Circus Animal Truffles!


I volunteered (well, technically, I was asked to volunteer) to bring a few baked goods to a work bake sale for charity. I turned to a couple of old standby favorites: cookie-based truffles. I love these creamy, crunchy, simple, chocolate-covered delights. I’ve shared recipes before for three variations of cake batter truffles (Oreo, funfetti, and chocolate chip cookie dough). I adapted the Oreo version to half Oreo cookies and half Girl Scout thin mint cookies (yes, I still had a box in my freezer – I realize I could have sold that on eBay for millions at least twice what I paid for it). 


I got a little creative with my second contribution to the bake sale: these circus animal cookie truffles. Remember those pink and white frosted shortbread cookies? Remember when we were told that animal crackers were a relatively healthy choice, compared to other cookies? Remember when they made animal crackers out of shortbread, then covered them in chocolate (pink chocolate, no less) and took away anything remotely redeeming about the animal cracker? I do. Yes, I do. 


My bake sale volunteerism follows a predictable pattern: 

  1. Agree to / sign up to bring something.
  2. Never, ever specify what that “something” will be (much to the chagrin of bake sale organizers everywhere).  
  3. Set reminder in my phone to alert me three days before the bake sale. Set second alarm to remind me one before the bake sale. 
  4. Ignore first reminder with a swift swipe of the thumb. 
  5. Completely forget about bake sale in just a few hours. 
  6. Receive second reminder. Suddenly remember bake sale. Panic. Rush to convenience store (I can’t stand big grocery stores). Grab whatever random baking ingredients I can find. Come home and play a game I like to call “Iron Chef: Bake Sale Edition”. Spend more time trying to figure out how I can incorporate the random ingredients I purchased into something bake sale-able than I would have spent going to a normal grocery store with a standard list of groceries. 
  7. Decide on a recipe that takes significantly longer than the remaining few hours I have to devote to bake sale. 
  8. Set alarm for four am. Wake up before alarm due to stress about failing to perform my bake sale duties. 
  9. Passive aggressively bake. Donate baked goods. Vow to never repeat this vicious cycle.
  10. Repeat bake sale cycle. 

These cookies, as you may be able to surmise, were based on my excitement at seeing circus animal cookies on the shelf of my favorite miniature-format grocery store. My sleep-deprived brain grabbed two packages of cookies during my 3 am grocery run, as well as two tins of evaporated milk (?), a box of cereal that I don’t eat and that isn’t really suitable for baking (?), and a gallon of iced tea (?). So I was left pretty much where I started the day, just with the addition of circus animal cookies. Did I stop there and make chocolate chip cookies like a normal person? Nope. I made this delicious little recipe that I think turned out delicious and adorable (read: pink, with sprinkles). 


Circus Animal Truffles
Makes ~4 dozen truffles
Adapted from Six Sisters Stuff

You will need:
  • 24 ounces (2 packages) frosted animal cracker shortbread cookies
  • 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 8 squares white chocolate almond bark
  • Rainbow sprinkles (optional)

Method:

  • Crush animal cracker cookies in a food processor (or, if you’re really redneck, use a hammer) until they are small crumbs. 
  • Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and animal cracker crumbs on medium speed for about five minutes, until mixture is evenly incorporated. 
  • Stir in graham cracker crumbs gradually based on texture preference of the truffles (I don’t like mine too creamy). Start with a couple of tablespoons at a time. If the mixture is too creamy, use the full 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs. 
  • With clean hands, roll the dough into balls about one inch in size. Place on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Repeat with remainder of dough, leaving a little bit of space between each truffle. 
  • Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator and chill for at least on hour. 
  • When ready to make the truffles, melt white chocolate almond bark in a microwave-safe bowl according to package directions (do not overheat and stir as frequently as instructed – do not skip this step). 
  • Use two forks to roll truffles in white chocolate. Transfer truffles back to parchment-covered baking sheet to set. Top with sprinkles if desired. 
  • Let truffles set for about 15 minutes, until white chocolate bark has hardened. 
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