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How to Make Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas Cookies

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Heather is happiest when taking a beautiful photo, creating something in her kitchen, or elbows-deep in a DIY project.

Christmas Reindeer Cookie Platter

Christmas Reindeer Cookie Platter

How to Make Reindeer Christmas Cookies With Cookie Cutters You Already Have

How to Make Reindeer Christmas Cookies With Cookie Cutters You Already Have

How to Make Reindeer Cookies

I was recently visiting with my mom and talking about a batch of reindeer cookies that we had made together when I was a little girl. I couldn't remember too much about them, except that my dad really loved them and we had used pretzels as makeshift antlers. My mom and I just couldn't remember what shape, cutter, or technique we had used to create the little reindeer heads, so I did some digging around on Google and Pinterest. I'm a huge fan of "making do with what you've got"—unless we're talking about the life and death science behind recipes being successes and failures.

I have a variety of heart-shaped cookie cutters, as well as a traditional gingerbread-man shape. I "made do," and I'm glad I did! Both of these shapes were perfect for creating two very different Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cookie designs.

You don't need reindeer or reindeer-head cookie cutters. I'll share exactly how I made these adorable Christmas cookies the easy way! You can use your favorite Christmas cookie recipe, although I took the easy road and made my yummy cookies with store-bought Pillsbury gingerbread dough in a tube.

The Heart-Shaped Reindeer Cookie Method

You Will Need:

  • Gingerbread Dough
  • Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutter
  • Parchment-Papered Baking Sheet
  • Rolling Pin
  • Vanilla Cake Frosting
  • Chocolate Nonpareils Candies
  • Mini Pretzel Twists
  • Red Spice Drops

My heart cookie cutter is plastic and measures approximately 3.25" at its widest. It came from the dollar section of Target as part of a set with other smaller hearts, perfect for making Linzer cookies.

Reindeer Cookies With Pretzel Antlers

Reindeer Cookies With Pretzel Antlers

How to Make Reindeer Cookies With a Heart Cookie Cutter

  1. Separate chilled gingerbread dough into small sections and roll into balls.
  2. Carefully roll out dough to approximately 1/8" thickness onto parchment paper.
  3. Cut cookies using a heart-shaped cutter. Carefully gather dough scraps and repeat. Space cookies out approximately one inch from one another.
  4. Place pretzel twists at the top of the heart for antlers and gently press them into the dough.
  5. Bake according to the recipe and allow to cool completely before decorating.
  6. Use a small amount of frosting as glue to attach two chocolate nonpareils for eyes and one gumdrop for a nose.

Tips for Pretzel Reindeer Cookies

  • Working with gingerbread cookie dough isn't just festive—it's the perfect shade of reindeer! I've seen sugar cookies and frostings that just aren't the right color. The gingerbread and pretzel colors compliment each other wonderfully.
  • Rolling, cutting, and baking the cookies directly on the parchment paper typically negates the need for flour, which is why I love this method. No mess, no fuss, and you won't ruin your perfect cookie shape by transferring or moving it. Simply work on sections of parchment paper and place each piece (along with your creations) onto a cookie sheet when it's time to bake. Remove from parchment paper when cookies are completely cooled.
  • Since these cookies are larger and a little cartoonish, I was looking for the perfect "doe eyes." You can attach your candies right side up or upside down.
  • You can create these cookies without a pastry bag and decorating tip, but it definitely makes things a little easier. I've also just used a butter knife to apply my frosting since it doesn't show and doesn't need to be pretty or perfect.
The Upside Down Gingerbread Man Cookie Method

The Upside Down Gingerbread Man Cookie Method

The Upside-Down Gingerbread-Man Cookie Method

You Will Need:

  • Gingerbread Dough
  • Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter
  • Parchment Papered Baking Sheet
  • Rolling Pin
  • Vanilla Cake Frosting with Decorating Tip
  • Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Mini M&M's
  • Red Spice Drops

My gingerbread man is a metal cookie cutter made by Wilton that I bought at my local grocery store a few years back for 99 cents. I try to limit my kitchen clutter by only owning cookie cutters I truly need and will use. Having said that, I am so happy that this cookie cutter can make two very different Christmas cookie designs. I also use it a lot during the holidays to create homemade gift tags.

How to Make Reindeer-Shaped Cookies With a Gingerbread-Man Cookie Cutter

How to Make Reindeer-Shaped Cookies With a Gingerbread-Man Cookie Cutter

Reindeer-Shaped Holiday Treats for Santa

Reindeer-Shaped Holiday Treats for Santa

How to Make Reindeer Cookies With a Gingerbread-Man Cookie Cutter

  1. Separate raw gingerbread dough into smaller sections and roll into balls.
  2. On parchment paper, gently roll out dough approximately 1/8" thick.
  3. Cut cookies using gingerbread man cutter. Gather remaining dough scraps and repeat. Allow for approximately 1 inch of space between cookies.
  4. Bake according to the recipe and allow to cool completely before decorating.
  5. Position gingerbread men cookies upside down for decorating. Use a small amount of frosting as glue to attach two mini chocolate chips for eyes (around the neck area of the gingerbread man) and one gumdrop for a nose. Draw antlers onto the legs using your pastry tip and icing. Decorate antlers with mini M&M's for ornaments or Christmas lights.

Tips for Cute Reindeer Cookies

  • Using a pastry bag and decorating tip for this version of the cookie is definitely recommended. You can cheat by using a Ziploc bag with a tiny snip taken off of one corner. You want to be able to draw your antlers on with comfort and control.
  • Use your favorite homemade or store-bought frosting for the antlers. I used a canister of vanilla frosting by Betty Crocker but chocolate would also look (and taste) great.
Reindeer Christmas Cookies Are the Perfect Holiday Cooking Project for Kids

Reindeer Christmas Cookies Are the Perfect Holiday Cooking Project for Kids

Some of my fondest memories are of making Christmas cookies. I still have just as much fun decorating cookies as I did when I was a little girl. These cookies came out yummy, festive, and whimsical—everything a fun Christmas cookie should be. What special goodies would you use to decorate and customize your own reindeer cookies?

© 2013 Heather

Comments

Heather (author) from Arizona on January 09, 2014:

@rebekahELLE-- Thanks so much for stopping by and all of the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub. I usually make Christmas cookies until the middle of January because I just love the process so much. I'm glad you stopped by :)

@randomcreative-- Thanks for stopping by. These were definitely fun to make and delicious to eat. I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub :)

@kikalina-- Thanks so much. I'm glad you stopped by and commented. Thanks for the vote too :)

@WiccanSage-- Thanks for the kind words and for sharing your experience too. That always worries me when I see a cute cookie cutter at the store or online. I always wonder if the cookie will keep it's shape or I'm wasting my money. It's such a let-down when that happens. I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub and a very Happy New Year to you too :)

@Eiddwen-- I'm glad you enjoyed this Hub! Thanks so much for the visit and comment. I'm always happy to share :)

@Valene-- Thanks so much for stopping by and the kind words. I'm so happy with how these cookies came out and I'll definitely try to make them each Christmas from now on.

@purl3agony-- Haha! Thanks for stopping by. I agree... the sprinkle side does give my cookies a creepy look. I initially placed them that way to creep out my husband and then I decided I kind of liked it. Reindeer Zombies indeed :)

rebekahELLE from Tampa Bay on January 01, 2014:

Adorable! These look so cute, kids will love helping to make these holiday cookies. Your creativity is delightful! I can't wait to try these, why wait until next year?? :))

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 31, 2013:

Your cookies are too adorable! Thanks for the detailed recipes! I know that they will be a big hit with so many families and avid bakers during every holiday season.

kikalina from Europe on December 31, 2013:

What amazing cookies.....Fantastic hub. Voting up.

Mackenzie Sage Wright on December 31, 2013:

Oh, there so cute! How very clever of you to use the upside-down gingerbread man cookie cutter. I have a reindeer cutter but it never comes out well-- even if you can get it not to break the spread of the cookie when baking makes it unrecognizable. This looks like a much better alternative, I love it and am definitely keeping it in mind for our big cookie baking session next year. Happy New Year!

Eiddwen from Wales on December 31, 2013:

A wonderful hub for all and thank you for sharing.

Eddy.

Valene from Missouri on December 31, 2013:

Genius on the upside down gingerbread man, it does look like a deer head! Never would have thought of that.

Donna Herron from USA on December 31, 2013:

Wow! This is such a creative idea!! I love the upside-down gingerbread men. The nonpareils candies as eyes make your cookies look a little bit like reindeer zombies :) Love it!