Recipe courtesy of Jonathan Melendez

Circus Animal Sugar Cookies

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min (includes cooling and chilling times)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 2 dozen cookies
I got the inspiration for this cookie from a bakery in Santa Monica, California, called Cookie Good. The first time I tried it, it was like I was being transported back to my childhood when I would eat Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies by the handful. After not being able to visit the bakery anymore, I decided to recreate it at home. My take utilizes a basic sugar cookie dough that is studded with rainbow sprinkles, then topped with a frosted circus animal cookie while still warm to allow it to melt into the sugar cookie and prevent it from falling off.



  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, shortening and sugar for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and stir until well combined. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Fold in the sprinkles, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. 
  3. Using a small cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 tablespoons), portion out the dough into balls and roll between the palms of your hands, placing 6 on each of the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to leave about 2 to 3 inches of space in between to allow the cookies to spread while baking.  
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and immediately place 1 frosted circus animal cookie on the center of each cookie, pressing down slightly. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Allow the baking sheets to cool completely, then repeat with the remaining dough and circus animal cookies. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.