I will be the first to tell you that I am not the most gifted baker in the world. I don't do much in the way of cake decorating or fancy cookies or desserts. Mainly because I lack that particular talent and much of it truly is a skill that requires a lot of patience. All of which I am lacking. But I love when I see sweet ideas like this one. It takes a well-loved cookie recipe and adds sweet little touches to it to make it special.
These Reindeer Cookies got a lot of attention on the website last week. I was talking about the Cookie Exchange I hosted and I shared this picture of all the gals that came over. And it seems quite a few of you zoomed in on those cookies my friend Dina was holding.
I got several messages from folks asking how she made those. Dina did share the recipe with me and it could not be any easier. The top of her recipe card said "Rein-Dear Cookies." Now how adorable is that? Basically, you use your favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. And then you add pretzels for the antlers, and M&M's and chocolate chips for the eyes and nose. I did decide to use chocolate covered pretzels for my reindeer antlers but the design is totally up to you. My son went wild over these cookies. He just loved them and we made a bunch so he could take some into his class too. We are fortunate here in that our schools still let us take homemade goodies in.
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp. milk
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. table salt
mini pretzel twists (plain or chocolate covered)
Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Spray baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. In your mixing bowl, combine shortening, brown sugar, peanut butter, milk and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed until smooth and well-blended. Add in egg and mix well.
Note: If you are using a stand mixer, you always have to remember to scrape down the
sides of your bowl to make sure everything gets incorporated.
In a separate bowl, combine flour with baking soda and salt. Using a fork, stir well.
Slowly begin adding the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture. Only adding a little at a time as you mix it to make sure flour doesn't fly everywhere. Don't overmix, just stir until combined.
Form dough into 1-inch balls. I like to use this little cookie scooper. It helps me get all the cookies the same size.
Then I take each cookie dough ball and roll it around in my hands so that it's a bit more uniform and smooth.
Then, to make the reindeer face, you are going to pinch the bottom half of the cookie.
Then smush it a bit with your hand.
They should look like this. I probably could have smushed them just a bit more.
Bake cookies (one sheet at a time) for about 8 minutes. While the cookies are baking, start getting all your embellishments organized. As soon as the cookies come out, you are going to be working kinda fast.
Once cookies are finished, while still warm, start adding the noses. Alex wanted them all to be Rudolph so we used all red.
Then add the eyes (chocolate chips) fairly close to the nose. I used chocolate chips for the eyes. You could use mini chocolate chips or you could just use the brown M&M's too.
Then add the antlers (pretzels). This part can be just a bit tricky because those antlers are heavy. So it's important that you don't put them too far to the edge of the cookie. They need to be solidly on the cookie, near the eyes, and gently apply a bit of pressure to make sure they stay in place.
The cookies need time to cool completely before you move them. The chocolate will set up and then stick to the cookie. Then you'll be able to move them and store them at that point. Feel free to use other colors for the noses. I think red is our favorite though.
Aren't they adorable? Such a fun cookie that would be a hit at any holiday party.