Once I saw these adorable cookies in a magazine, I knew I had to make them! Unfortunately, peanut butter is forbidden in JavaChildren’s school due to allergies, but I was able to make these for their playgroup party! I could swear I saw these in an ad for Nutter Butter cookies, but I couldn’t find that ad when it came time to make these cookies, so I found a version in a picture submitted by a reader to Family Fun Magazine. (Sorry, they don’t seem to have that on their web site) — her version used chocolate chips for eyes instead. (By the way, I also found a Santa Claus version at this site, which I found through another site, which lists all kinds of fun snack ideas — visit them and tell them who sent you!) Other versions I found online suggested using raisins as well.
This is how I made my version:
- Nutter Butter cookies
- M&Ms — buy the LARGE bag to get just the right amount of brown M&Ms and red M&Ms (unless you are okay with other color eyes)
- tiny twist pretzels
- white frosting, in a tube or else put some in a pastry bag — the kind that will harden. A different version uses peanut butter as the “glue” but I think this would be a bit messier than you want — but experiment!
Lay out your Nutter Butters on a tray. Take your pretzels and very gently break the bottom (round part) of the pretzel off — this leaves you with the two loopy parts of the pretzel. Use your white frosting to “glue” the pretzel “antlers” onto the top of the Nutter Butter — experiment with how much you’d like to use — I tried both going very minimalist (trying to hide the frosting) and going thick (giving him a snowy brow). Choose what you like best. I find that you just want to overlap the pretzel a little bit — not too little but not too much onto the cookie. While you are doing this part, you might put your kids to the task of sorting out the brown M&Ms and red M&Ms into separate bowls for the eyes and nose. This may or may not go very well. Our large bag of M&Ms had EXACTLY enough brown ones for one bag of Nutter Butter cookies. Now, you may want to have blue or green eyed reindeer, but I found the brown to be very aesthetically pleasing and helped bring the focus to the red nose. But I also have brown eyes! : )
Use your frosting to glue down the M&Ms — I preferred to put the M side down.
Allow a little time to set up and try to take a pic before little hands start grabbing — I literally snapped this pic as the children were grabbing the cookies at the party — the next shot has a child’s head and hands in it!
These are YUMMY!!!!!
Now… the edible wreaths were done in a rush for the very same party — given a bit of time they would’ve been done a little prettier, so bear with me. As I recall, I was putting them together while yelling “go potty! I don’t care if you don’t think you have to, we are going to be late to the party, please go potty NOW!” And then JavaGirl kept coming up and trying to stick her fingers in the cream cheese on all the wreaths as I was trying to decorate them and JavaBoy wanted to do the raisins…. and… you get the picture. So… these can be quite lovely if you aren’t in a rush, this was my first effort.
The inspiration for this was our healthy snack for our Halloween party where we made English muffin and raisin jack o’lanterns. We colored the cream cheese orange, spread it on English muffins, then the kids decorated the muffins by making faces using raisins — this idea came from a really great teacher’s site The Perpetual Preschool (look in the Holidays section). A brilliant friend of mine thought up the idea of changing the English muffin to a bagel, and the color to green, and voila, wreaths! Here’s what I did:
- whole grain bagels, cut in half - I used mini bagels
- soft cream cheese
- green food coloring
- craisins, golden raisins, raisins
- Twizzlers pull-apart cherry licorice
Using my stand mixer, I put in several drops of green food coloring into soft cream cheese to color it. Now, you can turn this into a craft activity by letting the children assemble the wreaths themselves, but I chose to assemble for this party. Spread the cream cheese on the bagel half, making sure the hole is still visible. Using craisins, golden raisins, and raisins (you can use just one kind, but I liked the variety), decorate the wreath so it looks like it has “berries.” Pull apart individual strands from the Twizzlers pull apart cherry licorice (this is different from the regular Twizzlers) and fashion into a bow. You can actually tie it into a bow, I just pressed it together, but if I hadn’t been in a rush, I would’ve actually tied them b/c they would stay together better. Press the bow onto the bagel wherever you think it would look best.
These actually taste really good! I like it when food not only looks adorable but the flavors blend well and the craisins and raisins with the cream cheese and bagel are very harmonious and it’s a much healthier snack than your typical “spread the icing on the cookie” snack craft that we do at school frequently. So this was a good counterbalance to my reindeer cookies! ; )
I hope you enjoy these snacks as much as the JavaFamily did!