I was inspired to make these cookies by one of the recent issues of Southern Living. I thought they were so cute I had to make them. They are obviously more fragile than most cookies due to the pretzel 'antlers,' so these aren't really cookies that can be shipped. They're perfect if you want something cute for a holiday party, though.
Instead of using store bought sugar cookie dough, I made sugar cookies from scratch. It seems like everyone has "the best" sugar cookie recipe in their blog, so I wasn't sure which one I should use. I used this recipe from Allrecipes last year and enjoyed it, but this year I wanted to try another recipe. I considered using this recipe from Blonde Ambition in the Kitchen (actually a recipe from Joelen's Culinary Adventures), but ended up using a recipe from Peabody's blog instead. Her recipe yielded a nice and soft, melt-in-your-mouth, sugar cookie. I wish I could compare it to the recipe from Allrecipes, but it has been so long since I made those that I have no basis for comparison. I halved her recipe and believe it would be more than enough for any occasion; I didn't keep track, but I think I got approximately 4 dozen 2-1/2" cookies out of it. You could definitely make the full recipe and freeze any leftover dough for later use (for great tips on freezing your dough, visit Our Sweet Life). (By halving the recipe, I needed half an egg - I did so by lightly beating an egg in a small bowl, transferring it to a small measuring cup and then adding half the volume to the bowl.)
I have to admit that I became extremely frustrated when making these cookies. Not because the sugar cookies were hard to work with, but because I had the hardest time making the antlers! My pretzels kept breaking in the wrong places and I would end up with pieces that looked nothing like antlers. I found that the best way to do this was to first score the pretzels with a knife at the desired points before breaking apart the pretzel. It didn't always work, but I had much better success using that method.
Don't be too shy about pinching the sugar cookie dough to form the muzzle, as it will spread out while baking. I also couldn't find cinnamon candies at my local grocery store, so I had to use smaller red cake decors instead. I didn't think of it at the time, but I might substitute red M&M's next time, as I don't care much for cinnamon candies.
I decided to submit these cookies for the "Eat Christmas Cookies" blog event, hosted by Susan of Food Blogga. Click on the logo below to visit her blog and see all the other wonderful cookies being submitted!
Rudolph's Christmas Sugar Cookies
from Southern Living
1 (16.5-oz.) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough (I used the sugar cookie recipe below, instead)
36 pretzel twists
36 semisweet chocolate mini morsels (I used regular-sized chocolate chips)
18 red cinnamon candies (I used red cake decors instead)
Freeze dough 15 minutes.
Roll dough to a 1/4-inch thickness on a floured surface. Cut dough with a 3-inch round cutter, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Using thumb and forefinger, pinch opposite sides of each slice about two-thirds of the way down to shape face.
Break curved sides away from center of each pretzel twist to form antlers. Press bottom of 1 set of antlers on each side at top of each reindeer face.
Bake at 350° according to package directions or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; press in 2 chocolate mini morsels for eyes and 1 red cinnamon candy for nose. Let cool 1 minute on baking sheets. Remove to wire racks; cool 20 minutes or until completely cool.
Yield: Makes 1 1/2 dozen
from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
4-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 lb plus 8 oz unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla extract
7-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 375F.
Cream the powdered sugar and butter for at least 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time and scrape down the bowl after each egg. Add vanilla and mix for 2 more minutes.
Mix in the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar while mixer is on slow speed. Mix till you have a smooth dough. Chill for at least 4 hours before rolling out.
Roll out dough and cut using whatever shapes you would like. (I used a glass with a diameter of ~2-1/2")
Yield: Approximately 8 Dozen Cookies?