Circus Animal Cookies are back!

Well, they’ve been back since last year. . . the little pink or white icing-coated animal cookies covered with multi-colored sprinkles from Mother’s Cookies! Not to be confused with Barnum’s Animal Crackers from Nabisco – which even though they come in a cute little fire-engine red rectangular box imprinted like a train car of caged performing savages beast – contained very boring uniformly biscuit-colored crackers.

I loved these Circus Animal cookies when I was a kid, because of the pop-colors that were precisely designed to appeal to kids like me. (I also preferred donuts covered in multi-colored sprinkles.) I used to like trying to scrape off the icing coating with my teeth, which was harder than scraping off the center off an Oreo, because the pink/white icing layer was much thinner.

What was even cooler what that you could see the Mother’s Cookies factory was in the industrial part of Oakland as you rode on BART, complete with the red and purple roof. Unfortunately, you couldn’t smell the cookies baking while on BART (as opposed to driving on I-880, where you can smell fresh bread being baked in a nearby factory).

In time I stopped eating the cookies. The pink and white imitation fondant was too garish. I outgrew sprinkles (I now prefer donuts that are just sugarglazed, or when reckless, chocolate glazed.) I hardly eat commercial-supermarket cookies, because I’m an organic, read-the-labels, all-natural, no artificial ingredients, no-preservatives holier-than-thou locavore. (Smirk)

Mother’s Cookies struggled, perhaps in part due to consumers like me whose tastes evolved, or mismanagement. They shut down a couple of years ago, when I briefly mourned the extinction of yet another nostalgic element of my childhood. Until last year. I guess Kellogg, recognizing an untapped marketing bonanza to Generation X, and brought back the entire Mother’s Cookies line.

I remember hearing about it, but not until last week, did I buy a package. (Actually, it was because I was in this etsy-esque gift shop, which had fake Circus Animal Cookies made as pendants, which triggered a craving for the cookies, now that they were available again.)

It’s a guilty pleasure, right up there with watching America’s Next Top Model (which has been pre-empted by taiko classes on the same night). But one 14-ounce bag of cookies, is too much of a good thing for one person. Joe never liked them, he’s never liked fondant. They tasted better than I thought they would, but the icing does have this waxy texture (it does list carnauba wax as an ingredient.)

I think I can just about handle one bag a year – I’m getting a little tired of eating them right now, and I’m only 80% through the bag. And I bet some hipster-baker out there has probably come up with a recipe for making Circus Animal cookies from scratch, with organic flour and real fondant, and selling it out of a food truck for $5 for 2 ounces…


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