her obsession with Madagascar, her like of animal crackers, and her love of helping me in the kitchen, I thought making homemade animal crackers with her would be fun.  And it was.  She loved using the cookie cutters and making little ‘Alex the lions.’  I rolled out some dough, cut out shapes, then let her use the scrap dough to play with and cut shapes out of.  She played with the dough while the crackers were baking, and once they were done baking I showed her each shape in its uncooked and cooked form.  Not like she cared that much, BUT, I could see her little wheels turning just a little bit trying to comprehend the process that just happened.



Ok, that was a really long winded explanation of why I made animal crackers.  As far as how they taste?  Awesome.  And nothing like the slightly sweet, airy, cardboard things in the circus box at the store.  These taste more like a shortbread or a pie crust.  They’re hearty from the oats, a bit flakey from the butter, and sweet.



When you make things like this by hand, you tend not to mindlessly eat them.  You just put so much work into this small batch, you want to savor each little cracker.  And you will.  They’re super delish!  Almost so good I don’t want to waste them on the kid, I want them myself! I imagine crumbling them over buttermilk ice cream and putting chocolate sauce on top.  Ya, that’s probably gonna happen tonight.  For sure, FOR SURE that’s  happening.  Until then, I’ll just snack on some…



Homemade Animal Crackers

Homemade Animal Crackers


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I think almond extract would be good too!)
  • 1 large egg


Place the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, all spice and sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse to combine.

Add in the vanilla extract and egg and pulse until the dough forms into a ball. It will seem dry, just keep pulsing.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Or in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees while the dough is chilling.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out animal shapes, or any other shapes.

*I also made a batch cutting them into geometric shapes; triangles, squares, etc… fun learning ‘snacktivity’ for kids.

Place the cut outs on a Silpat mat or parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes (they’ll be golden brown on the edges).

Cool on a wire rack and serve.

*The cookies get firm and crunchy once completely cool.

Store in an air tight container for up to 1 week.


Recipe adapted from Weelicious