These adorable Ginger Bread Reindeer Cookies are a real treat! They're rich, soft, and buttery, with delightful gingerbread spices and molasses flavor. Plus, they are so much fun to decorate and package up for some festive Christmas treats!
If you love making fun festive Christmas treats to share with family and friends then you should also try my Christmas Oreos and Christmas Crack which also make fun and delicious edible gifts for the holidays!
I love making whimsical, colorful Christmas treats to share with family and friends during the holiday season, and these Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies are so much fun to decorate with my boys! They are super easy to make and decorate especially when you keep your workstation organized so everyone can help! All you need is some simple ingredients and a gingerbread cookie cutter!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- These adorable reindeer cookies are whimsical, and the perfect festive treat for gifting! They are adorned with sparkly sanding sugar and vibrant icing, and also make a lovely addition to any holiday spread!
- These cookies are rich and buttery with spices and molasses that provide a classic, nostalgic taste.
- These cookies are resourceful you can flip your classic gingerbread man cutter to create a reindeer shape! This is a useful hack to multipurpose your cookie cutter and expand your baking options!
- Unsalted Butter: The base of our cookie, using unsalted butter allows you to control the salt content and ensures a rich, buttery undertone.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Adds a deep, caramelized sweetness and complementing the molasses in the recipe.
- Molasses: The signature flavor element of gingerbread, molasses adds depth, richness, and a beautiful dark hue to the cookies.
- Large Egg: Binds the ingredients together and adds moisture, ensuring a chewy texture.
- Vanilla Extract: adds delicious aromatic flavor.
- All-Purpose Flour: The foundation of the cookie, it gives structure and body.
- Spices (Ginger, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg): This warming spice blend provides the cookies with their iconic gingerbread taste, making them instantly recognizable!
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: These leavening agents ensure that our cookies have the perfect rise and texture.
- Fine Sea Salt: Enhances all the flavors, making them pop and ensuring the cookies aren't overly sweet.
- Heavy Cream: Adds an extra layer of creaminess and moisture to the dough, making it luscious and rich.
- Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter: A clever tool that when flipped upside down creates our reindeer shape. The legs of the man become the antlers of the reindeer.
- Sanding Sugar (Gold & Red): These decorative sugars add a sparkly touch, enhancing the festive appearance of the reindeer.
- Decorating Materials (Royal Icing, Sugar Cookie Glaze, Buttercream, Melted Candy Melts, Food Coloring): These ingredients allow for creativity and customization. You can personalize each reindeer, giving them unique facial expressions, antler designs, and festive adornments. See the recipe card for our sugar cookie glaze recipe.
How to Make Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies
- 1. Add brown sugar and butter to a large bowl.
- 2. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- 3. Add wet ingredients.
- 4. Mix until smooth.
- 5. Add the dry ingredients
- 6. Mix until smooth.
- 7. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and allow to chill.
- 8. Divide dough in half and Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut using an upside-down gingerbread man cookie cutter.
- 9. Place cookies upside down on a prepared cookie sheet.
- 10. Bake until lightly golden brown on the edges.
- 11. After 5 minutes remove cookies from the cookie sheet and transfer to a wire rack. Prepare and fill icing bags.
- 12. With brown icing, pipe an oval for each reindeer head.
- 13. Pipe reindeer antlers for each reindeer.
- 14. Pipe ears for each reindeer.
- 15. Fill in antlers and ears with glaze and sprinkle ears with gold sanding sugar!
- 16. With black icing pipe the eyes and mouths for Rudolf and Clarice.
- 17. Pipe a red nose with red glaze for Rudolf. You can also make them red m&m noses if you prefer! just adhere the m&m's with melted chocolate.
- 18. Pipe red holly berries and green leaves on Clarice's antler. Sprinkle red sanding sugar on Rudolf's nose and Clarice's berries.
- 19. Pipe cheeks with pink glaze for Clarice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gingerbread cookies will stay fresh and delicious for up to a week in an airtight container placed between layers of parchment or waxed paper. If the cookies are refrigerated they can last a bit longer, up to two weeks. When properly frozen and stored they can maintain their quality for up to 3 months.
You can easily make reindeer gingerbread by using a classic gingerbread man cookie cutter and decorating it upside down. Antlers are piped where the legs are and the reindeer head is the torso of the gingerbread man! Use white icing to pipe details, tint the icing in different colors if desired, and add details like buttons using candies or sprinkles!
Traditionally gingerbread cookies are decorated with royal icing in a piping bag. If you don't like royal icing or prefer to use something else you can use an easy sugar cookie glaze, melted chocolate, or even a crusting buttercream. You can also decorate with a squeeze bottle if you find that easier. Be sure that if you are stacking the cookies for storage they are completely dry! You can add details like buttons using candies or sprinkles too!
- Turning the gingerbread man cutter upside down to create a reindeer shape is a clever hack. The legs become the antlers!
- For a consistent cookie thickness, use wooden dowels or rolling pin rings.
- If the dough becomes too soft while rolling, pop it back into the fridge for a few minutes.
Experiment with your reindeer gingerbread cookies using citrus zest, chocolate chips, nuts, espresso powder, or even maple syrup to replace some of the molasses for an interesting twist on classic gingerbread cookies. You can also use sugar cookies or peanut butter cookie dough in place of gingerbread dough using the same decorating technique if desired.
- Light brown sugar can replace dark brown sugar, but the flavor will be milder.
- If you're out of molasses, honey or dark corn syrup can be a substitute, though the flavor will not be the same as traditional gingerbread.
- Use royal icing or melted chocolate for piping the reindeer. You can also use candy eyes if you prefer over piping eyes.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
- For longer storage, freeze undecorated cookies and decorate them after thawing.
Gingerbread Reindeer Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ⅓ cup molasses
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter you will flip it upside down to make reindeer
- Sanding sugar in gold and red
- Icing of choice (see sugar cookie glaze below) Royal Icing,Sugar Cookie Glaze (see recipe below), Buttercream, or Melted Candy Melts for decorating. Food coloring in black, brown, pink, red, and green.
Sugar Cookie Glaze
- 2 ½ cups confectioners' sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoon milk or water
- 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or almond extract, depending on your preference
- food coloring black,brown, pink, red, and green.
Reindeer Gingerbread Cookies
- In a large mixing bowl, blend softened butter and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth. Use an electric mixer to combine molasses, egg, cream, and vanilla extract until well mixed.
- In another bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Divide the dough in half, shape it into discs, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- After chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Use an upside-down gingerbread man cutter to create reindeer shapes.
- Place the cut-out cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
- Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet briefly before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, it's time to decorate! Pipe an oval shape with brown icing for the reindeer head. Pipe antlers and ears, filling them in. While the antlers are wet, sprinkle with gold sanding sugar.
- Use black icing to pipe eyes and mouth (and nose for Clarice). For Rudolf, pipe a red nose and sprinkle with red sanding sugar. Add red holly berries and green leaves on one of Clarice’s antlers. Finish with pink cheeks for Clarice.
- Allow the decorations to set, and enjoy your festive cookies!
Sugar Cookie Glaze
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk (or water) and corn syrup.
- Gradually whisk in the sifted confectioners' sugar until smooth. The mixture should be quite thick, almost like a paste, to make it suitable for piping.
- Mix in the vanilla or almond extract.
- For piping, you'll want a thicker consistency. If it's too thin, add more confectioners' sugar. If it's too thick, add a tiny amount of milk or water. Remember, when you're aiming to pipe details, it's essential the icing is not too runny; otherwise, it won't hold its shape.
- If using food coloring, divide the icing into separate bowls and mix in the desired colors (black, brown, pink, red, and green).
- Scoop the icing into piping bags cut tips small for detailed work.
- Allow the cookies to dry and enjoy.