Nabisco Classics Iced Animal Cookies – Don’t Be Fooled

One of my favorite treats of all time were the Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies. These pink and white animal cookies with sprinkles tasted great when produced by Mother’s Cookies for generations. Unfortunately, Oakland-based Mother’s went out of business last year. I really loved these cookies, especially the seasonal orange and white ones for Halloween or the green and red ones for Christmas.

Mother's Circus Animal Cookies
Mother's Circus Animal Cookies

So, it was with an unexpected surprise that I saw Nabisco’s brand new Nabisco Classics Iced Animal Cookies. These are so new that I can’t find any information about these new cookies. But there they were at my local Lucky supermarket, so I snapped up a bag and raced home to taste my beloved animal cookies.

Big mistake.

I knew Circus Animals. Circus Animals were a friend of mine. Nabisco, these are no Circus Animals.

It’s hard to express the disappointment I had. It’s not that these cookies are bad per se. It’s just that they’re not the classic cookies I grew up with. The animal cracker has a lemon taste that clashes with the icing that in itself is not as sweet as Mother’s original.

So, unfortunately, I have to vote thumbs down!

Don't Be Fooled by Imitation Cookies!

There’s hope. Kellogg’s bought Mother’s recipes and promised to return those recipes to the marketplace in 2009. I’ll be waiting with bated breath.

Have you tried these cookies or love the old Mother’s? Leave a comment.

Update: Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies are Back!

58 Replies to “Nabisco Classics Iced Animal Cookies – Don’t Be Fooled”

  1. MAJOR thumbs down! My experience was pretty much the same as yours…popped into a Lucky’s to pick up something else…saw these on an aisle end – iced animal cookies! Pink and white! Can it be?? Got ’em home…odd lemony taste….icing a different consistency than Mother’s…little in common but the color & sprinkles. The cookie seems to be nothing other than the Barnum’s animal cookies covered with lemon-flavored icing…or is the lemon flavor in the cookie? Dunno & don’t care. Heard Kellog’s bought the actual recipe….will they come through?

  2. When Mother’s was on the way out my girlfriend and I gave them a go after not having them in years. They weren’t as great as I remembered so we looked at the ingredient list. There’s the culprit! No TRANS FAT! I don’t care if trans fat was going to send me to an early grave it made those cookies worth eating.

  3. I also had the instant Lemon experience. Later that evening it struck me.

    Nabisco…These are Barnum’s Animal Crackers wearing pink and white frosting and sprinkles!

    Trying to sneak in and replace Mother’s Circus animals wearing not nearly enough Carnauba Wax in their frosting!

  4. My friends and I were also in the store to get something else last night when I saw these imposters. Missing mothers and hoping they’d be the same I picked up a bag. The very first thing I noticed as well was the lemony taste to the cookie. Dissapointment sunk in. I ended up leaving the bag on the kitchen counter at my friend’s house. Our general concensus was 2-1 against. The one person who did like them will eat anything. 😛

  5. HORRIBLE…………there is no foolin me with these yucky overly sweet underly waxed imposters! Anything but “Classic” in my book

  6. We had a taste-test at work and all agreed that the cookies tasted terrible and were a poor copy of the original.

  7. I bought a bag of Nabisco’s Iced Animal Cookies yesterday. They’re “OK” at best. They are nothing like the old Mother’s Circus Animals, and I cannot WAIT until the Mother’s Circus Animals are back. All of the websites still say that they’ll be back in mid-2009, no specific dates yet.

  8. I was so happy to see these in the store but I have to agree. Strange lemon taste does not work and icing not as sweet. My kids will be eating the rest but these are not my Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies!

  9. Couldn’t agree with you more! I too was surprised to see these copy cat circus animal cookies on the shelf, and opened them as soon as we got to the car! Major disappointment. Here’s hoping that Kelloggs stays true to the original Mother’s recipe, until then we are stuck with these 🙁

  10. I tried Keebler’s attempt to make animal cookies and it was HORRIBLE! Nabisco did a decent attempt (I will say that they are close to the original, but they could do a tad bit better for affecianados like us!)

  11. I bought a bag but haven’t eaten them yet. Maybe they’ll taste good in their own way after herbal assistance.

  12. Never heard of Mother’s circus animals – was it a west coast thing? My daughter chose the Keebler version for lunchbags last week, and then asked for more. I could only find Nabisco, same pink and white iced cookies with multi color sprinkles – but much, much better. Now I wish I could have tried Mother’s after reading these posts.

  13. >Never heard of Mother’s circus animals – was it a west coast thing?
    Possibly. The company was based in Oakland, CA, but I have no idea how far their distribution went.

  14. Just found the Nabisco version today. Good, but not Mother’s. Guess we’ll still have to ration my remaining bags. Hopefully they’ll last until Kellogg’s gets their version out.

  15. i think they are better than mother’s and i was a HUGE mother’s cookies fan! i like the texture of the icing on these better and the lemon doesnt bother me.

  16. I still have one last bag a Circus Animals left in my pantry. I’m saving them for a special occasion … if my son doesn’t sneak the first.

  17. Stopped in to a Safeway in South San Jose, CA and was joyed to see the animal cookies on the shelf. I heard that Mother’s was going out of business and was going to be repackaged. I thought these would be the real thing and I was utterly disapointed. Hungry while waiting for dinner I popped open the bag with my sis and took one bite, and wanted to spit it out. The packaging is totally misleading which sucked. I now can’t wait to see what Kellog comes up with. Hopefully they were able to get the Mothers recipe so we can all enjoy these delicious melt in your mouth, sprinkles on our hand goodness again.

  18. I saw the Nabisco product in my local Vons and thought Mother’s products had simply been “re-branded” (I hadn’t noticed the new package read “Iced Animal Cookies” and I didn’t know that Mother’s had gone under). My first touch was unnerving (the frosting is softer and stickier) but I thought it was the result of the warm weather. But my first taste had me grabbing the bag and examining it closely with a muttered “WTH?!?”. Some Google-ing provided the depressing answer. 🙁 Whilst these impostors aren’t terrible, they are absolutely, positively NOT Mother’s (even the packaging isn’t as good; the Mother’s packages were cheerful, pleasing, and almost as tasty as the treats that lay within. Since I eat far too much junk food, I suppose Nabisco have done me a favour. Still, it is with real sadness that I say, Circus Animals, requiscat in pace.

  19. My family and I have been eating “Mother’s” Circus Animal cookies for years and love them. I only bought the New Nabisco animal cookies once. That will be that last time. We do not like them at all!!! Too sweet, taste like lemon graham crackers with frosting.

  20. I too have been eating Mother’s Animal Cookies for years and have always enjoyed them. I saw the new cookies in the store & I thought O.K. let’s give them a try. I enjoyed them & I WILL be buying them again. I didn’t notice any difference in taste but, the only difference that I did notice was in the coating of icing, Mother’s was smooth and the icing the new cookies was rippley and it didn’t effect the taste to me. When I did see them in the store I had to do a double take & I did buy 2 bags which are all gone.

  21. These cookies have always been overly sweet. Isn’t that the whole idea? The new Nabisco version is not any sweeter than the Mother’s. The lemon flavor is great. True circus animal crackers have always had a hint of lemon. The cookies are lighter, crunchier and fresher tasting. The frosting tastes less like wax and more like frosting. It’s a great improvement on the original, though the bag should be a little more generous in size. I think it’s hilarious that so many of you say they’re such a disappointment when obviously they’re not THAT different. Sometimes a little change is definitely for the better. Way to go Nabisco!

  22. Candese, if you don’t think these taste that different then you obviously have never tried the Mothers brand. In addition to the cookies tasting different the frosting is thinner on Nabiso’s brand. Not an improvement.

  23. Nice Try…. I too was so excited… the Mother’s brand had been a HUGE hit at our house… These aren’t bad, just not the real thing…. bummer… can’t wait to try Kelloggs… maybe we need to forward them these comments!

  24. Gah, I just bought some to try, horrible. NOTHING like the originals. I <3 Mothers Originals!

    Let’s hope Kelloggs brings them back, original receipe and taste! Puleeze

  25. I just barely found this post today while preparing my blog post on this very same subject. Good to know there are others out there that poo-poo Nabisco for making something subpar to replace Mother’s Cookies fans.

  26. I recently had the misfortune of trying these myself. I was unaware of Mother’s going out of business, and found these imposters in the grocery store and figured the company just got bought out or something. That was, until I tasted them – UGH. Then I did a search online and found the depressing truth. Now I have to waste these, because all I can do now is throw them away – they aren’t good enough to justify eating them. Why is it that there are dozens of nasty products that I would never eat that have been around forever and probably will stay around for a long, long time, but something wonderful like the Mother’s cookies go out of business? I am SO disgusted by this.

  27. I grew up and loved Mother’s circus animal cookies. However, when I saw Nabisco’s cookies, I couldn’t resist, and I’m loving them just the same, although they are quite different. I like that the cookie tastes more like a traditional animal cookie, with, as you mentioned, a lemony hint to the cookie. The cookie is thinner with a thinner icing coating, and it tends to melt in your fingers, unlike Mother’s cookies. I don’t feel I have that overwhelming sugar nausea that I would get from Mother’s. I do wish the icing wouldn’t melt so that I could savor Nabisco’s cookie longer

  28. Mothers Cookies Are Back! So Are Those Wonderful Circus Animals! I’m Also Hoping Kelloggs Will Be Back Another Mother’s Favorite: FLAKY FLIKS!

  29. The Kellogg’s Circus Animal Cookies are being sold at Safeway. I just bought a bag today at the San Mateo, Ca store. They taste like the original recipe. The packaging says “Mother’s”, too. Oh happy day!

  30. I can’t wait to find the MOTHER’S originals by Kellogg’s!! I picked up the Nabisco version today. BIG disappointment. All wrong. A poor facsimile. They should make them different shapes and call them something else if they want to keep selling these. They aren’t horrible tasting, they are just terribly WRONG in the Pink & White Circus Animal Cookie department!

  31. I’m not a huge fan of packaged cookies, but when my daughter came home from a friend’s house raving about iced animal cookies I decided to track them down. After reading this blog I can’t wait to taste the Mother’s brand, which is clearly the Holy Grail of iced animal cookies. So far I’ve tried 4 different types. The worst was a brand that I think was called “Dare” – the cookies were small and litte bit hard with a totally unmemorable “brand X” flavor. The next worst was the Archway brand, which I had high hopes for as I thought someone said that Mother’s was called Archway on the East coast. These cookies had a stronger, more processed taste and a truly unpleasant icing that left the roof of your mouth coated in wax….for a long long time. The Kellogg brand was OK – nothing special, just kind of bland. Finally I found the Nabisco brand at Safeway. These were really good – I can understand someone who didn’t like lemon not liking them. But if you like lemon these cookies had a bright taste and melting icing that tasted natural. I could eat a lot of these…. Now if I could just find that Mother’s brand – the Holy Grail.

  32. Am just elated to have Mother’s cookies back on shelves. Have bought them in CA and in the South. Many of the faves are back, including the Circus animals (will we see the Christmas version this year?) and iced oatmeal. YUM! So glad to have my carnauba wax back! Enjoy everyone!

  33. The only bad part of Nabisco’s classics iced animals for me?

    It was a block of cookie. They all melted together.

    I’m sure that can happen with Circus Animals, but it never did for me… so unfortunately, Nabisco get a big thumbs down from me too.

    I thought they tasted fine however.

  34. We live on the east coast now. I was raised on the west coast and have grown up with Mother’s Circus cookies. I have introduced them to my children – via mail from relatives – and they too love them!! We have to have a bag sent for each of us and we put our names on them – THESE ARE MINE!!! We haven’t had any mailed to us in some time, so in a desperate search to order them online, I found this very sad news. I mean that my 11 year old daughter was brought to tears. About 2 weeks ago my husband came home with the Nabisco imposter in hopes that they were repackaged and brought to the east coast. We were VERY disappointed. I too had one bite and didn’t want to finish what I started. We also wasted an entire bag. That’s four people that agree that the Nabisco is a poor imitation of the GREAT Mother’s Circus Animan Cookie!!! I really hope that Kelloggs stays true to the recipe and brings us the the very treasured cookie that we love!!!

  35. P.S. and from what I’ve understood over the past years – Mother’s didn’t distribute east of the Mississippi River.

  36. Nabisco’s are so much better, light and airy. Not too hard like Mother’s! But it will be interesting to see if they have the red and green ones at Christmas time.

  37. Interesting. I was actually used to the Mother’s version of this cookie and then when I couldn’t find any one day, I tried the Nabisco ones and actually thought they were better. After eating the Nabisco ones, it made me think that there was almost no flavor to the frosting on the Mother’s ones. Nabisco’s frosting made the Mother’s frosting seem waxy and bland to me.

  38. I actually like the Nabisco better than Mother’s. Mother’s left a waxy or greasy coating in my mouth (that I was willing to tolerate because I like them), but the Nabisco didn’t. I want some right now. I could pour milk over these in a bowl and eat them as breakfast cereal!!!!

  39. i’m with karen. the Nabisco ones taste better as they don’t have the greasy/lard after taste. anyway, i am eating the Mother’s Christmas ones right now wishing the wife had bought the Nabisco ones like i asked her too!!!!!!!

  40. I live in the caribbean and I saw the original cookies on sale and i grabbed two just in case they tasted good and I was not dissapointed. They sold out really fast I hope they don’t bring that imitation here. I really dont know how they get these things to taste so good.

  41. These are pretty disgusting… the frosting has the consistency of one of those fake frosted protein bars and they just taste terrible. I ended up eating a handful and throwing the rest of the bag away. The original frosted animal cookies are one of my favorite processed cookies. Nabisco you faaaaaail!

  42. I haven’t seen the Mother’s frosted animal cookies since they supposably returned to the markets. I haven’t even seen them since I moved to Florida when I was 9. I guess it’s a midwestern thing….

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