Muddy Reindeer Cookies (Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread)
Thursday, December 11, 2014 11 comments
Santa's reindeer have quite a job to do on Christmas Eve. They have just one night to travel 75 million miles and carry a sleigh of toys that weighs over 300 tons (some years more or less depending on the naughty to nice children ratio). Wow!
That's a lot of landing on sooty rooftops and traveling through inclement weather. No doubt the reindeer would become a little sullied from the journey. These cookies are my way of regarding Santa's antlered helpers.
Remember when I said I was SO into gingerbread this year? Yeah. I wasn't kidding (see here and here). This vintage gingerbread recipe was new to me and I'm so glad I decided to try it. It's made differently than some of the contemporary gingerbread cookie recipes. Instead of creaming butter and sugar together (like most any cookie recipe) the butter is cut into the flour with a pastry blender (or a food processor) as you would to make pie crust. This makes for a truly delectable texture.
These guys were "muddied" with melted semisweet chocolate. It gives the cookies just a little extra sweetness, and that makes them delicious with hot tea or strong coffee. You could also dip the cookies in white chocolate - I'm sure the reindeer encounter many snowy rooftops on their travels as well!
You can find the reindeer cutter I used here but there are many other reindeer silhouettes (like this one) that would be cute, too.
If you're like me, and crazy about gingerbread, then you can find links to some of my other ginger-spiced creations below.
Gingerbread Bundt Cake with Coffee Glaze
Bavarian Gingerbread house (Gingerbread House Dough Recipe)
Gingerbread Hobbit Hole
Designer-Worthy Gingerbread Houses for HGTV
Muddy Reindeer (Chocolate Dipped Gingerbread)
[click for printable version]
Yields 2 dozen cookies
1 1/4 cups/160 g all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, and cut into pieces
1/2 cup/100 g granulated sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 egg yolk, beaten
6 ounces chocolate, finely and evenly chopped
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender (or you may use two forks or process in a food processor). When the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs, add the sugar, syrup and egg yolk, and mix or process to a firm dough. Knead lightly.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness between two sheets of parchment paper. Cut the rolled dough with a reindeer cookie cutter (or other preferred cutter). Transfer the shapes to the parchment lined baking sheets using a spatula, and then chill the shapes in the refrigerator for 10 minutes or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until golden around the edges. The cookies should be fragrant and slightly puffed.
Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Line a work surface with a sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat on the stove top, or heat at 30 second increments in the microwave until melted and smooth. Dip the reindeer's feet/lower half of body into the chocolate and place on the paper. Let stand until the chocolate is set.
When the chocolate is well set, place the cookies in an air-tight container, or package them in cellophane bags tied with holiday ribbon for gift giving.