Tell your family and friends to brace themselves for some serious cuteness overload this season. These Reindeer Cookies are the total package: irresistibly adorable, absolutely delicious, and positively exploding with holiday cheer!
Whether you're making these cookies for a Christmas party contribution or just having some fun in the kitchen baking with the kiddos, this is a festive cookie you can't go wrong with!
A PLAN FOR YOUR COOKIES
Does that Reindeer Cookie shape look familiar to you? That's because it's a gingerbread man turned upside down!
Turn legs into antlers and arms into ears with the quick squeeze of a piping bag! Brown and red M&Ms make for especially cute noses, and as for the eyes, candy eyes or chocolate chips work great!
But, before you can get on to the decorating, you'll first need to whip up the dough. This cookie dough is identical to my soft gingerbread men cookies, and the recipe comes loaded with holiday flavor thanks to warming spices, brown sugar, and a little kiss of molasses. This sweet combo makes for a treat that both looks and feels like Christmas. Yes, please.
This is a cutout cookie dough so you'll want to do some advanced planning before making them. Here's what you should keep in mind as you're planning:
- You will need to make the dough,
- chill it for about three hours,
- roll out the dough,
- cut out the cookies,
- bake the cookies,
- and allow them to cool before you begin decorating them.
There's nothing especially difficult about this recipe, but there are a lot of steps, which means you need to allow at least 5-6 hours from start to finish before you plan to serve your Reindeer Cookies. You won't be working the whole time, but the chill time, cooling time, and setting time should be accounted for!
HOW TO MAKE REINDEER COOKIES
Mix the Dry Ingredients | To kick off your Reindeer Cookies dough, you will begin with the dry ingredients. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together and whisk. Then, you'll move on to the wet ingredients.
Mix the Wet Ingredients | For the wet ingredients, you will combine softened butter, brown sugar, molasses, and egg in a large mixing bowl. You can use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer for this recipe, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix the wet ingredients together at medium-high speed until they are well combined.
Add Dry Ingredients to Wet | Then, add in the dry ingredients and mix on low.
Divide the Dough and Chill | Once your reindeer cookie dough has come together, you will divide the mixture into fourths, form each section into a ball, place it on a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten it out into a disk, and transfer it to the refrigerator for at least three hours. You can leave the dough in the refrigerator just like this for up to two days!
Preheat Oven and Prep Pans | Once your dough is chilled, you can remove it from the refrigerator and preheat your oven to 350°F, and you'll also want to have your baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Allow the reindeer cookie dough to sit out at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before you attempt to roll it out.
Roll Out the Dough | Working with one disc of cookie dough at a time, place it on a large floured work surface and dust the top of the cookie dough disc with flour as well. Roll out the disk so that it is just under a half-inch thick. Get out your favorite gingerbread cookie cutters, preferably ones near 3-5" in size.
Note, the size of your cookies will affect bake time, so if your cookie cutters are larger, they will take longer to bake. And, the opposite is true if your cookie cutters are especially small.
Bake | Once you have your Reindeer Cookies cut out, transfer them to the prepared pans and bake them in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow them to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough discs until all of your cookies are baked!
Cool | Once your cookies are cooled (this should take about 30 minutes), you can transfer your cookies to a sheet of waxed paper or a large work surface and get your decorating on!
HOW TO DECORATE REINDEER COOKIES
There's more than one way to decorate a Reindeer Cookie. You can use melted chocolate to get the eyes and nose to stick, but I've found royal icing works best for these cute Christmas cookies!
Pipe On the Antlers | You'll begin by piping on the antlers. Make a V-shape across the legs of the gingerbread-shaped cookie, and pipe on a few small hooks attached to that V-shape.
And, if you would like to spruce up your antlers with Christmas-colored sprinkles, now is the time to do it!
Add Eyes, Nose, and Ears | Then pipe on two dots for the eyes, a dot for the nose, a smile at the head of the gingerbread-shaped cookie, and little ears where the arms would be.
Decorate | You can either use chocolate chips for the eyes or small candy eye decals. For the nose, use brown M&Ms for your standard Reindeer Cookie look, or for a red nose/Rodolph vibe, a red M&M is perfect! Be sure to add the eyes and nose while the royal icing is still wet.
Allow Icing To Set | Allow your decorated cookies to set up for about 45 minutes, then serve and enjoy!
6 MORE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Pinwheel Cookies
- Texas Sheet Cake Cookies
- Haystack Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
- Red Velvet Cookies
- Painted Christmas Cookies
Cute Reindeer Cookies are as delicious as they are adorable with an easy-to-make dough loaded with holiday flavor! Perfect for a Christmas party, holiday gift-giving, or baking with kids.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
- ¾ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- ½ cup unsulphured molasses (such as Brer Rabbit or Grandma's Molasses)
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon meringue powder
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- M&Ms for nose
- Candy eye decals or chocolate chips for nose
- Sprinkles for antlers (if desired)
Add the flour, baking soda, sea salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves to a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
Add the butter, brown sugar, molasses, and egg to a large mixing bowl. Using a handheld mixer, mix on medium-high speed until the mixture is well-combined.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixing on low. Do not overmix.
Have ready a floured work surface and turn out the dough onto it. With floured hands, divide the dough into 2 and form it into 4 equal portions shaped like disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to two days.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and have ready 2 baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Working with 1 unwrapped disk at a time, dust your work surface, as well as the top of the disk, and roll out so that the dough is just under a ½" thick. Cut out your cookies using 3-5" cooking cutters.
Place your cookies 2" apart on the baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Once the cookies have cooled completely, you can begin decorating them with icing and sprinkles, or as desired.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, water, and extract.
Begin mixing on low until powdered sugar has absorbed the liquid ingredients, then increase speed to high. Alternatively, use a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until the icing has thickened.
To ensure the icing is the right consistency, test it by allowing icing to drip from the paddle attachment or beaters. It should take about 30 seconds before the fallen icing loses its shape and melds into the rest of the icing.
Add the icing to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip and twist to close.
Place the cookies on a sheet of wax paper or a large work surface. Turn them upside down and pipe on the antlers by making a V-shape with little hooks coming off on the legs of the gingerbread men. Then on the head, add two dots for the eyes, a dot for the nose, and a little curve for the mouth.
Use either chocolate chips or candy eye decals for the eyes and M&Ms for the nose. Place each item directly onto the royal icing dots, and set aside to set for at about 45 minutes to an hour. Repeat with the remaining cookies.