Photo by chadmiller / CC BY

Barnum's Animals Boxes

Photo by fornal / CC BY

Animal Crackers with White & Pink Frosting and Sprinkle

Photo by theogeo / CC BY

ANIMAL CRACKER

UNITED KINGDOM (ENGLAND)

19TH CENTURY

 

OTHER NAMES: Circus Crackers, Animals

 

Animal cracker refers to a small cracker or cookie baked in the shape of an animal, usually an animal one might see at a zoo or circus, such as a lion, tiger, bear, or elephant. The most common variety is light-colored and slightly sweet. [1] There are also more varieties like darker chocolate-flavored and colorful frosted animal crackers.

 

The custom of shaping cookies to resemble animals began around 6th or 7th century from the Yule Tribe. [2] For them, it was common to sacrifice animals to the gods during the Julfest ceremonies, in hope that such offerings would bring a mild winter and an early spring; however poor people who could not afford to kill any of their animals gave token sacrifices in the form of animal-shaped breads and cookies. [3]

 

Unlike the Yule, animal crackers actually come from 19th century Victorian England as attractive cookie/biscuit. That was when “crisp biscuits” (sweet and cookie-like biscuit) were very popular and the English would called the ones that shaped like animals “Animals”.

 

During the late 19th century, "Animals" were imported from England to the United States. Due to its popularity and high demand in the US, local manufacture also began their own “Animals”-making business. American businesses like Stauffer’s Biscuit Company, which still exists today, made their first animal crackers in 1871 York, Pennsylvania. [4]

 

Later around 1889 in England, animal crackers were manufactured as marketing promotions for popular entertainment, P.T. Barnum’s Circus. Addition to circus theme, in 1902 animal cracker boxes designed for “Barnum’s Animals” (became “Barnum’s Animal Crackers” in 1948) were also designed for the Christmas season. The marketing strategy was extremely successful and it was a big hit. [5]

 

Today “Barnum’s Animal Crackers” are still sold and its box design became memorable worldwide. [6]

 

BASIC INGREDIENT:Flour, sugar, shortening, corn flour, whey solids, salt, leaving and oil-of-lemon

 

Optional: chocolate, frosting, sprinkle

Stauffer's

Original Animal Crackers

Genesis of Cookies, 16"x20"

Poster that illustrates the origin of cookies with place & time of invention

Cookie Phone Case, black

(iphone 4-7, Samsung Galaxy S4-S7)

Fill your phone with cookies and discover their origin of place and time!

Alchemy of Tea, 16"x20"

Poster that illustrates the beauty of Tea Making

Evolution of Ice Cream, 16"x20"

Ice Cream first appeared in history around 5000 years ago, and how does it evolved over time until today?

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