Iced Animal Cookies

Go Bold With Butter

There’s been a special place in my heart for baking ever since I received my first baking kit as a little girl. The kit included a mini pink rolling pin, 6 or 7 tiny animal cookie cutters, and a recipe for shortbread cookies, which I made any chance I got.

With Mom nearby, I’d cream together the simple shortbread dough made from butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, salt and flour, then sneak a taste before sending it to the fridge to chill. After rolling the dough out thin, cutting out a horse, monkey, or elephant, I’d slide the cookies into the oven, to bake until golden brown.

A duck-shaped cookie jar was the final resting place for the cooled animal cookies dunked in a light pink powdered sugar icing, which my brothers and I plucked one or two from all week long, for a quick, small snack after school.

Crispy, not too sweet, and petite in size, Iced Animal Cookies are the perfect after-school snack to tide kids over before dinner time. Made with pantry staples, and baked and iced in under an hour, kids old enough to use the oven can even make them all by themselves.

Iced Animal Cookies
Makes 24 cookies


3/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 drop red food coloring

Colored sugar or sprinkles, optional


In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until smooth, about 1 minute. Add vanilla and salt then beat to combine. Spoon the flour into the butter and sugar mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, mix until completely combined. Shape dough into a disc with your hands, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then roll to ¼-inch thickness between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Cut with mini animal shaped cookie cutters then place onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Shape scraps into a ball then re-roll and cut. Bake cookies for 10-11 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Immediately transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.

For the icing:
Stir together powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk. Add remaining milk, a couple teaspoons at a time, until icing is thin. Add food coloring then stir to combine. When the cookies are cool enough to handle, dip the tops into the icing then place back on the wire rack to harden completely. Sprinkle on colored sugar or sprinkles while icing is still wet.

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Use softened butter for cookies and cakes.

Bringing butter to room temperature helps it incorporate better with other ingredients.

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2 thoughts on “Iced Animal Cookies

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  1. Wendy Hampton said:

    These were just what I was looking for. Buttery and sweet with that touch of vanilla. I love the glaze but might like it even better with some butter in it. 😉