Everyone will love these adorable chocolate Reindeer Cookies at Christmas.
As someone who painfully lacks culinary artistic skills, I have been having a lot of fun in the kitchen lately making novelty cookies, like the Peanut Butter Spider Cookies which were a big hit at Halloween. It is worlds away from making something spectacular like a pristine-looking fondant covered cake with beautifully piped buttercream roses, but I have accepted long ago my limitations in the kitchen.
So we now enter the world of kitsch and I am not too sure who is having more fun making and eating these fun cookies – me or the kids!
My latest attempt at amusing my children are these adorable and delicious Reindeer Cookies. The inspiration comes from Hannah Miles, a finalist in one of the series of MasterChef UK, and someone who I admire for leaving for her high-flying legal career to pursue her love of food and cookbook writing. In recent years, I have been undecided as to whether I have departed ways from my former life as a corporate lawyer, or if I am merely taking (a very long) career break. Whichever it is, I am always inspired by other lawyers who have opted for a career change down a more creative path. Maybe I will be one of them, but a part of me really misses the intellectual challenges of my former legal career. We will see!
These Reindeer Cookies combine everything that my son loves to eat as junk food (which he is not allowed to have, of course) – a chocolate cookie with salted pretzels and peanuts. Here, the peanuts are even chocolate coated, which my son did not know existed and they are now his idea of heaven!
My children gave these Reindeer Cookies a big thumbs-up, and I have to say that they are very delicious indeed. The chocolate cookie is crunchy and sweet, and they are just so cute to look at. Although, I do think some of them look a bit cross-eyed or grumpy, and I blame that on the candy eyes that I have used; unfortunately, I can only find these oval candy eyes where I live and they seem to add more expression than plain round eyes!
I think these Reindeer Cookies will provide a nice alternative to the usual gingerbread cookies at Christmas, although I know I will be baking many batches of the latter too.
- Total Time: 45 mins
- Yield: Makes about 30 cookies
- 2 1/2 cups (320g) plain flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup (30g) good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (200g) caster sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks (175g) unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup or light corn syrup
- small pretzels
- sugar-coated chocolate peanuts (brown and red)
- 1.8oz (50g) dark chocolate
- candy eyes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, baking soda and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter and golden syrup (or light corn syrup) together.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until everything is well incorporated. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you could simply do this with a large mixing bowl and wooden spoon.
- If the mixture looks too dry, add a dash of milk or water until everything comes together into a ball of dough. As there is no egg in this recipe, the dough will be a bit crumbly anyway.
- Roll small pieces of dough into a ball, a bit smaller than a golf ball, or make them as large or as small as you like. I prefer to make them small as they will spread a bit upon baking.
- Place the balls of dough on the baking tray, but space them apart as they will spread as they bake.
- Flatten the balls of dough and gently form oval shapes. Don’t worry if they look cracked because they will become crackly upon baking.
- Bake the cookies for 5 minutes and then remove them from the oven.
- Immediately press two pretzels into each cookie to form the antlers. Use a clean teatowel to gently flatten each cookie.
- Return the cookies to the oven to bake for a further 5-7 minutes, or until the edges look firm.
- Immediately press one sugar-coated chocolate peanut into each cookie to form the nose. The heat from the cookies will melt the sugar-coated chocolate peanuts and make them stick together.
- Leave the cookies to rest on the hot baking tray for about 5 minutes to firm up before removing them carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Place the melted chocolate into a heat-proof piping bag or a silicone decorating pen.
- Dot a very tiny amount of melted chocolate onto each cookie to use as the glue for each candy eye.
- If any pretzel has become dislodged, simply “glue” it back with some melted chocolate.
If you can’t find candy eyes, you can still create eyes on the cookies by piping melted white chocolate to form the whites of the eyes, and dotting them with melted dark chocolate to form the pupils.
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