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From a young age, I have dedicated my life to one creation-- the homemade cookie. From the combination of my mother, a brilliant cook with zero interest in baking anything other than meat or dumplings (which makes her an even more amazing woman) and my dad's addiction to chocolate chips and his extreme measures of not sharing them with his three beautiful children (read: put them on the highest shelf), the homemade cookie was rarely in our house. Frankly, store bought cookies don't cut it for this cookie monster. In fact, cookies can't even be in the same aisle as baking supplies, that's how far they are from satisfying the real craving for cookies.

The first batch of homemade cookies I remember were by the hands of my older sister with help from me. She was finally tall enough to get the chair and reach over the refrigerator to grab my father's stash of chocolate chips. The elusive treasure had a map on how to achieve twenty four delicious discs of butter, sugar, flour and chocolate. We carefully put them together to make the round glops spotted with chocolate. After their perfectly timed rest in the oven, we pulled out the hot cookie sheet of golden discs holding rich semi-sweet gooeyness. I found bliss.

Cookies will never go out of style. As long as the basic elements have come together, even the most hideous of cookies get eaten. So after flipping through the wonderful book, The Cookiepedia, I knew I found a kindred spirit in Stacy. She gets it. I made these animal cookies with a little frosting and some non-pareils sprinkled on that. The cinnamon will make people ask you what your secret ingredient is. It's a great cookie for kids' parties or adults who are trying to make up for the lost sweets from their childhood.

Recipe Notes: Don't be alarmed if your cookies come out a little crispy. They will soften up if they sit out over night especially with frosting. Store these in an air tight container for about a week-- if you can keep them in your house that long.

Animal Cookies (from The Cookiepedia)

Frosting, food dye, and decorating sprinkles. Pulling together this simple dough is practically as easy as opening a box, but it’s loads more fun. The dough has a subtle cinnamon flavor, just like the store-bought version.

Makes: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

¾  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg

½  teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ¼   cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F

Mix:

Beat the butter for a minute on its own, then add the sugar a little at a time. Take a break to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Beat in the egg, then the vanilla, until both are fully incorporated. Time for the dry ingredients: Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and add to the butter mixture half at a time. It might take a while to form a dough. Keep mixing!

Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface and shape it into a disk. Chill it for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Bake:

When you’re ready to bake, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and place them on parchmentpaper-lined sheets 1 ½  inches apart. If the dough is soft, stick the sheets in the freezer for 15 minutes (or in the fridge for 30). Then bake the cookies until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Frost when completely cooled.

Variation:

Tie-Dye Animals

Divide the dough in half before chilling. Add a  few drops red or blue food coloring to one half and knead the dough to incorporate. Add a few drops green or blue food coloring to the other half and incorporate. Recombine the doughs, pressing your fingers through them just enough so the colors start to blend together, but don’t fully mix. Chill, roll, cut, and bake your tie-dyed creations.