Confessions of a Seasonal Baker: Beware the “Fun, Fast and Easy” Cookie Recipe

I never said I was Martha Stewart.  And these cookies prove that I never need to say it — actions speak louder than words.  During the holidays, you will find people driving who shouldn’t be, traveling to their annual holiday destination and events.  No need to fear me behind the wheel this time of year.  But, you should be very afraid when I make my seasonal excursion into the kitchen for holiday baking.

Let me start by showing you what the goal was, Bakergirls’ Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies:

Bakergirl Reindeer Cookies
Photo credit: Bakergirl: Peanut Butter Reindeer Cookies ~ cute, aren’t they?

Pressed for time, I was lulled into a false sense of security with Bakergirl’s description of the perfect cookie: “if you need something fun, fast, and easy to make.”  Yes!  This was going to be a piece of cake for our evening baking session.  But, since time was extremely tight three days before Christmas, I confess: I cut corners further by purchasing refrigerated cookie dough, pre-scored and ready to place on baking sheets.  Seriously, I thought that I had removed all possibility for error by simplifying a simple recipe even further. I figured that those little reindeer cookies would be so cute, no one would notice the lack of a made-from-scratch base!  I had visions of a new blog post concerning the perfect cookie when in a holiday time bind. Little did I know what my camera would capture instead.

Short-cut cookie ingredients

My 15-year-old son was my partner-in-crime for what turned out to be “Operation Christmas Cookie Fail.”  We had our assembly line of chocolate-covered mini-pretzels (and, if you must know, no, I did not make those from scratch, either) and M&M’s ready to go.  Ding!  The oven timer went off, and we paid heed to Bakergirl’s words of instruction regarding decorating the cookies as they emerged from the hot oven:

Remove from oven and immediately (and gently) press two mini pretzels into the tops of the cookies for the reindeer’s antlers. Press two mini brown M&Ms in for the eyes and one red M&M for the nose (or any other color… some of mine ended up with green noses. They might be South Pole reindeer.).

Let me tell you, that some ended up with different color noses was the least of our worries as we proceeded.  We learned that we should have made larger cookies with more square footage to accommodate the full face and antlers.  We also learned that cookies cool very, very quickly.

Reindeer Cookie Assembly

Let’s face it — we learned that we botched this cookie project.

Reindeer Cookie Assembly

I almost had tears streaming down my face, I was laughing so hard as my son said with a straight face, “Mom, we shouldn’t have tried something so complicated.”  All we had to do was stick candy on cookies which we hadn’t even made from scratch, for heaven’s sake!  And, as antlers kept falling off the quickly cooling cookies, he said, “We can just tell people they are all antlerless reindeer.  We made does.”

Antlerless Reindeer Cookies

OK, so they’re sort of creepy, zombie-eyed does, but it works.

If you have the right perspective, you can observe the ingenuity that went into the reindeer cookie design:

Cyclops Reindeer Cookie
Cyclops Reindeer Cookie
Conjoined Reindeer Cookie Twins
Conjoined Reindeer Cookie Twins (these are fraternal twins — notice the different colored noses)
Missing Ear Reindeer Cookie
This poor cookie didn’t even make it off the baking tray before shedding its antlers.

As we surveyed the damage, the next trays came out of the oven, and I dug out some sugar cookie shaker decor which we unceremoniously shook and scattered.

Reindeer Cookie Cop-out
Reindeer Cookie Cop-out

Then, we took it up a notch and I found some glitter gels in the cupboard (I do hope they have long shelf life!), and we informally competed for the most artistic peanut butter cookie design.

Peanut Butter Cookies

It prompted another round of laughter.  Neither of us won awards in the creative cookie design department.

I transferred the still warm cookies to the cooling racks, so we could put the next batch in the oven.  Not only were antlers shed, but unfortunately, eyes and noses fell off too.  One reindeer couldn’t take the shame of it all, and leapt off the rack to a premature demise.

Reindeer Cookies lose parts

As I boxed the cookies the next morning, for later delivery to neighbors, the little cookie misfit peering out reminded me of the humane society commercials which tug at your heartstrings as a homeless dog or cat looks sadly out from behind a wire cage — take me home, love me!  Seriously, how can you resist this single antler reindeer pleading to be part of your Christmas cookie platter?!

Boxed Reindeer Cookies

Boxes packed for delivery, our neighbors will know that we thought of them at Christmastime — and that is all that matters.


CIao! ~ Kat

18 responses to “Confessions of a Seasonal Baker: Beware the “Fun, Fast and Easy” Cookie Recipe”

  1. Hahaha! Awesome. 🙂 Now we have at least 3 things in common: freezing bubbles, that Winter quote, and these cookies – same recipe link and all. Our first attempt went about like yours (&$@! those break apart cookies!) 😉 Thought your “cop-out cookies looked great!


  2. Oh Kat, your cookie story had me giggling. One of the best bakers I know, said she had trouble with the reindeer cookies so I decided they weren’t going to be on my baking list. We all have mishaps…mine was an exploding royal icing incident. I had icing all over me, the counter and cabinets. 🙂


  3. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it was your narrative of the evening that had me in stitches. What a great holiday memory! (I will be sure to pass along MY fancy cookie recipe to you for next year!)


  4. Laughing with joy here as you took and turned what I am sure was some very crabby moments (so can here your running discussion) turning it into a priceless laughter filled time with your co-baker and embraced the true spirit of the Christmas season!!! So been there with my recent failed “easy” “simple” birthday fruit pizza sugar cookie cups!


  5. Lovely post! It’s the thought and the effort that counts and I’m sure the cookies were good too. Just a little creative with fun memories as a result. I’m going to bake (try to) Finnish Christmas torttus tomorrow for the first time – from scratch. I last tasted them in my 20s…let’s see how that goes as I’m not even a seasonal baker 🙂 Merry Christmas to you!


    • I had a passing thought to make kolaches in honor of my 1/2 Czech heritage — but that would have required making dough . . . maybe next year :-). Hope your torttus are not too tortuous! Merry Christmas, Tiny!


  6. I think this baking exercise did more than provide you with gifts for your neighbors. You created a memory with your teenage son — and that is a gift that money can’t buy. Besides, those cookies will be delicious when dunked into a glass of cold milk. 🙂


  7. Yes, the neighbors will know that you thought of them. Hopefully they won’t think your island/box of misfit cookies isn’t a characterization of WHAT you thought of them!
    I have never documented my many baking fails, but the pizza sized sugar cookie we baked this year for an “easy fruit pizza dessert” (recipe randomly Googled) for my husband’s work holiday party went awry. We filled the house with BLACK SMOKE when the cookie expanded far beyond the borders of the pizza pan. It did, however, remind us to change the batteries in our smoke detectors, since not a single one went off!
    Have a lovely holiday and wonderful new year, Kat!


    • Ha — the island of misfit toys was precisely my thought as I surveyed the damage we had done! Cheers and wishes for a peaceful holiday and merry new year, Michelle! (and perhaps just a few degrees warmer temps?? or is that asking too much?)


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