Everybody loves Animal Crackers! What if almost everybody could actually eat them? Wouldn’t life be a better place? This yummy gluten free animal crackers recipe makes that happy dream a reality!
These treats are perfect any day of the year, of course, especially for Back to School! Since these are gluten free, nut free and easily vegan, they are eminently share-able. I think I hear your favorite lunch box calling for them now!
If you’re looking for more great gluten free Back to School recipes, plus tips on 504 plans, school lunches, birthday parties, dorm life and more, grab a copy of my Back to School Gluten Free e-Book!
The origin of this iconic cookie (let’s call a spade a spade — these are way more than just “crackers”) harkens back to the turn of the century. And by that I mean, the turn of LAST century!
Animal crackers were introduced by the National Biscuit Company (NABISCO) in 1902, apparently on April 18th. Later that year the now familiar “Barnum’s Animals” boxes with strings were released in time to be hung on Christmas trees as children’s gifts. On the 100th anniversary of the “birth” of animal crackers, NABISCO added the koala bear to its die-cut lineup.
With this homemade gluten free Animal Crackers recipe, you can pick whatever animal cookie cutters you prefer, or grab a set of detailed cutters made just for this purpose!
Personally, I like to stick to the classics, but then again, Penguins are pretty cute.
Have fun rolling, cutting and eating a yummy lion or giraffe again! And maybe make a few extra to share – everybody loves an animal cracker!
(BTW, don’t be put off by the “3 hours” listed to make these cookies — that’s just if you want the dough to be less sticky, you’ll refrigerate it. It only takes a few minutes to through these ingredients together to make the dough, then YOU decide if you can wait or not!)
- 1/4 cup palm or vegetable shortening (4 Tbs.)
- 3 Tbs. brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
- 2 Tbs. coconut nectar or agave nectar or honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 egg (room temperature) or substitute like applesauce or Ener-G Egg Replacer
- 1 1/4 cups gfJules™ All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional, but classic)
Cream the shortening, sugar and nectar or honey well. Add lemon juice and egg and stir to mix.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add to the sugar mixture. Beat just until fully integrated. The dough should hold together in a ball and not be dry or crumbly.
Refrigerate dough for 2 hours or overnight, to make it less sticky.
Preheat oven to 325° F convection (preferred) or 350° F static.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a clean counter or pastry mat by sprinkling more gfJules™ Flour on the surface. Dip cutters into more gfJules™ flour to coat well.
Roll the dough out to 1/8 inch thickness – try not to over-work or warm the dough while rolling. Use cutters to form animal shapes, depressing plungers of cutters with detail, if using. If any dough sticks in the plungers, use a toothpick between cookies to remove dough, then dip the cutters in gfJules Flour again.
Bake in preheated oven for 7-9 minutes, removing when the edges begin to lightly brown.
Makes 60-70 animal crackers.
P.S. – thanks to Rebecca M. who shared that she has been using cutters like these to make graham cracker animal crackers with my gfJules™ Gluten Free Graham Cracker Mix – another easy, great snack idea!
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Big Tree Organic Coconut Nectar - Unrefined Sweetener 11.5oz Bottle (Pack of 2) Select Flavor Below (Amber)
Big Tree Farms Organic Brown Coconut Sugar, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Low Glycemic, Unrefined and Fair Trade, Natural Sweetener, 2 Pound (Packaging May Vary)
Ener-G Egg Replacer -- 16 oz
gfJules Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
R&M International 0434 Party Animals Pastry/Cookie/Fondant Stamper Set, Assorted Designs, 8-Piece Set