Times-tested cookies perfect for holiday giving.

photoChocolate Reindeer

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
72 small pretzel twists
72 candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (such as M&Ms)
36 small red gumdrops

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in remaining flour.

Divide dough into 6 equal portions. Wrap portions in waxed paper or plastic wrap. Chill for 3 hours or until dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a circle 6 inches in diameter. Using a knife, cut each circle into 6 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

For antlers, on each triangle lightly press a pretzel into the upper corners. Press in chocolate pieces for eyes. For a nose, press a red gumdrop into the dough triangle about 1/2 inch from the point.

Bake in a 375-degree oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are firm. Do not overbake. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, cool.

Makes 36 cookies.

Times testing notes: The recipe doesn’t tell you, but we will: The candy eyes crack in the oven. If you want them to stay whole, push them into the cookies just after they are removed from the oven. Otherwise, this is a fun, kid-friendly cookie project.

Source: “Cookies for Christmas” by Jennifer D. Darling (Meredith Books, 1999).


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