Transform a simple sugar cookie into a reindeer cookie with 3 easy steps! These festive Christmas Cookies make a fun and delicious treat.
One of my favorite traditions during the holidays is baking Christmas cookies with my family. For decades, my mom and sisters and I gathered together to bake sugar cookies by the dozen and then crank up the Christmas music and decorate the cookies late until the night.
Now the tradition continues with my own children. We spend hours together baking our favorite cut out sugar cookies. But unlike my sisters, I am not patient when it comes to decorating cookies. I want my cookies to be adorable, I just don't want to spend hours on each individual cookie.
With the help of my kid's imagination, I created Reindeer Cookies. We transformed simple sugar cookie dough into adorable reindeer with a few simple steps and the help of a gingerbread cookie cutter.
Now, these Reindeer Cookies are a must at our house and will be a tradition my kids pass down to their kids. And I hope they become a loved part of your holiday celebration as well.
How to Make Reindeer Cookies
The first step is to start by preparing sugar cookie dough. I use my recipe for Cut Out Sugar Cookies because they hold their shape perfectly and taste delicious. But you can certainly use store-bought dough if desired.
Once your dough has been prepared and chill, roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick and then use a gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut the dough. Bake as directed and then let cool fully before decorating.
Decorating is when these gingerbread men become reindeer cookies---and all the fun begins!
I first start by piping chocolate cream cheese icing into a circle on each of the heads.
Money-Saving Tip: instead of a piping bag, use a large Ziploc bag and snip off a tiny corner. Not only do you not need fancy tools, but you can also simply toss the baggie into the trash when you are done, making clean up a breeze!
Once the heads are on the reindeer, it is time to add the nose and eyes. I use a red M&M for Rudolph cookies and brown M&Ms for regular reindeer cookies. Then add 2 white chocolate chips for the eyes.
To finish our reindeer, we need to use melted chocolate to give the reindeer antlers and to add pupils to our reindeer. I place melted chocolate into a sandwich bag and snip off a VERY tiny corner. Carefully pipe out the antlers (onto the gingerbread men's legs) and add a tiny dot of melted chocolate to the tip of the white chocolate chip for pupils for the eyes.
Let your reindeer cookies set for 130-60 minutes and then carefully place in a single layer into an airtight container to store. Because of the cream cheese frosting, I store these cookies in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
My Tips on Reindeer Cookies
- Save Halloween Candy, like M&Ms to use for brown and red "noses" on your Reindeer Sugar Cookies.
- The chocolate cream cheese frosting is a nice contrast to the piped chocolate and is rich and full of delicious flavor, but you can use melted chocolate to decorate the head of the reindeer as well.
- Melt your chocolate by placing chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in the microwave for 30-second intervals until melted.
- Pipe out Rudolph's Antlers by placing chocolate into a sandwich bag and cut off the tip of the bag and pipe out antlers. For the pupil on the eyes, I like to use a toothpick dipped in melted chocolate to be more precise
- You can also use Candy Eyes in place of white chocolate chips.
More Christmas Cookies
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
- $250 Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
- Homemade Tagalong Cookies
Reindeer Sugar Cookies
- ½ recipe Sugar Cookie Dough
For the Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup cocoa powder sifted
- 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
For the Decorations
- 72 white chocolate chips or candy eyes
- 36 red or brown chocolate candies
- 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
For the Sugar Cookies
- Prepare sugar cookie dough according to the recipe (or use your favorite store bought sugar cookie dough.) Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick and using a gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out the dough.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes until lightly golden. Transfer to a cooling rack after 2 minutes of resting on cookie sheet, to cool completely.
- Once cookies have cooled completely decorate as Reindeer.
For the Frosting
- Combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until completely smooth. Mix in the cocoa powder. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time to thin if necessary to create a smooth icing that can be spread easily on the cookies.
For Melted Chocolate (For Antlers and Eyes)
- Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals in mircrowave, stirring between each interval, until smooth and completely melted. Place melted chocolate into piping bag or sandwich bag to use for antlers on reindeer.
To Assemble Reindeer
- Pipe out a circle on the gingerbread’s head with the chocolate icing (think of the gingerbread men’s arms and legs as the antlers of the reindeer.)
- Add a red or brown candy for the nose.
- Add 2 white chocolate chips for the eyes.
- Pipe on melted chocolate for the antlers. Use a toothpick to add a touch of melted chocolate for pupils for the eyes.
- Let cookies harden for 30 minutes before transfering to an airtight container and storing in refrigerator.
- Storing: Because of the cream cheese frosting, it is best to store these cookies in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Money-Saving Tip: Instead of using a piping bag, use a large Ziploc bag, and snip off a tiny corner. Not only do you not need fancy tools, but you can also simply toss the baggie into the trash when you are done, making clean up a breeze!
- For the Nose: In place of candy-coated chocolate morsels, use chocolate chips, skittles, or gumdrops.
This post was originally published in November 2016, but has been updated in December 2019 with new tips.