DIY ~ Reindeer Cookies

I may have taken a little break over Christmas and enjoyed some time with my family at home which is why this post is a little bit late going up but I'm sure no-body minds all that much!

One of my favourite things I like to do to wind down and relax is cook and bake, so getting time off at Christmas can only mean one thing....a DIY baking recipe and of course it had to be a reindeer cookie recipe for Christmas.




These were so festive and fun to make and I actually made these on Christmas Eve to get myself and everyone else into the Christmas spirit! Now I prefer making cookies/biscuits that are more chewy compared to crunchy, but if you prefer them more on the crunchy side you can just substitute the brown sugar for normal granulated sugar.



To make these cookies you will need the following......

Ingredients
128g softened butter
128g granulated sugar
64g brown sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
288g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
1-2 bags of chocolate chips
Smarties
Royal icing sugar



Method
1~  Mix the butter and brown and white sugar in a bowl until it starts to become light and fluffy. I was lazy and used an electric mixer and it only took a few minutes to become light and fluffy, by hand it might take a bit longer (depending on how soft your butter is). Once the butter and sugar mixture is nice and fluffy its time to add 1 egg and the vanilla extract. I used Madagascan vanilla so it was much sweeter and slightly thicker than normal vanilla extract. 

2~ Then in a separate bowl you need to mix together the flour and baking soda, you can then gradually mix this into the wet ingredients. If you are using an electric mixer add it in small sections and then mix on the lowest setting otherwise you will look like you've just come in from a snow storm!!

3~ Once the wet and dry ingredients have all been combined you can add in the chocolate chips. Now how many you want to add is completely up to you, the first time I made this recipe I used two bags of chocolate chips (the small tesco bags) and about half of them didn't even stick into the mixture so I'd recommend/I now use the same amount as one small bag of chocolate chips, but I mix them up and add dark and milk chocolate. Once they've all been combined you want to cover the bowel with cling film and put them in the fridge for up to 2 hours (depending on your fridge), you basically want it to where the dough is easy to handle and not too gloopy. I only put mine in the fridge for an hour and that seemed to work fine.

4~ Before you start rolling out the dough preheat your oven to 190 degrees (British ovens), then you want to start rolling and cutting them out, not going to lie this is what took the longest for me! You basically just want to roll them so they're not too thick and then you can use a gingerbread man cookie cutter (yes that's the key to getting the shape!), if you're skilled enough you can do it by hand. I think the mixture I did made about 24 cookies in all and then a small round cookie from the leftovers.

5~ Once they are all cut out you can start loading them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper/non-stick paper. I managed to fit about 6-8 reindeers on one baking sheet. I baked mine for 8 minutes then turned them around in the oven and baked them for another 2 minutes and that seemed to work for my oven, about 8-9 minutes is a rough guide but you guys will kind of know your oven and its cooking times. If you really are unsure you can always bake 2-3 cookies first and just start cooking for 8 minutes then check if they're golden brown, if not just put them in for a minute at a time. Once they are cooked put them on a wire rack to cool down.

6~ Whilst the cookies were cooling I started melting the chocolate for the reindeer faces and separating the smarties out for the noses. As you probably know to melt the chocolate you can either do it in the microwave (just be very careful you don't burn the chocolate) or as I prefer you can melt it over a pan with a little bit of hot water in and just keep stirring it until 95% of it is melted, then you can take it off the heat and keep stirring and the heat from the bowl and chocolate will melt the rest.

7~ You can then take a small spoon or like I did used a toddler knife to smooth the mixture onto the 'head' and 'arms' of gingerbread man, this is going to be the face of the reindeer. As you are creating the face don't forget to add the smarties for the noses before the chocolate sets. After you have created the faces on them all I found it easier and less time consuming to put them straight into the fridge so the chocolate would set faster.

8~ Whilst the chocolate is setting in the fridge, you can then start mixing together the icing sugar for the antlers, ears and eyes. I found using royal icing sugar works better than normal icing sugar, I didn't really measure this bit out, I just put a bunch in a small bowl and add a splash of milk and mixed with a spoon until it was all combined, you want it to be thick enough to hold its shape. After it was all combined I just put it a zip lock bag and then you can just cut a small bit off the corner and use that as an icing bag when you are ready to ice.

9~ Once the chocolate is set I found it easier to ice the ears and eyes on them all first then put them back in the fridge to set. You can then move onto the antlers and ice the main 'branch' of the antlers, let those set then you can ice the the little 'branches' that come off the main part (yes not very anatomically correct, but you get the picture). I found it easier this way because I have learnt the hard way by trying to ice the antlers all together and when the main part of the antler is still wet, some of the antlers can become slightly blob-like (yes that is a word!). 

10~ After you have finished the antlers you are all finished, you can lay them out on a pretty plate or in a nice box as a gift at Christmas or like in my house they pretty much got eaten not soon after they were eaten!

If you guys make these you definitely have to send me a picture and most of all.....

Enjoy!!!


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