Thursday, February 25, 2010


"The countenances of children, like those of animals, are masks, not faces, for they have not yet developed a significant profile of their own." - w.h. auden

images via ghostinsnow

Back in the mid-19th century factories made it possible for crisp biscuits, or cookies, to be made into fancy shapes and became popular in Victorian England. Animal-shaped cookies were simply called "animals" and imported to America until bakers starting producing them domestically. It's believed that the popularity of P.T. Barnum's traveling circus contributed to the continued production and demand for animal-shaped cookies. When the National Biscuit Company (aka Nabisco) first introduced "animals" to the American public in 1902, their version was called "Barnum's Animals". The "crackers" were cookies formed in the shapes of various circus animals and packed in a box decorated like a circus train. They were originally marketed as a seasonal item for Christmas, the colorful box manufactured with its own string so that it could be hung as a tree ornament. It wasn't long before Animal Crackers became a part of the American scene. Nabisco produces about 7 million Animal Cracker cookies per day. That's a whole lotta animal fun.

Animal Cracker Pie
2 boxes animal crackers, crushed
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups whipped cream
25 more animal crackers for decoration
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix the crushed animal crackers with the baking powder and chopped nuts.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff and gradually add the sugar and vanilla.
  4. Fold in the egg white mixture with the dry ingredients.
  5. Pour mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. After the pie has cooled, top with whipped cream and decorate with animal crackers.

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