Monday, April 4, 2011

Recipe: Whole Grain Animal Crackers

I have been meaning to make animal crackers for a while... I splurged and bought this set of awesome cookie cutters off ebay.. too cute to resist!

I found this recipe and I decided to use it, because it was a whole lot healthier than other recipes I've seen, which call for over a cup of butter...

While delicious, the dough was a real pain to work with.  It was crumbly and finicky and ... I think I'll be using a different recipe next time I use these cutters.  However, it was worth it to have The Girl tell me, upon seeing them this morning, "Mom, you're awesome!"

Yeah, that's worth it.

So, here's the recipe, from The Cilantropist - I did not change it at all.

I know, I'm stunned, too.

The text and in-recipe notes are from that blog.  See the link for the original post - the pictures are mine.

Whole Grain Animal Crackers
(From The Cilantropist)

3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 c ground flaxseed
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 6 ingredients, and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar for about 2-3 minutes, then add the egg and vanilla extract and continue to mix. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients (flour mixture) in two additions, and then mix until the flour is just incorporated.
Before pressing into a ball
After pressing into a ball
 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball; flatten the dough ball into a 1-inch thick disk and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up for a few minutes; then roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or starts to crack, just dust the top of the dough with a little flour.
Cutting a seal

Using a toothpick to remove bits of dough stuck in between the legs

Transferring to a cookie sheet

Dipping the giraffe in flour

Using a toothpick to remove extra dough
 To cut out the animal shapes, dip each cutter in flour, then press into the dough. (I find if I press it into the dough, and then wiggle it from side to side a bit, it helps me to remove the dough surrounding each animal.) If you are using the cutters from Williams and Sonoma, you will press the cutter into the dough, and then depress the plunger to imprint the animal features.

Working quickly and carefully, use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the lined baking sheet. You don't want the dough to get too warm and stick, but the cookies are also delicate and can break easily. (Squeeze together any dough scraps and put them back in the fridge to re-roll for your next cookie batch.) 

Place the baking sheet in the fridge for 30-40 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes; then bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, or until the edges are just lightly golden and cookie is slightly puffed. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to allow cookies to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for about 1 week.

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