‘Tis the season for cute cookies and these reindeers are fun and absolutely delicious. The moist chewy chocolate cookie contrasts wonderfully with the crunchy salty pretzel. The white chocolate drop eyes and red chocolate-covered peanut nose add to the yumminess. They’ve been a super hit with all my friends and colleagues who had those ”wow yummy!’ expressions that make bakers extra happy. They contain a little cornflour so are naturally free of gluten if you decorate with glutenfree pretzels. Mine are made with unrefined golden caster sugar and there’s the option of substituting some with coconut sugar or using standard sugar as in the original chocolate pecan cookie recipe from Dominique Ansel of cronut fame. He says it’s a forgiving recipe (ie. can’t really go wrong unless you burn them) and they do taste gourmet especially with super yummy quality chocolate. I use Cocoa Barry Alunga 41% milk chocolate because that’s what I have and it has a great cocoa flavour but you can use dark chocolate as in the original recipe. The pecans are a lovely subtle addition but can be omitted or replaced with walnuts. Plus these cookies are so easy and fast to whip up! Make in fifteen minutes, refrigerate overnight and next day shape and bake. Eight minutes in the oven then prepare to decorate! Got so excited by these cookies I designed printable labels to gift them as cookie-making kits in 2 jars for Day One and Day Two. Because we’d all love a yummy Rudolph chocolate cookie, yeah? Go on…
So cute and so yummy. Friends who said ‘They’re almost too cute to eat!’ hesitated one second before promptly devouring the little cutey. Aw. Could you resist this?
This a simple adaptation of the chocolate pecan cookies from Dominique Ansel’s Secret Recipes book. The chocolate and butter are melted together to save time and washing up, and they’re not melted too early on so don’t need re-heating. If using a cookie jar kit the process is even more simplified because many ingredients are mixed together in one go. It all seems to work. They’re cookies. My cookies are smaller and the ingredients and quantities slightly different. I use milk chocolate because the Alunga 41% Cocoa Milk Chocolate brand’s delish (not paid to say this – just sharing). Ansel recommends dark chocolate with 60% cocoa or more. You can make your own chocolate chips by roughly chopping a chocolate bar.
The reindeer decoration was inspired by photos of cookies on Instagram and they’re made up with bits and pieces I like. You can replace elements with similar ones like regular m&m’s instead of peanut ones or even glacé cherries. Hema have great peanuts covered in yummy Belgian chocolate that’s less sweet. But be prepared to eat lots of non-red chocolate peanuts rejected for being the wrong nose colour. Or make koalas with brown ones.
And you can make up cookie jars with the ingredients to give as Christmas presents to friends and family. Not cookies in a jar but cookies in TWO jars!!! Yay!
DAY ONE – cookie dough
For 3 baking trays – 45-48 cookies (you can freeze 1/3 or 2/3 of this dough to bake another day)
- 250g/1 cup + 5 tsp caster/superfine sugar (I use golden unrefined); options – replace some with light brown or coconut sugar
- 42g/1/4 cup cornflour (cornstarch/Maizena)
- 3/4 tsp (3-4g) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 150g lightly beaten egg (about 3 small-medium eggs)
- 45g/3 tbsp + 1/2 tsp unsalted butter (good-quality French style like Le Président)
- 340g/1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips (dark or milk, 41%), preferably good quality – for melting
- 115g/1/2 cup chocolate chips – for folding in
- 55g/1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans (or walnuts), optional
For 1 baking tray (or to fill 1 jar) – 15-16 cookies
- 80g/1/3 cup + 1 tsp caster/superfine sugar (I use golden unrefined); OR replace some with light brown or coconut sugar (30g/2 and 1/2 tbsp brown sugar + 50g/1/4 cup less 1 tsp caster sugar)
- 14g/1 and 1/2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch/Maizena)
- 1/2 tsp (2-3g) baking powder
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- 50g lightly beaten egg (about 1 small-medium egg)
- 15g/1 tbsp unsalted butter (good-quality French style like Le Président)
- 114g/4 oz chocolate chips (dark or milk, 41%), preferably good quality – for melting
- 38g/1.3oz chocolate chips – for folding in
- 18g/2 and 1/2 tbsp + 1 tsp roughly chopped pecans (or walnuts), optional
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-large bowl (sugar, cornflour, baking powder and salt).
- Add the lightly beaten egg and whisk a little to get a thick pancake batter.
- Melt the larger quantity of chocolate chips and butter on a bain marie (or in short spurts in the microwave). Don’t overheat.
- Pour the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and stir slowly with the whisk until just combined.
- With a rubber spatula gently fold in the smaller quantity of chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
- Spoon into a flat container lined with plastic film or baking paper. Cover on contact with plastic film.
- Refrigerate overnight.
You can also follow the simplified cookie jar recipe. The 5 layers of dry ingredients mentioned are: cornflour, baking powder and salt (whisked together first) plus the 2 kinds of sugar, chocolate chips and nuts.
DAY TWO – baking and decorating
To decorate 15-16 cookies (the higher numbers include extra elements in case of breakage)
- 32-35 mini pretzels (gluten-free or not)
- 16-18 red chocolate-covered peanuts or regular m&m’s (reportedly they’re both gluten-free)
- 32-35 white chocolate drops + 5-8 milk or dark chocolate drops to melt for the dots
Preparation – the eyes
Melt 5-8 dark or milk chocolate drops with a bain marie/microwave then apply a dot with a toothpick. Wait 1-2 hours at room temperature until the chocolate dries completely before packing in a jar or placing on a cookie. Option: place the white chocolate drops on cookies first then apply the dark/milk chocolate dots.
A friend of mine came round for pre-Xmas dinner and tested Cookie Jar Day Two. Despite a slight wine haze it went really well (she’d never baked cookies before) and she said it was a lot of fun. Yay! Another friend took both cookie jars home and looked delighted with them. So here are instructions and labels if you fancy making up your own as gifts.
MAKING COOKIE JARS
Day One cookie jar
Use a funnel (or paper cone) to add each layer separately.
- Layer 1 (bottom): cornflour, baking powder and salt previously whisked together to combine.
- Layer 2: light soft brown (or coconut) sugar
- Layer 3: golden (or standard) caster sugar (or just have caster sugar combining layers 2+3)
- Layer 4: chocolate chips
- Layer 5: pecans (or other nuts), optional.
Wrap the larger quantity of chocolate chips in a square of colourful fabric and tie with an elastic band. Place on top of the layers.
Day Two cookie jar
Carefully place the 32-38 mini pretzel ears at the bottom of the jar. On top gently place the 32-38 pre-prepared eyes and 16-18 red noses, wrapped in separate fabric squares tied with elastic bands (see instructions above for making eyes).
Actually managed to make printable labels for the first time! So if you click on the label images you’ll get a PDF version you can print up directly and it comes up exactly the right size!!! I’m still quite shocked it worked. 🙂 Here they are in black and white (to colour in) …And in colour…
Cut out, stick the instruction labels on colourful card and cover with plastic book cover film. Punch a hole at the top and attach to the jar with ribbon. Stick the circles on the lids with glue then cover with plastic cover film too.
Gift to a friend or relative. It’s a great way to share cute yummy cookies.
Eating and storing
Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Apparently they’re best eaten within 2 or 3 days. Not really a problem. Yum.
Rudolph cookies have been on three day trips recently: hiking in Collserola twice and the earliest prototype went to the Medieval Fair in Vic. That cookie was a bit big and you can see what happens when you stick white chocolate drops on a warm cookie… oops. Still absolutely delicious. We loved them all!
In theory this plate should be left out on Christmas Eve for Santa and Rudolph.
But I can’t make any promises. 😉
Going a bit off-piste (off the snow piste ho ho) to share these other cuteys with you (from a video here). I love my sock snowman and bought lots of socks to make them in class this week with the kids. Hope they’ll love their snowmen too. My friend made one here before decorating the cookies and really loves hers! Fancy making some…?
Oooh now let’s have a delicious chewily moist Rudolph chocolate cookie! Or two…
Bidding you a sweet farewell again dear reader! Wishing you more festive pre-Christmas fun with some happy baking and er… moderate eating?! 😉 Lili x