Decking the Stalls: Pony Christmas Cookies
If you're like me, nothing puts me in the holiday spirit quite like baking Christmas cookies. Working in the kitchen with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby playing in the background has a calming, stress relieving effect that's exactly what the doctor ordered, especially around the holidays.
Being a notorious rebel when it comes to warning labels, though, 75% of my cookies never make it to the oven because I usually eat the dough raw. I like living on the edge. To save myself from ingesting far more sugar than a single person should consume in one sitting, I've started baking cookies for my horses instead! This recipe is easy, quick, and fills your house with that same delicious fresh-baked cookie scent that goes hand-in-hand with gift wrapping, christmas trees and holiday parties.
The first step is to make your cookie base. This is the crispy cookie you'll be able to decorate any way your heart desires for your four-legged friends. This recipe makes about a dozen pop tart sized cookies, depending on size and thickness. If you're keen to whip up a bigger batch, just double the recipe! Key ingredients are as follows - all of which are safe for both human and animal consumption.
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/8 cup vegetable oil
- 1/8 cup water
Start by combining your dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. If you don't have access to pre-packaged oat flour, just toss a cup of quaker oats in your blender and blend until a fine powder forms. Once the oat flour and all-purpose flour are thoroughly combined, mix in the molasses and vegetable oil. You can do this with a spatula or fork if you like, but I find it's easier to form a dough with my hands since the molasses gets pretty gooey and doesn't like to combine with the flour. Next, add the water sparingly until a dough forms. You may not need the entire 1/8 cup, so use your good judgement - you want to make a dough that doesn't crumble so your cookies hold their shape.
Once you've combined all the ingredients into a dough, roll it out on a sheet of parchment paper and go to town with your cookie cutter. Alternatively, roll out a large sheet and cut it into rectangles to make pony pop tarts. To achieve that perfect pop tart look, try using a fork to crimp the edges of your dough rectangles. Donuts are another fun option that require a little patience and sculpting skill unless you're one of those super bakers who has access to a donut pan like this one (adding to my Christmas list ASAP). Lay everything out on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the cookies cool completely before starting the next step: icing!
When making icing texture is key. Mix powdered sugar with water until a thick icing forms that's not too watery and still holds its shape when stirred with a spoon or spatula. Make sure you mix the powdered sugar thoroughly so the icing is smooth and lump free - I like to use a whisk for this.
Once your icing has reached the right consistency it's time to get creative! If you're feeling particularly fancy you can transfer it into a Ziploc bag or pastry bag and doodle fun designs or horse names. Just snip off the end and decorate to your hearts content! This is a great way to add a little flair to your cookies without adding a ton of sugar to your horses diet.
Alternatively, you can dip your cookies face-down in the icing to evenly coat them and add sprinkles or colored sugar. For the overachievers out there, you can even add food coloring or peppermint extract to your icing and create some festive masterpieces! Make sure to let the icing firm up before you stack or store your cookies- I typically leave mine out on the counter or pop them in the fridge overnight.
That's all there is to it! Not only is this recipe simple, quick and 100% horse taste-test approved, but it leaves your kitchen smelling like holiday cookies which is really a special treat all by itself. These cookies also make great gifts for barn friends and their ponies - just package them up in cellophane bags or cookie tins and you're ready to go! It's also important to mention you can round up all the ingredients you need to make 10+ batches of these cookies for around $15. Now THAT'S a treat!
Itching to give this recipe a try? Let us know how it turns out! Tag us in your baking photos on Instagram and use the hashtag #HuntClubBakes to be featured on our page - we can't wait to see what you create!
If baking isn't quite your thing but you're still keen on treating your ponies to some tasty holiday goodies, we highly recommend checking out our friends over at Pink Pony Bakery - a local business dedicated to crafting wholesome treats for your equine companions. Our personal favorites? Their Pony Donuts are always a crowd pleaser and are even available on our site! Looking for something a little different? Their Peppermint Crunch Brownies are the perfect combination of molasses, oats and minty goodness that just can't be beat.