Animal Crackers

As summer winds down there’s nothing like a cool, refreshing dish of vanilla ice cream.

This sweet dessert is made even better when cute homemade animal crackers are added to the mix.

Blog animal crackers group2

Who doesn’t love animal crackers?  When I was little, my brother, sister and I always looked forward to this occasional treat.  My parents would give each of us our own container of animal crackers in that little red box, with the carnival train picture on the front and the small rope-like handle.

These days, you can still buy a box of animal crackers but it’s just as easy (and a lot more fun) to make your own.

Blog animal crackers eagle2

Before I get to the nuts and bolts of this blog post, allow me to share the inspiration behind it.  My animal cracker baking expedition was inspired by our summer trip to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

It was a fun visit for Cameron and Jordy’s who really enjoyed this perch outside the zoo’s aviary exhibit.

Blog animal crackers box3

OK, let’s get back to the animal crackers.  Throughout this post, I’ll not only walk you through how to make these cute cookies but I’ll also share a really cute packaging idea that you’re going to absolutely flip over.

At the end of this post you can read details about the cookie cutter giveaway.  I’m giving away a brand new box of Williams Sonoma animal cracker cookie cutters.  These are really cute and come in a container that is in the shape of one of those old fashioned circus train cars.

NOTE:  Many Williams-Sonoma stores no longer carry these particular cookie cutters.  If you can’t find them at your local WS, you may be able to find a set on-line or at the Williams-Sonoma Outlet in Leesburg VA which is where I ordered the box for this giveaway.  

Blog animal crackers cookie cutters

There are 5-cookie cutter shapes including a seal, lion, elephant, giraffe and a lion.

These have a special spring-loaded action which creates the authentic-looking impressions in the cookie dough once the cookie is cut out.

 Blog recipe animal crackers

You can use a favorite recipe for your cookies or try this one.  It’s delicious.  While it’s a tad sweeter than the animal crackers you buy, you’ll love the tasty end result.

Download Animal Crackers Recipe here

This PDF (which will create two individual recipe cards) will appear as two pages.  Print Page #1 first onto heavy cardstock.  Reinsert the same page top end first and print Page #2 for a striped backside. 

Trim excess edge and laminate the 4 X 6 cards for durability.

Meanwhile, I drafted Jordy to help in the kitchen.

No problem with that request.  Jordy was perfectly OK with helping out, especially after considering what awaited him on the other side of the oven.

Blog animal crackers jordy2

I think these particular cookie cutters work much better if you dip them in a little bit of flour before each use.

Just press down on the spring a bit to get full flour coverage and then proceed to cut out the cookie dough.

 Blog animal crackers flour

After you cut the cookie out, gently push on the spring-loaded lever while the cutter is still flat on the cutting surface.  This will create the authentic impressions in the top of the cookie.  This part of the spring action requires a very light tough so make sure you don’t push too hard at this point.

Lift cookie cutter off surface and then push the spring lever all the way down and the cookie shape will pop out of the cutter.

Blog animal crackers cutter

One of the nice things about this particular recipe is that the animal crackers don’t expand much during the baking process so you can really load up the baking tray with cutouts.

You’ll get about 60-animal cracker cookies using the recipe included in this post.

Blog animal crackers dough

Talk about a circus parade.  How cute are these all lined up as if they’re actually marching along?  I want to take a quick bite just looking at this photo.

Trust me when I say, everyone in your household will go crazy for these.

Blog animal crackers group

Once all the cookies are baked and cooled they’re ready to be devoured by your eager beavers.

I don’t have a photo of my kids gobbling up these cute cookies but let’s just put it this way… after one bite they looked something like this photo below.

Blog animal crackers zoo2

Let’s move on to the super-adorable packaging for this that fits in perfectly for our animal theme.

First, bag the cookies up in little plastic baggies and tie them off with a twist tie to keep them nice and fresh. I put 5-6 cookies in each baggie.

Blog animal crackers twist ties

You’ll need some ribbon for this.  Plain is OK, but if you can find animal print ribbon that’s so much better for this project.

I found this assorted animal print ribbon at my local JoAnn fabric shop.

Blog animal crackers ribbon

Grab a handful of regular brown paper lunch bags, the ribbon, a pair of scissors and some double-sided tape.

Cut the several strips of the animal print ribbon so that it’s long enough to wrap around a folded-down brown lunch bag.

Blog animal crackers tape

Fill each brown lunch bag with a few of the cookie-filled baggies.

Turn the top down about 1/2 inch and then fold the top of the bag again so that it’s the desired size.

Place the ribbon in the front of the bag and then wrap it around the bottom.

Blog animal crackers bag

Bring both ends of the ribbon  together so they practically meet in the center of the bag.  Carefully press the ribbon so that the double-sided tape adheres to the brown bag as you go.

Leave a 1-inch space between the two ends so that a small area of the brown bag is exposed.

You’ll see why this is important in just a bit but we’re going to begin with labeling the back of the brown bag first.

Blog animal crackers bag2

It’s a good idea to label the contents bag just to make sure recipients know what’s actually inside the bag.  This is especially important if you’re making these for a bake sale or fund-raiser.

Start by printing out several “animal crackers” titles from your computer onto khaki-colored cardstock.

You can download 4 sheets (16 tags) of my labels here: animal crackers

Blog animal crackers computer
Use a large circle punch to punch out each title.  You can add a little extra touch if you like by adding trim around the circle using a gold leafing pen.

Leafing pens can be found at most craft stores.

Blog animal crackers pen3

Staple the circle tag to the back of the brown bag making sure the position of the staple falls in that blank area in the front of the bag.  Even though you’ve taped the ribbon to the bag, this staple also helps hold it firmly in place.

You won’t be able to see the staple in the front of the bag because it will be concealed by the die cut that will be added next.

Blog animal crackers title2

Now let’s turn our attention to the front of the bag.  The blank space in the ribbon will be filled with an adorable, raised die-cut image.  There are loads of die cuts on the market and I love to use them for a touch of whimsy.

You’ll also need some sticky foam lifts, which you can find at most craft stores.

You can see how I used die cuts on a few other projects I featured on this blog if you click here and here and here.

Blog animal crackers die cuts

Die cuts are generally pretty flat looking.  However, you can give them more dimension and definition by adding a little bit of chalk around the edges.

Chalk-shading like this really helps bring the die cuts alive.

Blog animal crackers chalk

After you’ve constructed the die cuts (if there are multiple pieces), adhere the sticky foam to the back of the die cut and then push firmly in place in the center of the bag front to conceal that break in the ribbon.

Blog animal crackers bag8

The sticky foam-lifts definitely adhere much better to the brown paper bag than they do the ribbon.

Pretty cool looking tusks on this elephant, don’t you think?

Blog animal crackers elephant

I think these completed animal cracker bags are just too adorable for words.

Jordy likes them too.

Blog animal crackers bag9

These animal cracker sacks would make perfect party favors.  Of course, they’d also be great as bake sale items.

Make these for your next school or organization fund-raiser and I think you’ll have a big hit on your hands.  Don’t forget the circle tag on the back will let bake sale buyers know what goodies are inside the bag.

Blog animal crackers hands

Meanwhile, since I kicked off this animal cracker blog post with a mention about the National Zoo, I thought I’d leave you with one last photo from our trip.

I love this photo of the Cameron and Jordy because it shows how much they really like each other.

 Blog animal crackers zoo

I must say, while I think my animal cracker cookie bags were cute-I think these two kiddos were even more adorable as they wandered around the zoo hand-in-hand, in search of real lions and tigers and bears, oh my. ♥


To enter the ANIMAL CRACKER COOKIE CUTTER GIVEAWAY, post a comment here between now and Monday-September 13th, 2010 at midnight EST. 

 Blog animal crackers box2Increase your chances of winning by posting a SEPARATE entry for any of the following: 

1.  Tweet about this contest. 

2.  Post about this contest on your blog. 

3.  Add an I follow celebrate-CREATIVITY button to your blog.  


  • Denise~Paper Ponderings

    I “liked” on facebook. And I forgot to mention that your clever way of packaging the cookies is amazing.

  • Denise~Paper Ponderings

    Cutest cookie cutters I’ve ever seen. I will be keeping my eyes open for these!!!

  • Nancy Sue Phillips

    Hello from the Washington DC area! What a perfect giveaway! Would love to try them with my 3 year old son and our our family’s glutenfree cookie recipe. If I don’t win these, I might just have to add this to Santa’s wish list for my stocking this Christmas. But I’d rather win, and not have to worry about trying not to be “naughty!”
    Thank you again for this creative giveaway!
    nsue21702 at gmail dot com

  • Melony Bradley

    Lisa- you make the simplest ideas super with your special touches. I loved this post and all the yummy photos

  • Sarah Froese

    You are so creative! I love those little cookie cutters, but the whole package and process is just amazing!

  • Birgit

    I just put a photo and link to your blog candy on the sidebar of my blog — gotta spread the word! 🙂
    — Birgit

  • Birgit

    Oh wow, Lisa, I have never seen cookie cutters like these in Germany. They are so neat — and I LOVE the packages you made. So very professional — just perfect.
    Thanks for the chance to win such great cookie cutters. Our neighbors’ little daughter will be one year old in November. I am sure the little one would LOVE cookies shaped like animals. 🙂
    Greetings from Munich,

  • melissa @ the inspired room

    Ok, super super adorable. Top to bottom! Love it all!!! xo

  • Julie Size

    Yeah – enter me please! My Grand daughter would love to make these with me!

  • Violet

    How precious!!! I hope I win!! (I like you on FB =)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog too!

  • Camille

    What a great post! I love the way you tell the story and incorporate the pictures. Your blog posts always leave me wanting more. You have a beautiful family. God bless you all.

  • kerri

    your homemade animal crackers and cute packaging look WAY better than the ones you buy in the store- altho i love those too!

  • Berta

    Wow, another great post! Those cookies sound yummy, even if you just cut them in a circle 🙂 I love the packaging idea also! And it looks like the kids had a great day at the Zoo.

  • Francine

    Oh my, I want to make these crackers for me! But I think Kieran would like them too. Another awesome project!

  • kellie

    0h this is a special giveaway- these are amazing and my 4 kiddos would LOVE to make them! thanks 🙂

  • Michelle

    I LOVE the pictures and craft/gift ideas here! I would LOVE to wim this “Oh so cute” cookie cutter set! Thank you for including me!!!

  • Janet Robinson

    This is a fabulous idea!! Those cookie cutters are perfect.
    P.S. I love the ice cream dish photo, now I’m craving desert. Yum!

  • Annabel Orchard

    ..and your button is on my sidebar here too!
    bellgirlsblog [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Annabel Orchard

    …and I posted about the giveaway here:
    bellgirlsblog [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Annabel Orchard

    Oh wow, my son would love to make these, he’s very keen on giraffes (and so am I!). bellgirlsblog [at] gmail [dot] com

  • Bethany

    Ooooo, i love those cookie cutters! What a fun family project!

  • christie

    What a fun idea! Thanks for sharing!

  • Teri

    Hi Lisa! So happy to find your lovely blog by way of SharonK’s blog in Australia. Your work is truly wonderful and inspiring. I can’t wait to make the animal-cracker cookies with my 6-year old granddaughter. She loves cooking and baking with me. We will be sure to look for the cookie cutters since we are just a short distance from the William Sonoma Outlet in Leesburg.

  • Karyli

    What a great tutorial and fun give away. I just found your blog and now I “like” you on FB.

  • Karyli

    Oh, I love animal cookies. What fun this would be. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lorraine Lewis

    so darn cute- i love it!

  • kathi

    You never cease to amaze me how you go the extra mileS in your crafts…here, the packaging…thought the ribbon was cute, but then you did the label and THEN you did the animal cutouts and THEN the shading so they looked so real…I’d have never thought beyond the ribbon 🙂

  • sherry

    YUM YUM!! Super clever packaging for some very yummy animal cookies. This is such a fun post and great photos of the young peeps. Happy and Safe Labor Day Holiday…

  • Deborah A

    Who doesn’t love Animal Crackers and now I can make my own. Perfect!!! Your presentation never ceases to amaze me!

  • Demetria

    This is an awesome giveaway!
    THanks for the idea, recipe, everything. This is my first visit to your site. You were recommended by SharonK of Australia
    Have a great day and thanks for the chance

  • Plz16

    Share your giveaway on my tweet page 🙂

  • Plz16

    I “Like” you on Facebook 🙂

  • grace

    What a great idea … wish I saw this before my son’s first day of school, but I will use this idea for another occasion. Thanks for sharing!

  • Doina

    These cookie cutters are so cute!

  • Rebecca ~ Simply Stated

    Hi Lisa, It’s my first time here…I stopped by way of The Creative Connection…I must say that these look adorable and the recipe sounds delicious. I’ll definitely be trying it. Have a great weekend. I’ll be back ~ Rebecca

  • beatrice

    love these and your blog!

  • Peggy

    Wow, I can’t believe how cute and delicious these cookies look!!

  • Southern Lady's Vintage

    Your little animal cookie packaging is adorable and perfect for the cookies! Great tutorial!

  • Staci

    Hi Lisa! I may have to make these cookies for a class math lesson! I’m adding your following button to my site.

  • Leslie

    My goodness Lisa you have a wonderful blog! Lots of fun ideas and your children are so cute!!! These cookies look awesome.
    Take care,

  • Terri

    Hi Lisa,
    I’m always inspired after reading your blog.
    I bake almost every weekend. We have many food allergies in my home so I make most treats from scratch. I’ll try out your recipe soon w/ some tweaking of course. I can’t have all purpose flour & my son can’t have the butter. Thanks for the positive creative inspiration.

  • Denise

    I am so glad I found your blog! I no longer have younger kids…but we still love animal crackers! I can’t wait to try this…and I would love to win the set of cookie cutters. Thanks so much for doing this!

  • Nanette Butler

    Hi Lisa, I really enjoy your blog. You are SO creative in so many ways. I wonder do you dream these ideas when you sleep? or do you ever sleep? ha. ha. Your kids are so darn cute. I have enjoyed watching them grow up. I really like to see that they like each other!! I love the animal cookies. I used to eat those same cookies in the red box when I was a child too. I love the packaging as well. I liked the monkey business blog too.
    I would love to win the cookie cutters. It would be fun to bring them to the doctors’ office where I work. thanks 🙂

  • Orianne

    The packaging for these animal cookies are adorable. I love all the details and effort you put into them. (A girl after my own heart!)
    Anyone, child or not, would be delighted to receive a bag.
    By the way, I am a fellow Flyer, which is where I first saw your blog. At the time I did not have a blog of my own but have since started one. What a lovely coincidence now to have found you here on Holly Becker’s e-course BYW. I have added you as a blog I now follow and look forward to future posts.
    I must also add, that your step-by-step photos of your projects are very helpful, especially when you show us the products you use. Living in Europe, knowing these names makes it easier to locate and find similar items.

  • Jennifer

    Oh my goodness… these are so adorable! I have never seen anyone make homemade animal crackers… that is fantastic! 🙂
    Thanks for your sweet visit today!
    ~Jennifer – Fellow BYWer

  • Jocelyn

    Lisa these cookie cutters are so cute! And I am amazed at how quickly your children are growing up! Great pictures.

  • Iris

    Those cookies look yummy and I’m sure I’ll be making some of those with the cute cookie cutters!

  • chella

    hi there! i am so excited to have found your blog, what an amazing inspiration you are! i am going to peruse your back posts and see what i have missed! please count me in for your giveaway – i have 4 kiddos who would love these authentic yet homemade animal cookies – love them! thank you so much for sharing – peace and love, chella

  • Sarah

    So adorable Lisa! I am definitely going to make these for our next Bake Sale.

  • Charmaine McLaughlin

    Step aside Martha Stewart! Lisa’s in the house! Girl do you ever sleep? How cute are the bags and cookies?!! Can’t wait to see you in Minneapolis at The Creative Connection!

  • Meaghan V

    I don’t know which I love the best:
    A) Baking
    B) Eating the results of said baking
    C) WS, I stalk their website and bookmark all the tools I MUST own!
    D) Cute pkging ideas
    E) Your blog which is really a combo of A,C, D and then some! 😉

  • Sheri Maple

    This is a wonderful idea. I do not know what I love more the crackers or the decorative bag.

  • Julie B

    Hi Lisa. I’ve written a piece on my blog about your post and your site. Thanks for all of the inspiration.

  • Suzie Button

    I added your giveaway and a link to it info on the sidebar of my blog too! Suzie

  • Suzie Button

    I added your blog button on my sidebar.

  • Suzie Button

    I joined your Facebook too!

  • Suzie Button

    This is the cutest! My 1 1/2 year old grandbaby Madison would LOVE these homemade cookies! Thanks for the chance to win! Suzie

  • Michaele Sommerville

    Those are wonderful- and how awesome that so many can be baked at once!
    I tweeted your post, and of course I like your page, I was the first person to join it on FB!
    I’m so glad you created a button- I’ll add it to my blog tonight- and I’m looking forward to linking back to you in one of my blog posts for this week.
    LOVE those bags too!

  • Jen R

    Wow..those are the best animal cookie cutters I have ever seen! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • annette

    Thank you Lisa for such an inspiring cookie post! I would love to win the set – the cookies come out so beautifully.

  • Danielle

    ADORABLE!!!! I haven’t been able to have animal crackers since I found out I am allergic to dairy and eggs, but now that I have the recipe, I’ll be able to make my own with replacements! Now all I need are the cookie cutters! 😉

  • Pam

    Oh my …they are soooo cute!!!

  • Lee Ann L.

    I just became a fan of celebrate creativity on facebook. 🙂

  • Lee Ann L.

    I tweeted about this giveaway. I couldn’t find you to follow though 🙁
    My userid on Twitter is dlk3265.

  • Lee Ann L.

    These are too cute! I’d love to have some to make cookies for my young nieces and nephews.

  • Valerie Hart

    Too darn adorable Lisa! Love the photos of your kids making the cookies! Thanks for sharing! Great job! xoxo Valerie

  • Julie B

    Can’t believe it took me this long to LIKE you on FB! Glad to have found you.

  • Julie B

    Lisa, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. Timely, too. My youngest will have his 2nd b’day in a month and he is really into zoo animals right now (giraffes, especially). I have got to get some of these cutters — may have to make a trip to Leesburg! Really beautiful and inspirational as always. Thanks.

  • Kristin Dudish

    I love these – edible art… Yum!!!
    (And you have some pretty adorable helpers too!)

  • Rashida

    K. Can my jaw drop any lower to the floor. How oh my goodness cute are these?!?! Such a lovely idea. Thank you for sharing and hosting a giveaway to boot! ^_~

  • Allie

    You. are. amazing. My grandma always brought me a box of those animal crackers when she came to visit – oh how I loved them! This is the darlingest project, Lisa! Love the pics of Cameron and Jordy, looks like they had great fun at the zoo!

  • Beatriz Jennings

    OMG! GIRL! I just love this post thanks for sharing!! 🙂

  • Kisha

    I just proudly added your blinkie to my blog!

  • Heather @ Not a DIY Life

    Oh my word, those cookies & cookie cutters are the CUTEST!!! My daughter would love them because she loves helping me in the kitchen. Thanks for the giveaway!
    (And your packaging idea is adorable too so creative!)

  • Laurel Harper

    I’ve added this button to my blog!

  • Laurel Harper

    I “like” this on Facebook!

  • Laurel Harper

    I blogged about this!

  • Laurel Harper

    I tweeted this!

  • Laurel Harper

    Great giveaway; I’m leaving a comment here to be entered!

  • Angela

    Those are too cute!

  • Kim

    I started following you on Facebook… woo hooo

  • JenK

    I love how your packaging ideas are just as cute as the cookies themselves! Beautiful!

  • Kim

    I LOVE these animal cracker cookies. My grandkids wouuld FLIP over htem…. I hope I win

  • Debra

    As always a very cute idea! Love the die-cut packaging – makes them special.

  • Kisha

    Oh do I remember my granddad always bringing me these treats (I think I liked the box more than the crackers). These cookie cutters are awesome!! And so is your packaging. Thanks for always sharing your projects in such detail and thanks “BUNCHES” for the give-a-way.

  • Damaris

    Lisa, YOU are such an INSPIRATION!! I love all of your attention to details!! Please add me to your giveaway!! XXOO, Damaris

  • anita

    I love those cookie cutters! Yes, please include me in this great give away – thank you!

  • Karla

    Genius! I never thought about making my own animal crackers and these cookie cutters are obviously perfect.

  • Vicki

    I appreciate your detail, detail, detail. Thanks for another great idea. Looking forward the cookie cutters…

  • Thimbleanna

    Those cookie cutters are adorable Lisa! You’re always so clever — your packaging is super cute too. And then there’s Jordy and Cameron — a perfect post!!!