Wednesday, April 18

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Happy 110th Birthday Barnum's Animal Crackers!

  The year was 1902, date April the 18th and Nabisco's Barnum's Animals hit the shelves. Nabisco took a cookie, which had been popular in England for years, baked them in the shape of animals and created Barnum’s Animals, the official name of the soon to be popular "cracker". Animal crackers were made with a layered dough like crackers but were sweet like cookies. That same year the Wright brothers flew their first airplane, children smelled new boxes of Crayola Crayons for the first time and Strom Thurmond was born. It was a good year for longevity.
  Barnum’s Animals were an instant success thanks to marketing, Nabisco put their Animals in a package that looked like a circus wagon. Later that same year they attached a string handle onto the boxes so they could be hung on Christmas trees. In 1948 Nabisco officially changed the name to Barnum's Animal Crackers. Over the years, 54 different animals have made their way through the circus wagon. At the moment there are only 17 animals housed in the wagon shaped box. They for the most part have been animals one would see at the zoo or circus.

Speaking for my myself, I have fond memories from childhood of carrying the little stringed boxes of Barnum's Animals Crackers. Drinking them with milk, playing with them and sharing with friends. How is it possible that something so simple and let's be honest, not that grand be so lasting? I think it is the simplicity of this beloved cracker that has kept them on store shelves, kitchen counter tops, high chairs and in lunch boxes for 110 years. I do believe they're keepers!

Animal Crackers Seven Layer Bars

1 3/4 cups animal cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup vanilla chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 (14 oz) can condensed milk

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. I like to use a 13×9 inch metal pan lined with non-stick foil or the new parchment/foil, I AM A FAN! Check it out.
-Mix together crumbs and melted butter; press into bottom of pan.
-Mix all the chips, coconut and nuts together in another bowl and sprinkle all but about ½ cup of the mixture over the crust. Drizzle the condensed milk over top. Sprinkle remaining chip mixture over top and press down firmly with back of a spatula.
-Bake on center rack for about 25 minutes. Cool completely. Lift foil from pan and cut into bars. Makes about 32 bars   


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