It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Truly it is. Especially with all the cozy baking I get to do. Here’s the first holiday bake of the season! Ovaltine and shortbread remind me of family holidays.
A handful of flavors bring me right back to childhood: Dreyer’s vanilla ice cream, Yeo’s kaya coconut jam, and Ovaltine. I loved Ovaltine growing up because it was sweet and during the winter, instead of hot chocolate, my mom made it for us. It’s a popular HK cafe drink so that’s likely why we had it at home. My mom would heat up some milk and add a few tablespoons of Ovaltine with condensed milk. It always tasted like heaven.
Next, and I’m pretty sure every Chinese household had these during the holidays, we always had the blue tin butter cookies. Royal Dansk. And then when we were done with the cookies, my mom always saved the tin to store her needles/threads and knick knacks in. I think we always received these cookies because they’re relatively inexpensive and make a good holiday gift to bring with you (Chinese manners mandate you bring a small gift to your host and not go with “two hands of bananas” aka empty hands).
I purposely decorated the reindeer to resemble Rudolph with the red nose. That Christmas song always made me so sad that the kids made fun of him. But now he’s front and center in my photos 🙂
Ovaltine Shortbread Reindeer Cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup Ovaltine
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
- 1 tablespoon milk
- M&Ms, for decoration
- Melted dark chocolate, for decoration
- Step 1 In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar and butter until fluffy and light in color.
- Step 2 Sift flour, Ovaltine, and salt into butter. Add milk and mix until a dough forms with a spatula.
- Step 3 Pour dough onto a clean working surface and roll dough into a log roughly between 2-2 1/2 inch diameter.
- Step 4 Wrap the log into saran wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to overnight) before baking.
- Step 5 Preheat oven to 375F and line a half sheet with parchment paper.
- Step 6 Cut the dough into 1/3 inch thick discs and place cookies on the sheet with about 1 inch space in between each cookie.
- Step 7 Bake for 12 minutes.
- Step 8 Remove cookies from oven and cool directly on the half sheet (the cookies are very fragile when first taken out of the oven). While the cookies are still hot, place an M&M in the center of each cookie and gently push down.
- Step 9 Once the cookies are thoroughly cooled, pipe eyes and antlers onto the cookies.
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