My goddaughter Maureen and her little sister Margo went absolutely insane for the chocolate bat cookies I sent them for Halloween. According to their mom, they practically licked the crumbs off the table. So what did I bake them for Christmas? Another batch of chocolate sugar cookies, this time in the shape of trees, stockings…and reindeer.
To make these adorable treats, I used a gingerbread man cookie cutter, then flipped the cookies upside down to make reindeer heads. This is another popular item on Pinterest this year, and I admit that I looked at several cookie designs before settling on this one. You could certainly give them Rudolph-esque red noses if you like, but I went with a standard brown, as well as chocolate chip eyes.
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until well-combined.
Slowly add flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl often and beating until a very well-combined, soft dough forms.
Gently knead the dough a few times to make sure it comes together; roll dough into a ball and flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees; line three baking sheets with parchment or foil.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with a bat-shaped cookie cutter; if using different shapes, be sure to bake the same shape on one cookie sheet. Baking different-sized or differently-shaped cookies on the same sheet can lead to uneven results; some of your cookies might be underdone while others will be overdone.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are set. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheets for 1-2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Dash of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1-2 teaspoons water, if necessary
- Brown food coloring
- Miniature chocolate chips, for eyes
Combine egg white, shortening, salt, and one cup powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat on low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium, then high, and beat for one minute.
Add additional cup powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, then on high speed for one minute.
Add vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on high speed for one or two minutes, until very well combined.
Check the frosting’s texture; it should be like very, very soft peanut butter and very easily spreadable. If necessary, add one to two teaspoons of water to thin the frosting and beat well to combine.
To frost your cookies:
Turn gingerbread men upside down so the feet act as the antlers.
Reserve a small portion of white frosting for the eyes, then tint the remaining frosting light brown for the faces.
Frost the faces using a small offset spatula, then tint the remaining frosting darker brown. Fit a piping bag with a small plain tip and pipe on antlers, the insides of the ears, and the noses.
Use white frosting to pipe two eyes, then place a miniature chocolate chip in the center of each.
Let frosting set for about 30 minutes; store in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper for us to 3 days.
Makes about 3 dozen.