1cup Country Crock® Unsalted Baking Sticks or unsalted butter2 sticks
1cuplight brown sugarpacked
¼cupsugarfor rolling the dough balls in
For decorating the reindeer cookies:
48red candy noses
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking trays with parchment or spray lightly with non-stick spray.
To make the gingerbread cookie dough:
Start by grating your fresh ginger. Remove the skin off the ginger, and using a ginger grater produce 2 tablespoons.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, begin to beat the Country Crock® Unsalted Baking Sticks until it becomes fluffy. Add in the fresh ginger and continue to beat until the whole mixture is light and airy and well combined.
Add the brown sugar to the Country Crock® baking sticks and ginger mixture, beating until everything is mixed in well.
Next, add in the molasses, beating until combined.
In a medium bowl, place all the dry ingredients: flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a whisk sift all the ingredients together. Sift with the whisk until everything is distributed evenly.
Place about a ½ cup water in a microwave safe cup, such as a coffee cup. You don't need very much, but this is the easy way to get it! Cook for 1 minute.
In a small bowl, place 2 teaspoon baking soda. Add in 1 tablespoon from the boiling water, and stir well. It will bubble and then stop fizzing.
Add ½ the flour to the wet cookie dough mixture. Either beat in with your stand mixer, a handheld mixer, or with a spoon. Once folded in, add the baking soda water mixture. Make sure you give it another stir before pouring it over the mixture.
Mix in the baking soda mixture, and then finish by mixing in the rest of the flour mixture. Continue folding over until everything is distributed.
Using a small to medium scoop, scoop out a portion of the dough. I like to use a medium scoop but not fill it quite full. You'll want to roll it in your hands to create a ball about 1 inch.
Roll the ball into the small bowl of granulated sugar, rolling all around to make sure it is totally covered. Place on baking sheets. Place balls about 1 ½- 2 inches apart to ensure they will not bake into one another. I can fit about 12 on a medium to large cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes watching carefully. The cookies will flatten and begin to crack a bit on top. They will begin to just brown on the outside edges. Make sure they don't get too dark!
Cookies continue to bake a bit outside the oven, so as long as the middle isn't still mushy, you should be fine!You can decorate your reindeer later, BUT the chocolate drop needs to be placed IMMEDIATELY after removing the cookies from the oven.
Making the reindeer
Place the chocolate drop onto the cookie which will still be warm and fresh out of the oven. You will place it towards the bottom of the cookie, with the "nose" touching the edge of the cookie. You'll also place it on it's side, which will seem awkward at first.
Press the drop down, but don't press too hard, as the chocolate begins to melt from the heat of the cookie. Place in each cookie, and allow to cool on the cookie sheet 5-10 minutes. After, place on a cooling rack for another 1-2 hours.
IMPORTANT-- you can begin to decorate your cookies, but the drop will melt under the pressure and lose its shape. I usually wait 1-2 hours before adding the weight of the eyes on. I've placed them in the fridge in a pinch as well to speed things along.
For the decorations:
In a small microwave dish, mix the chocolate chips with canola oil. Microwave for 20 seconds and stir. Microwave 20 seconds more, stir. If still not smooth, microwave 10-20 seconds more. Don't over microwave! The chocolate is ready when all the lumps are out. They continue to melt as you stir! Once it is nice and smooth, transfer to a piping bag, or a candy squeeze bottle.
Pipe the antlers onto the top of the cookie starting at the chocolate drop. Antlers in mother nature are totally unique, so just go for it! I like to make a long-tailed Y shape, and come back down and add some limbs that come off at the lower part. It's harder to explain than to do it!
To place the eyes, add a bit of the chocolate on the back. Set towards the top of the drop, slightly off center. Hold for about 3-5 seconds. It usually stays on pretty well, but when you add the second one next to it, it will sometimes slide a bit. Simply slide back into place and hold both at the same time.
Next, do the same with the red noses, only place them at the tip of the drop.
Allow to cool and you are all set! Aren't they super cute?!!!!
If you don't want to make 48 reindeer, that is fine too. Simple make the last half in the traditional holiday drop style, by placing the drop in the middle.