Bake a yummy batch of reindeer thumbprint cookies, decorated with pretzels and strawberry jam. Easy recipe for your Christmas party or cookie exchange!
One of my favorite old-time Christmas specials, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, inspired these li'l reindeer thumbprint cookies. Strawberry jam really does make the brightest red nose.
Thumbprints are must have Christmas cookies. Just like our favorite cut out cookies and mint chocolate crinkle cookies, they've become tradition every year in our kitchen, and my boys look forward to the Christmas tins being filled with all our favorite holiday cookies.
While these reindeer cookies may seem like a lot of work, they're actually really easy. All you need is a little time, and really, baking and cookie decorating are great ways to spend quality time with your kids this holiday season.
This festive thumbprint cookie recipe is just the thing for a holiday party or cookie exchange. They also make the best homemade gifts for your neighbors, as well as cookies for Santa.
They're just one of many family favorite Christmas recipes.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE RECIPE FOR REINDEER THUMBPRINT COOKIES?
If you’d rather skip all of my baking tips, important cookie decorating info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the scrumptious thumbprint cookie recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.
TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE REINDEER THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Your first step is to mix up your cookie dough.
Start by creaming together (mixing together) the butter and sugar. Then mix the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract into the creamed mixture.
Sift together your dry ingredients, and then gradually mix them into the creamed mixture.
HOW TO FORM THE THUMBPRINTS
- Using a cookie scoop, take about a tablespoon or just slightly smaller scoop of dough, and roll it into a ball.
- Repeat the above step with the rest of the dough, placing the dough balls on an un-greased cookie sheet. Be sure to leave enough room between each cookie for your antlers. We'll get to those in a minute.
- Using a smooth bottomed glass, you're going to press each cookie flat.
- Then press your thumb into the center of each cookie, leaving enough room for eyes above and mouth beneath.
Life Made Sweeter has an awesome tip in her recipe for Easy Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies… She uses a round 1/4 teaspoon to make the perfect indentation in the middle of her thumbprints. So brilliant!
NOW LET'S GET TO THE COOKIE DECORATING TIPS
Once your thumbprint indentations are made, you'll fill each thumbprint with a tiny spoonful or dab of strawberry jam. You can add as little or as much as you prefer, but don't overfill because the jam may run out of the cookies as they bake.
Also, try to use a thicker jam. This will help prevent any mishaps with Rudolph's nose during baking.
Break mini pretzels in half, and place one on each side of your thumbprint cookies, to serve as antlers.
You'll need to bake the cookies at this point and allow them to cool before adding tiny eyes and a mouth with black frosting or decorating gel (though I prefer frosting because it hardens). If you don't want to use black frosting, you can use candy eyeballs instead.
And then just give them a sprinkling of powdered sugar, using a powder shaker.
CAN I FREEZE THESE DECORATED CHRISTMAS COOKIES?
So if you're wanting to make these holiday cookies ahead and freeze them, I'd recommend freezing the dough… Or you can freeze the already formed reindeer thumbprints.
I don't know that I'd recommend freezing them decorated and all because I'm not sure how the pretzels would handle freezing and thawing.
But you can definitely freeze the dough or unbaked cookies themselves.
IF YOU LOVE THESE REINDEER COOKIES, YOU MAY ALSO LOVE SOME OF OUR OTHER FAVORITE CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES:
KITCHEN TOOLS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES
RED-NOSED REINDEER THUMBPRINT COOKIE RECIPE
If you love this red-nosed reindeer thumbprint cookie recipe as much as I do, please write a 5 star review, and help me share the recipe on Facebook and Pinterest!
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Reindeer Thumbprint Cookies
- Pre-heat the oven to 350° F.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream or mix together the softened butter and sugar.
- Mix the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract into the creamed mixture.
- In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, a little bit at a time.
- Using a cookie scoop, take about a tablespoon of dough, and roll it into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the dough, placing the dough balls on an un-greased cookie sheet. Be sure to leave enough room between each cookie for the antlers.
- Using a smooth bottomed glass, press each cookie flat.
- Press your thumb into the center of each cookie, leaving enough room for eyes above and mouth beneath.
- Fill each thumbprint with a tiny spoonful or dab of strawberry jam.
- Break mini pretzels in half, and place one on each side of each thumbprint cookie, to serve as antlers.
- Bake the cookies at 350° F for about 15 minutes, or 'til the cookies are set.
- Remove the cookies from the oven, and place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- After the cookies have cooled, use black decorating icing to add eyes and a little smile.
- Finally, using a powder shaker, sprinkle the reindeer cookies with powdered sugar.