Circus Animal Cookie Truffles

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.

These Circus Animal Cookie Truffles are inspired by the classic pink and white circus cookies of your childhood. This simple no-bake dessert is made with just 5 ingredients.

A tray full of Circus Animal Cookie Truffles.


 

Round up 5 ingredients and invest 30 minutes of hands-on time, and you’ll have one of the ultimate kid-friendly dessert recipes: Circus Animal Cookie Truffles!

With the popularity of both my Lemon Cookie Balls and Homemade Circus Animal Cookies, I wanted to make another fun mashup of the two. That’s the easy dessert recipe I’m delighted to share with you through today.

These rainbow sprinkle-coated cookie truffles taste like a dense funfetti cake, just in no-bake dessert fashion. You only need a microwave to add these cute and colorful cookie truffles to your dessert menu. This nostalgic and sweet dessert idea is destined to steal the show at your next birthday party, baby shower, bake sale, or spring or summer party. They’re a certified hit with all of my party animals (AKA kids)!

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for circus animal cookie truffles.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Golden Oreos: Look for regular Golden OREO cookies (not double stuffed) in the standard package size (14.3 ounces). While testing out this recipe, I tried both Golden Oreos and packaged pink and white cookies. The frosted and sprinkle-coated animal cookie truffles were good, but the version made with Golden Oreos were superior in flavor and texture by far. Any brand of vanilla sandwich cookies will do; Grandma’s Vanilla Sandwich Creme, 365 by Whole Foods’ Vanilla Sandwich Cremes, and Keebler’s Vienna Fingers are suitable swaps.
  • White and pink candy melts: Candy melts are very easy to work with and come in a pink color that’s extremely similar to the original circus animal cookies. White chocolate, almond bark, and other candy wafers can be used if you can’t find or don’t love candy melts. Keep in mind that real white chocolate, which contains cacao butter, is a little tricky to work with in comparison to the other options, which are dairy-free. White chocolate chips or vanilla chips are solid option too. Adding food coloring to candy wafers and the other options may not work unless an oil-based food coloring is used. If you use a water-based pink food coloring, the pink chocolate or candy may separate or harden (seize). Sometimes the smooth, creamy texture can be brought back by adding a little vegetable oil, shortening, or butter, but not always. This is another reason why I love the candy melts that are already the color I want them to be.
  • Rainbow nonpareils: This is another name for those crunchy, spherical rainbow sprinkles you know from Ice Cream Sundae Bars and circus animal cookies!

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a food processor or by hand, crush cookies into coarse crumbs, then fine crumbs.
Crushed golden oreo cookies in a food processor.
  1. Add cream cheese and rainbow nonpareils to the ground cookies and process until the mixture is evenly combined (filling should have a thick texture and appearance).
Cookie truffle batter in a food processor.
  1. Using a small cookie dough scoop or clean hands, shape into 36 (1-inch) balls ((I like to use the OXO small scoop, a #70 portion scoop). Freeze 10 minutes.
A tray of cookie truffle batter rolled into balls.
  1. Meanwhile, set white candy melts in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water (double-boiler method) or melt in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments (use a microwave-safe bowl). Stir until smooth. Repeat with pink candy melts in a separate bowl.
Coating Circus Animal Cookie Truffles in white and pink candy coating.
  1. Working with one ball at a time or in small batches, use a spoon, fork, or a toothpick to dip truffles in melted candy coating.
Coating Circus Animal Cookie Truffles in white and pink candy coating.
  1. Place in single layer on parchment, foil, or wax paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle truffle tops with nonpareils. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until firm.
A tray full of Circus Animal Cookie Truffles.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Circus Animal Cookie Truffle recipe will treat you to 36 bite-size cookie balls.
  • Storage: A batch of truffles can sit out for a while (up to 2 hours) when being served. Beyond that, store leftover truffles in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2-3 days.
  • Make ahead: Cookie balls can definitely be made in advance. The centers can be made and frozen for as long as several weeks stored in an airtight container or bag and dipped while frozen. Or they can be made entirely and refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days.
  • Freezer: The cookie balls can be made and dipped, then frozen for up to several weeks or months in a freezer-safe container or bag. However, because there will be condensation from the freezer, the color on the sprinkles may start to run a bit. But it won’t affect the taste. They’re actually really good right out of the freezer!
Circus animal cookies in a white bowl.
If you’re craving the original pink and white Circus Animal Cookies, you’re not alone! In a quest to create a copycat version of my fave cookies, I have come up with what I think is the best rendition out there.

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I crush the cookies if I don’t own a food processor?

The best method for crushing sandwich or packaged cookies is with either a food processor or blender. Sandwich cookies can be crushed by hand with a rolling pin instead, but the size of the crushed cookie crumbs won’t be as uniform.

How can I make a thinner coating with candy melts?

Adding shortening or another fat to the melted candy melts will help thin them out for a thinner shell. Wilton brand EZ Thin or paramount crystals contain the same fats as the candy melts and works very well at thinning. I use a teaspoon or two of melted vegetable shortening. This also helps the candy melts stay liquid for a bit longer too.

Can I make these truffles into cake pops?

You bet! One the coating is set, insert a lollipop or cake pop stick into the bottom. Or if you have something that can keep the cake pops steady and standing as they dry, such as floral foam, insert the stick before dipping the truffles. While holding the stick, dunk the chilled truffles in the candy coating until the spheres are fully covered. Twirl the truffles as you lift them from the coating, then gently tap the stick on the rim of the bowl or cup to allow the excess to fall back in. Press the stick into the floral foam to keep the round shape intact. While the coating is still wet, sprinkle with rainbow nonpareils. (It’s a wise idea to place the floral foam on top of a sheet pan or 9- x 13-inch pan with a rim to corral the extra sprinkles that fly off.)

More colorful treats to try

Join Us

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and follow along on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for our latest recipes! Tag all your glorious creations #culinaryhill so we can eat vicariously through you.
A tray full of Circus Animal Cookie Truffles.
These Circus Animal Cookie Truffles are inspired by the classic pink and white circus cookies of your childhood. This simple no-bake dessert is made with just 5 ingredients.
Cook Time 30 minutes
Freezing Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 36 truffles
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 86
5 from 5 votes

Ingredients 

  • 1 (14.3 ounce) pkg Golden OREO Cookies
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 teaspoons rainbow nonpareils plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 package white candy melts
  • 1 package pink candy melts

Instructions 

  • In a food processor or by hand, finely crush cookies. Add cream cheese and rainbow nonpareils and mix until evenly combined (filling should have a thick texture and appearance). Shape into 36 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, set white candy melts in a bowl over a pot of simmering water (double-boiler method) or melt in the microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments. Stir until smooth. Repeat with pink candy melts.
  • Using a spoon or a toothpick, carefully roll chilled balls in melted candy coating. Place in single layer on baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and sprinkle with nonpareils. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or until firm.

Notes

  1. Golden Oreos: Look for regular Golden OREO cookies (not double stuffed) in the standard package size (14.3 ounces).
  2. White and pink candy melts: Candy melts are very easy to work with and come in a pink color that’s extremely similar to the original circus animal cookies. White chocolate, almond bark, and other candy wafers can be used if you can’t find or don’t love candy melts. 
  3. Rainbow nonpareils: This is another name for those crunchy, spherical rainbow sprinkles you know from Ice Cream Sundae Bars and circus animal cookies!
  4. Yield: This Circus Animal Cookie Truffle recipe will treat you to 36 bite-size desserts.
  5. Storage: A batch of truffles can sit out for a while (up to 2 hours) when being served. Beyond that, store leftover truffles in an airtight container in the fridge for about 2 to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 truffleCalories: 86kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 64mgPotassium: 20mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 85IUCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
15 simple recipes for busy weeknights.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. i was just wondering, when dipping the balls in the chocolate can i do it straight from the freezer, or should i leave the balls on the side to for a few minutes before hand to defrost slightly? I’m freezing them a few days before dipping and packaging.