I have a collection of little, animal shaped cutters that had been waiting patiently for far too long to be used, so I jumped at the chance to make the Animal Cookies. The dough is surprisingly easy to work with, and it doesn’t spread much while baking. It’s made with canola oil, maple syrup, almond butter, and vanilla extract. After mixing those ingredients, whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, sea salt, and baking soda were added. The dough was easily rolled on a floured surface and cut into shapes. I tested baking some of the cut cookies immediately and chilling some before baking. It was barely noticeable that the cookies that were baked immediately had spread just slightly more than those that were chilled first. They bake into crunchy, delightful, little cookies that keep well for several days. They’re sweet and nutty from the maple syrup and almond butter, and right away, they became an addictive snack.
There’s an art to eating animal cookies. You can start by biting off the head and work your way around the cookie to the legs. With these, we had a little fun trying guess what each animal was supposed to be. The cutters I have are cute, but a few of the shapes are a little difficult to identify. There are fish and ducks and what I think are bunnies. One shape I interpreted as a pony and another as a puppy. The kitty cat shape didn’t work so well as it baked into a blob, but the fox shape was fun since you can bite off the tail. Mostly, these cookies were a delight because of the flavors of maple, cinnamon, and almond butter. And, now I can’t wait to try more recipes with whole grains and natural sweeteners.
Recipe reprinted from Honey and Oats with permission from Sasquatch Books.
These cookies are rich sans the butter. The dough is soft, pliable, and easy for kids to roll out. Be sure to have enough flour on your work surface so you can lift the cut-out cookies.
1/2 cup canola oil
1⁄2 cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup
1⁄4 cup nut butter (choose your favorite)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, or 1 cup einkorn flour and 1 cup whole- wheat pastry
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, maple syrup, nut butter, and vanilla until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. In a separate medium bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. With the mixer on the lowest speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough is formed.
Roll the dough out on a well-floured work surface to a1⁄4-inch thickness. Using animal-shaped cutters, cut cookies and place them on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are golden and firm to touch, 12 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Cool the cookies on the sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks or flattened paper bags to cool completely.
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