Monday, July 9, 2012

Mock Mother's Circus Animal Cookies

Mother's Circus Animal Cookies

The other day I subjected my loving boyfriend to my high school cheerleading scrapbook video. I'm not entirely certain what I thought I was going to accomplish by showing it to him, but, that's what I did.

I'm pretty sure he loved it.

He did.

Anyway, I then spent an hour or so looking at old pictures, remarking about how "skinny I was in high school" and how "I still look like a little kid" (I do), and texting a friend from home about the "good old days." Oh nostalgia, how I love and loathe thee.

Animal Cookies
(I, er, accidentally dropped the cookie that was formerly in the right bottom corner. Yeah. I dropped it.)

Speaking of nostalgia, can we talk about Mother's Circus Animal Cookies? You know, those pink and white frosted, rainbow sprinkled, animal-shaped delights. I went on a mad hunt for them around Atlanta soon after the aforementioned reminiscence. Much to my dismay, I could not find them anywhere. This seemed suspect, so I took my hunt online.

During my research, I learned that Mother's went bankrupt some years ago and Kellogg's now owns them (according to other Mother's fans, the Kellogg's version just isn't the same). I also learned that, although you can buy them online, Mother's cookies aren't sold in Georgia. In fact, they're only sold in 22 states. Which explains why no one I know in Atlanta seemed to understand the reference when I made my own version of Mother's cookies. (And why this post may be lost on some of you as well.) Such a sad, deprived childhood that must have been!

Mother's Circus Animal Cookies

Aside from the absence of the original's waxy exterior, these taste so much like the original Mother's. They're nostalgia baked.

And nostalgia tastes good.

Mock Mother's Circus Animal Cookies
(Makes a whole mess of 2-inch animal shaped cookies. I didn't count, but I'd guess it makes at least 100.)

226 g (2 sticks) butter, softened
150 g granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. butter flavoring
1/2 tsp. almond extract
300 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
pinch salt
16 oz. white chocolate
Pink or red food coloring
Rainbow nonpareils

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, butter flavoring, and almond extract and mix until incorporated.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. With the mixer on low, incorporate the flour mixture in two additions, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Mix just until incorporated. Form the dough into a disc, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Remove the dough from the fridge and set out at room temperature for 20 minutes. Position two oven racks close together in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Separate the dough into four sections and roll each out separately to 1/8 inch thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut animal shapes out of the dough. Place cookies 1 inch apart on the parchment-lined sheets and bake until lightly golden on the edges, approximately 10-12 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate in 10-second intervals in the microwave or place over a double boiler. Using a fork, dip each cookie in the chocolate until completely coated. (Once you're halfway through the cookies, add food coloring to the chocolate to the desired pinkness and finish coating the cookies.) Place on parchment paper, sprinkle with nonpareils, and let dry.

For quicker drying or if you live somewhere warm, like me, place cookies in the fridge to dry. Cookies will keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days. I kept mine in the fridge to keep them safe from the warm weather we've been having here.

Mother's Circus Animal Cookies


  1. Oh my gosh I loved these cookies as a kid! Def going to have to try them sometime.

    1. I know, I loved them as a kid too! I had no idea that they were only sold in certain states. Luckily, Texas was one of them.

  2. How pretty! They look just like the real thing. And probably taste better! These would be perfect for a party. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I must admit, they might taste just slightly better than the real thing. Less waxy!

  3. O.M.G.

    I wept tears of sadness when disappeared from grocery store shelves. In fact, sometimes I still hunt them down on the cookie aisle, praying they secretly have come back to life in Georgia. Maybe with your recipe, I will find Mother's Circus happiness again ;)

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi there! I just found your blog through the comment you left on mine, and I'm glad I did - it's lovely! I love making favorite childhood treats from scratch as well, and these little treasures look delicious. :-)

  5. I hate it when companies do that! It makes me feel so old...

  6. I am tempted to try to add raisins to these cookies and use only the white coating to replicate the long-lost iced raisin cookies!

    1. Oooooo you might be onto something there!!