I made these reindeer cookies recently for a Christmas dinner that I helped to host. They were a pretty big hit with the party-folk and disappeared in no time. They’re just a simple (but delicious) sugar cookie with royal icing for the outline and red nose. I made these last year and used red smarties instead for the nose which worked just as well, but I couldn’t be bothered buying and sifting through them. The cookie cutter is actually a moose which came in a set from Ikea, but I reckon it looks enough like a reindeer.
I wanted to bake something for two friends for their birthdays, and these are sort of my go-to gift cookies. They are perfect for cut-outs because they hold their shape whilst baking. Plus they taste deliciously buttery and crumbly.
I had a moment of inspiration and decided to make scrabble tile cookies for Sarah with the letters Z and Q iced onto them. This has special significance to her because it is the name of the little production company she created (ZQ Productions), which came from the two highest scoring letters in the game of Scrabble – both worth 10 points each. There is a whole deeper story behind it but I won’t get into that.
For Genevieve I made squirrels iced in pink and baby blue, but I forgot to snap pics!
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 250g butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
Preheat oven to a moderate-low temperature, around 160C (fan forced).
Cream the butter and sugar for a few minutes, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until smooth and creamy.
Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Add to the butter mixture and stir until a ball begins to form.
Knead together on a floured surface to an even consistency. Roll out between two pieces of baking paper to pencil thickness. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Cut out shapes from the chilled dough and place onto an oiled or lined tray with a little space between each. If the dough gets too soft or warm put it back in the fridge for a few minutes; this will help the cookies keep their shape.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until a light golden brown appears around the edges. They will harden up quite a bit when they cool so don’t be too concerned if they’re a bit soft coming out of the oven. Cool on a wire rack once they’re hard enough to move.
The cookies in the picture above are a bit thicker than I would usually do them and took about 12-14 minutes.
For the scrabble cookies I rolled out some pre-bought white fondant (hard icing, a bit like marzipan) very thin and covered each cookie with it. I used royal icing to pipe the letters with a ziplock bag – I need to get a real piping bag! Royal icing dries hard and dry so it’s perfect for cookies or anything that needs to hold it’s shape really well. It is usually made with icing sugar and egg whites (or egg powder/meringue powder) but I don’t like to use raw egg whites in unrefrigerated products and egg powder is hard to find, so I use a substitute. It’s called Pavlova Magic and it comes in an egg shaped container; you will probably find it with pudding mixes, jelly and custard powder type things. I use this royal icing recipe - the link has lots of useful information too. It’s a simple recipe though so I’ll re-type it here.
Makes about 3 cups
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 3 Tbsp Pavlova Magic or other egg powder
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence or other flavouring
- about 1/2 cup water
- colouring (liquid, powder or paste)
Add the water gradually to the other ingredients. If you are using a liquid colouring you may need less water so keep this in mind. Beat with an electric mixer until very glossy and stiff peaks form. To get the consistency you are after add more water, or more icing sugar.