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Sugar Cookie Sleigh

 Sugar Cookie Sleigh
Hop aboard this sugar cookie sleigh— it comes complete with Santa, a team of sweet reindeer (including Rudolph, of course) and a wintry wonderland scene! Our CW kitchen staff reined in the idea for this dashing accent for a buffet table or a mantel. It's fun to you can deliver one to your decor in merry fashion.
1 ServingsPrep: 2 hours + standing Bake: 20 min. + cooling


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Green colored sugar
  • Cookie cutters—4-inch and 5-1/4-inch Christmas trees, 4-1/2-inch Santa and 3-inch reindeer
  • 4 egg whites
  • 7-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 teaspoons hot water
  • 22-inch x 16-inch display base (heavy-duty cardboard, cutting board or piece of plywood, covered with foil wrapping paper or aluminum foil)
  • Serrated knife or emery board
  • Pastry bags or heavy-duty resealable plastic bags
  • Pastry tips—#3 round, #67 leaf and #27 star

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Sugar Cookie Sleigh (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • Canned goods and small spice bottles for propping
  • 4 peppermint candy canes
  • Green, brown, and red paste food coloring
  • 4 brown plus 7 red candy-coated milk chocolate balls, such as Hershey's
  • Chocolate and colored sprinkles
  • 13 vanilla wafers
  • Red colored sugar
  • Flaked coconut
  • 1 package (14 ounces) Starburst candies, unwrapped
  • 4 pieces red shoestring licorice (10 to 12 inches)


  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add
  • eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in
  • extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt;
  • add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after
  • each addition. Cover and refrigerate for 15-30 minutes or until easy
  • to handle.
  • Trace patterns onto waxed paper, tagboard or thin cardboard; cut out.
  • Divide dough in half. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out
  • each portion of dough onto a greased baking sheet to 1/4-in.
  • thickness. Position patterns on dough 2 in. apart. Using a sharp
  • knife, cut out a sleigh front, back, base and two sides. Remove
  • patterns. Remove dough scraps; cover and refrigerate.
  • Generously sprinkle one side of sleigh front, back and side pieces
  • that will face out with green colored sugar. Leave base plain. Bake
  • at 350° for 10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Remove to
  • wire racks to cool.
  • Roll out dough scraps. Using cookie cutters, cut out three 5-1/4-in.
  • trees, one 4-in. tree, five reindeer and one Santa. Place on greased
  • baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges
  • begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • To make icing: In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
  • Gradually add sugar and a few teaspoons of hot water; beat for 12-15
  • minutes. If too stiff, add more hot water; it too thin, add more
  • sugar. Place a damp cloth over the bowl and cover tightly between
  • uses.
  • To assemble sleigh: Test sleigh pieces to make sure they fit together
  • snugly. If necessary, file carefully with a serrated knife or emery
  • board to make them fit.

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Sugar Cookie Sleigh (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • Insert #3 tip into pastry bag; fill two-thirds full with icing. Pipe
  • a wide strip of icing along the outside edges of the sleigh base.
  • Position and press the sleigh sides, sugar side out, against the
  • icing. Prop with cans.
  • Pipe icing on the sides of the front and back sleigh pieces. Position
  • front and back pieces, sugar side out, between the sides and
  • touching the icing on the base. Prop with cans. (See Photo 1.) Pipe
  • icing along the inside edges of the front, back and side pieces. Set
  • aside to dry completely, about 4 hours.
  • To decorate sleigh: For runners, cut 3-1/2 in. from the straight end
  • of two candy canes; set aside. Gently turn sleigh over. Ice along
  • the bottom edges of the sides. Position candy canes, curved ends
  • down, so the curved edges nearly touch the sleigh front. Press into
  • icing. Place one piece of reserved cut peppermint stick on each side
  • to complete the runners. (See Photo 2.) Set aside to dry completely,
  • about 4 hours.
  • Turn sleigh right side up. Tint 2/3 cup icing with green food
  • coloring. Use #67 tip to make a wreath on each side of sleigh. Set
  • aside remaining green icing for the trees. Gently press three red
  • candy-coated milk chocolate balls into each wreath for berries.
  • To decorate deer: With brown food coloring, tint 2 tablespoons icing
  • tan and 1 cup icing brown. Frost one side of deer brown; frost
  • antlers tan. With a dab of brown icing, attach one brown
  • candy-coated ball on each of four deer for the nose and one red
  • candy-coated ball for Rudolph's nose. Using white icing, place a dot
  • on each deer for eyes. Place one chocolate sprinkle in the center of
  • each dot. Set aside to dry completely, about 1 hour. Set remaining
  • brown icing aside for Santa and trees.
  • Place a dab of white icing on four vanilla wafers. Press the back and
  • front legs of two deer into icing on each wafer. Prop with cans; set
  • aside.
  • Place a dab of white icing on two more wafers; press back legs of two
  • deer into icing. Cut another wafer in half and one into quarters.
  • Place one halved wafer, cut edge down, on work surface. Prop up
  • halved piece with a quartered piece on one or both sides; join
  • pieces with icing. With a dab of icing, attach the front legs of the
  • two deer to the wafer stands; prop with spice bottles. (See Photo
  • 3.)
  • For Rudolph, place a mound of icing in center of one wafer. Attach
  • Rudolph's back legs to icing, rest the front legs on a small spice
  • bottle so they are suspended 2 in. above the base. (See Photo 4.)
  • Allow to harden.

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Sugar Cookie Sleigh (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • To decorate Santa: Tint 3 tablespoons icing with red food coloring.
  • Frost hat, jacket, pants and sack; sprinkle red colored sugar over
  • sack. Insert #27 tip into pastry bag; fill with white icing. Pipe a
  • star at the tip of Santa's hat. Make a zigzag design on the hat brim
  • and jacket bottom. Frost beard; cover with coconut. Pipe a thin line
  • down the front of jacket. Place a small dot of icing for eyes and
  • insert a chocolate sprinkle in the center of each. With some of the
  • reserved brown icing, frost Santa's boots. Pipe a belt and buttons
  • with white icing and #3 tip. Place on waxed paper to harden.
  • To decorate gifts: Using white icing and #3 tip, pipe a ribbon and
  • bow on each Starburst candy. Place on waxed paper to harden.
  • To decorate trees: Using reserved brown icing, frost the trunk of
  • each cookie tree. Using reserved green icing, frost cookies;
  • sprinkle with decorating sprinkles. Place on waxed paper to harden.
  • Attach each tree to a vanilla wafer with a dab of icing (as in deer
  • decorating instructions). Prop with cans, placing a Starburst
  • between tree and can.
  • To assemble entire table decoration: Working from one corner toward
  • the center, spread a thin layer of white icing on one-third of the
  • display board. Position sleigh in the corner of frosted board with
  • curved runners facing the opposite corner. Sprinkle coconut over
  • icing and press down.
  • Using white icing, completely frost the remaining board. Lay wet
  • paper towels over frosting if it begins to dry. Immediately position
  • the two deer on flat wafers about 2 in. from the sleigh front and 2
  • in. from each other. Place the two deer on stands 2 in. from the
  • first deer and 2 in. apart.
  • Center Rudolph 2 in. in front of second pair of deer. Return spice
  • bottle under Rudolph's front legs until displaying. Attach trees to
  • display board. Carefully sprinkle coconut over icing and press down.
  • Allow to dry for 8 hours or overnight.
  • For the reins, cut ends of licorice piece at an angle. Place a dab of
  • icing next to Rudolph's nose; attach the flat side of the angled
  • licorice end to the icing, holding until stable, about 5 minutes.
  • Attach with a dab of icing to remaining deer. Repeat.
  • Place licorice ends over sleigh front. Repeat on other side. In
  • center of sleigh, attach Santa with a dab of white icing. Prop with
  • a spice bottle until set. Fill sleigh with gifts. Place additional
  • gifts around sleigh if desired.
Editor's Note: This icing is for decorative purposes only. If the decoration will be eaten, substitute a royal icing recipe using meringue powder.

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Sugar Cookie Sleigh (continued)

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 11,700 calories, 248 g fat (127 g saturated fat), 929 mg cholesterol, 5,759 mg sodium, 2,314 g carbohydrate, 18 g fiber, 100 g protein.