Sweetapolita Circus Animal Cookie Recipe!

elephant sugar cookie recipe

If blog years were like dog years, I’d be an old lady blogger woofin’ away like a crotchety ancient pup. I’ve been blogging since 2008 – which seems like a century ago! But back in the early days, I met some pretty sweet (hehe) people online – including the one and only, frostingly gorgeous, ruler of spectacularly colorful cakes, Rosie of Sweetapolita! 

sweetapolita baking book

Rosie has just published her first book – a brightly hued, dazzling book bursting with colour and Rosie’s signature beautified vintage style. From watercolour cakes to gold flecks to edible chalk recipes and how to make your own sprinkles (Rosie is sprinkles-obsessed!), PLUS all of Rosie’s perfected cake and frosting recipes, this book will win you over with a rainbow unicorn sugar kiss. Plus, there are tons of cute projects you can make with your kids, or a gaggle of close girlfriends! Click here for a visual preview of The Sweetapolita Bakebook … and you MUST check out Rosie’s “blog hop” featuring a MEGA sweet giveaway of Rosie’s favourite baking goodies and sugary cute products.

elephant sugar cookies

Growing up in Canada, it was always a pretty BIG DEALIO for our family to go down to the States for little shopping trips or holidays. Driving down from our hometown of Vancouver to Seattle, Washington meant staying at the Doubletree Inn with its floral bedcovers and little soaps, which meant piles of BACON and pancakes for buffet breakfast, murky green indoor pool of FUN, and being right next door to Toys R Us. Extreme heaven for children. Plus – gas station stops meant eyeing out the hordes of colourful, chemical, waxy delicious candies, chocolates and extra salty chips we could never get in Canada. Cool Ranch Doritos was a BIG DEAL, guys! And … finding, and glomping on forever, to MOTHER’S CIRCUS ANIMAL COOKIES. Waxy! Sweet! Pink! Circus-y! We’d pop them into our mouths and crunch away til our teeth felt gritty from sprinkles and the tops of our mouths were coated in, well, coating.

elephant sugar cookies

When I saw this circus animal cookie recipe in Rosie’s new book, I knew I had to try ’em. These babies are crispy and oaty, not too sweet (except i drenched them in glaze because I am a glaze-maniac – glaziac?) and generously splattered in non-pareil style rainbow sprinkles. Perfect for a circus party, sez me – or to sit around and crunch away on.

Frosted Circus Animal Cookies

2 dozen medium sized animal cookies

For The Cookies

  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (I blended regular oats into flour using my food processor)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 large egg

For The Glaze

  • 2½ cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 5-6 tablespoons of milk
  • pink food colouring
  • non pareil style rainbow sprinkles

Make The Cookies

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and the lemon extract, beating until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to the lowest setting and gradually add the flour mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, pressing it into a large disc. (I divided the mix into two and had two discs).
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  7. Unwrap the chilled dough and put it on a large piece of parchment paper with a little flour for dusting if dough gets a bit sticky.
  8. Cut out animal shapes – I used elephant cookie cutters!
  9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  11. Bake until cookies are a light golden colour, about 18 minutes.
  12. Cool on baking sheets and let cool for 10 minutes.
  13. Carefully move cookies onto wire racks to cool completely before glazing.

Make The Glaze

  1. Place the icing sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Slowly add the milk, one tablespoon at a time until you achieve desired consistency. I like my glaze a little thicker; if the glaze becomes too thin, add a little more icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
  3. Add a dab of pink gel colour if desired.
  4. Sprinkle away while the glaze is still wet!
  5. Let dry; cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

circus animal elephant sugar cookies

Want to win your own copy of The Sweetapolita Bakebook? Leave a comment below with your FAVE GROCERY STORE JUNK FOOD! Winner picked at glorious random! CONTEST NOW CLOSED. Thanks to everyone who entered! You can also order Rosie’s beautiful book through a link on her website here! Congratulations, my sweet friend Rosie!! You rocked your cake book so hard, you are so inspiring – and you should be so very proud. xo Lyndsay

53 Responses to “Sweetapolita Circus Animal Cookie Recipe!”

  1. Annie

    Right now I am loving those Cadbury Mini Eggs! I have to buy the small/individual-sized bags so I don’t end up eating a whole pound of them!

  2. Michelle @ Hummingbird High

    OMG, you don’t know how obsessed I am with these cookies. I can’t ever buy a bag, because I devour them in a day. True story.

    Also, I love Rosie! I’ve been such a fan of her work for so long; she is a cake goddess! I’m so excited for her cookbook!

  3. Courtenay

    Umm.. HELLO! Big League Chew, from Point Roberts, Washington, marketplace. Shredded EXTREME flavoured chewing gum. Came in a baggy suspiciously similar to a baggy full of chewing tobacco. Oh, the pretend treat foods we were allowed as children! (But so, so tasty!!)
    Yay to sweetapolita!! Fool proof recipes! Even for those of us, not toooooo successful in the cake and pastry department! :p

  4. Lisa

    Oh man, wine gums are a problem for me. Step one, seek and destroy the black ones. Step two, finish the bag. So good.

  5. alexandra robertson

    M & ms will be my downfall foreverrrr especially since the crispy ones have returned

  6. Jaime Aguilar Romano

    My super guilty pleasure is the sugar cookies from walgreens, when I’m in a rush and have no time for baking I just buy those to satisfy the cravings, though I have to admit that I love them.

  7. SaraC

    My favorite grocery store junkfood are Redvines. I can eat an un-healthy amount of those and still want more!

  8. Liz

    Chocolate Covered Pretzels….blink and the whole bag is gone….

  9. Amy Phillips

    Hostess powdered donuts. I just cant help myself and will totally eat the entire bag!

    1. Anne @ Sugar Baby Bakes

      Me too – I can’t have them in my house, because I’ll devour them in a day!

      Have you had their cinnamon sugar powdered donuts? Heaven.

  10. Valerie

    I am always tempted by the little Barnum circus animal cookies that come in the box with the string. It’s a packaging thing.

  11. Antonia Ehrhardt

    Any type of sour gummy will always be my downfall!

  12. Lillian C

    How fun you’re on the blog hop with Rosie. It’s nice to find another blog that has so many wonderful recipes, like your macarons. I’m still afraid to try to make them. I’m with Michelle there who commented about the frosted animal cookies. I could also devour an entire bag in one sitting! How great to have a homemade version. Just started following you on Pinterest.

  13. karen

    Oreos are my favorite grocery store junk food guilty pleasure!

  14. angela massie

    well i not for sure maybe lindt dark chocolate with sea salt

  15. Alide


    I LOVE m&m’s! :) I have a recipe for the most yummy m&m cookies ever!

  16. Dannielle King

    Red licorice with the chocolate centre. Luckily you can buy them individually or a whole packet would be gone in a flash.

  17. Renee

    Love the Hostess white powdered sugar donuts!

  18. Bryn

    Mike n Ike’s. Soooo much love

  19. Elizabeth

    Cadbury cream eggs. . .especially this time of year!

  20. Jessica

    I love York peppermint patties!

  21. Erin M.

    I love frosted animal cookies! Reese’s puff cereal is another one that I haven’t had in years but remember fondly from childhood!

  22. Camille J


  23. Janene

    My favorite grocery store junk food is definitely Swedish Fish! Or really any kind of gummy candy, but I just can’t seem to stay away from the Fish! :)

  24. Kimiko

    Always and forever ringalos… though I haven’t had them in years! P.s. So happy to be reading your blog and knowing you are on the mend. Lots of love and strength to you and your family!

  25. Kristy

    My favorite treat would be oreos. I love them .

  26. Lisa

    Red jujubes & red licorice…yummmm

  27. Stephanie

    Your post brought back such great memories of my family and I doing the same thing. From Toronto, Canada to anywhere we could drive to in the States (Cape Cod, Chicago, Cleveland etc). Along the way, we would stop at grocery stores to pick up things we couldn’t get up North. My favourite items to get, to this day, remain the limited edition Oreos. Whether they were cake flavoured, ice cream flavoured, cookie flavoured… It didn’t matter! We didn’t have them in Canada and they became a must try, right now! After demolishing several different packs between my siblings and I, we would get to choose which ones we want to bring back home. Sometimes they made it over the border untouched, often times they would have already been eaten before we even packed the car! Thank you for bringing me back to my childhood with this post. Great blog! Keep it up!

    1. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land

      Stephanie – YOU WON! Please email me at lyndsay (at) cococake (dot) com with your mailing address! congrats!! XOX

  28. Jen Hernandez

    I can’t stop eating yogurt covered pretzels if they are anywhere near me! I’m particularly into the peppermint ones at the moment. SO Addicting!

  29. Faby

    I love chocolate chip cookies from trader joes.! :)

  30. Mandi

    Obsessed with mini eggs. They used to only have them at Easter so my temptations only had to be curbed around that time. But now everytime I go through the checkout, those little purple bags are staring me in the face!

  31. Shelby

    I have lots…lol. A recent fave is the Snyders brand hot buffalo wing pretzel pieces. I do love those frosted animal crackers too though!

  32. Asma

    My favorite grocery store junk food is cheetos. Can’t beat em (of the flamin’ hot variety)

  33. Tiffany

    I love the Circus Animal cookies and the chocolate, vanilla and strawberry wafer cookies. :)

  34. Michelle @ MakeMeCake.Me

    Saw this post, needed fast treat for my daughter’s preschool teachers, made with stuff already stocked in the cupboard, and LOVED them! Nom nom nom! Rosie’s book is already a success by me! :) Thanks for sharing, Lyndsay!

  35. Alisha

    Raspberry Zingers. YUM! I don’t buy them, because I would eat the entire box. Everything in moderation. EXCEPT Raspberry Zingers.

  36. Christine

    M&M’s – expecially peanut ones :)

  37. Nancy Cavagnaro

    I love Nilla Wafers…

  38. Danielle

    Little Debbie Chocolate Chip Cakes

  39. molly yeh

    wahhhhhh these cookies are the BEST!!!! my sister and i could destroy an entire bag of them on road trips. i love this giant version. these elephants are adorbs, i want to cuddle with them.

  40. Therese

    I used to eat the frosted animal cookies ALL the time as a kid. These certainly bring me back to those days!

  41. Gina

    Usually 3 Musketeers, but on occasion Reese’s peanut butter cups – the large ones!

  42. Lydia

    If we’re talking junk food treats from childhood, I’ve got to say those Hostess fruit pies. Do you remember the ads for them in Archie comics?

  43. charity boehm

    I LOVE Circus Peanuts! I can finish off a bag in a day…how bad is that? Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  44. Anne

    My favorite grocery store junk food is Cinnamon Teddy Grahams if I want something sweet or Chex Mix if I want something more salty!

  45. Emanuele

    Thanks for sharing. We made these for the kids at Easter, they loooooved them. Rosie’s book is what everyone should have in their kitchen, it looks great and her cakes are so yummy

  46. celine

    Mini eggs, oreos, reese’s peanut butter cups. Anything really – I have a real sweet tooth (hence the weight gain!).

  47. Amanda Vuu

    Lyndsay! These are just about the gosh darn cutest thing I’ve think I’ve seen. I’ve had a hankering for circus animals!

  48. Jennine

    Bought those pink and white animal crackers “for the kids” Ate most of them. Going to enter something like yours for the California state fair in July. Usually enter 20 things

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  50. Pepikat

    Every time I cross the border I have to find Hostess Snoballs – especially the pink ones…I usually buy 4 or 5 packages but they don’t last … and Neeco wafers!! Yum

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