Peanut butter Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer cookies are bound to be the cutest cookie you'll bake this season! Get the kids involved for a fun way to spend a school-break day.
I think if Rudolph had started out as a delicious cookie instead of a reindeer, he would have been accepted immediately. But I suppose then there wouldn't be a lesson to be learned.
I've never needed to learn a lesson about eating a cookie though. I just love them for what they are, no questions asked.
These pretzel reindeer cookies are one of my all time favorite cookies I've ever created. No one can deny their cuteness.
Even better, they are soft, flavorful peanut butter cookies! The mix of peanut butter, pretzels and chocolate M&M's are holiday perfection.
I also love that a platter of these guys look fun and festive, especially when they aren't perfect. With little hands helping you, each one will have their own personality! I've had friends send me pictures of their versions and they are always happy little reindeer.
What You'll Need to Make Reindeer Cookies
The base of these adorable reindeer are my favorite peanut butter Christmas cookies. They're made with standard ingredients like creamy peanut butter, unsalted butter, a combination of sugars, and so forth.
The only "special" ingredients you'll have to buy are for the decorations. To make the reindeer faces, I used:
- Red peanut butter M&M's for the nose
- Mini chocolate chips for the eyes (or melted chocolate chips)
- Broken pretzel pieces for the antlers
How to Make Reindeer Cookies
As I mentioned above, these Rudolph cookies start as your typical peanut butter cookie recipe. Once you've made and rolled the dough into balls, follow these instructions:
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until just set and bottoms are golden.
- For each cookie, immediately place 1 peanut butter M&M's in the center for nose, 2 chocolate chips for the eyes, (or pipe melted chocolate for eyes) and 2 pretzel pieces on top for antlers.
- Transfer cookies on sheets to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.
Tip: The reindeer Christmas cookies need time to cool off. This helps the decorations set in place and not move!
Can This Recipe Be Made in Advance?
Yes! The cookies can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature, in single layers separated by waxed paper, up to 2 days.
How to Host a Cookie Swap
If you're the one hosting the swap this year, plan on making Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies! Then, follow these quick tips.
- Invite 8 to 10 friends. Any more and everyone will have to bake TOO many cookies. You want your guests to bake about a dozen cookies for each guest to nibble on and take home.
- Set some rules for the party about the style of cookie everyone should plan on. Fancy, quick ideas, homemade, etc, so that no one is slaving over royal icing while someone else uses dough from a tube!
- Make sure you have a large table, or tables for everyone to display cookies on. And gather platters and serving trays for extra cookie display.
- Supply extra containers, tins, or zip top bags for takeaways.
- Provide some savory nibbles and drinks so guests aren't leaving on a cookie sugar high!
Tips for Making Reindeer Christmas Cookies
- This recipe makes a big batch, almost 50 cookies, so you can take them to the cookie swap (and win!!) plus keep some for yourself.
- Feel free to get creative with the decorations. You can make the Rudolph cookie faces however you'd like!
- If someone has a peanut allergy, you can substitute the peanut butter with another creamy nut or seed butter.
Cookie Classics To Try:
- Stovetop Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Award Winning Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Coconut Macaroons with Condensed Milk
- Graham Crackers and Frosting
- Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies
- Iced Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Peanut Butter Rudolph Reindeer Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened
- ¾ cup peanut butter
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 48 peanut butter red M&M candies
- 96 mini semisweet chocolate chips
- Pretzels broken into 96 1-inch pieces
- Heat oven to 375ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, peanut butter and sugars on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes.
- Add egg and vanilla extract; beat until combined.
- Stir in flour, baking soda and salt until a dough forms.
- Roll into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on prepared sheets.
- Bake, one sheet at a time, until just set and bottoms are golden, 8 to 10 min.
- For each cookie, immediately place 1 M&M in center for nose, 2 chocolate chips for eyes and 2 pretzel pieces on top for antlers. Transfer cookies on sheets to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Alternatively melt chocolate chips and use a bamboo skewer dipped in melted chocolate to draw eyes on the cooled cookies.
Tasty cookie recipes!
Recipe by Tara Bench. Originally published in LHJ Dec 2007. Photography Ellie Miller. Food Styling Tara Bench. Prop Styling Renata Chaplynsky