Narwhal Gingerbread Cookies

In Desserts/ Recipes

Gingerbread Narwhal Cookies | A Couple Cooks  Gingerbread Narwhal Cookies | A Couple Cooks

Alex and I met in college, so our tastes weren’t the most sophisticated when we first met. Read: lots of Austin Powers, Zoolander, and dorm McDonalds. One movie, though, fit our college sensibilities and remains a classic to this day: Elf. The classic Christmas flick starring Will Farrell as Buddy the Elf came out in 2003 during our college careers. What’s made it evergreen today, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that Alex and I have become nostalgic and think that it’s still funny. Whatever the case, I’ve heard people of all ages reciting the lines: “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” “A Christmasgram? I want one!”

In honor of Elf, we’ve created super nostalgic, throw-back-to-2003 Christmas cookies. Yes, narwhal cookies. What’s a narwhal, you ask? My sister gifted our son Larson a stuffed narwhal over Thanksgiving, and my parents asked the same question. And we realized then that most of what we know about narwhals we know from Elf (though it appears Elf did not make it into the Literature mentions of narwhals on Wikipedia). A narwhal is an arctic whale with a large tusk, which can grow up to 10 feet long. It appears in this classic narwhal scene from Elf where the narwhal bids Buddy goodbye as he travels from the North Pole to New York City to find his dad.

Here, we’ve recreated the classic narwhal scene using nothing but cookies and sugar. And what’s more festive than that? We’ve used our soft gingerbread cookie dough as the base. They’re our favorite gingerbread cookies that incorporate a “healthy-ish” take using almond butter, applesauce, whole wheat flour, and lots of spices. To decorate, we’ve dusted the narwhal cookies in powdered sugar, then covered the tusks with edible glitter. Since Christmas and the holidays is all about nostalgia, these narwhal cookies are our top pick for this year.

Let us know if you’re dying to get a cookie cutter to make your own narwhal cookies; we’ll share our source.

How about you: what cookies and movies are most nostalgic to you this time of year?

Gingerbread Narwhal Cookies | A Couple Cooks

Gingerbread Narwhal Cookies | A Couple Cooks

Looking for more cookie recipes?

These narwhal cookies are the most fun Christmas cookie we’ve made. However, here are a few more of our favorite Christmas cookies with a gingerbread vibe:

Did you make this recipe?

If you make these narwhal cookies, we’d love to hear how they turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and healthy-ish

10 Healthyish Holiday Cookies | A Couple Cooks

Gingerbread Narwhal Cookies

1 Star (No Ratings Yet)

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: About 20


  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • Edible glitter, for decorating
  • Powdered sugar, for decorating


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk to thoroughly combine the egg, brown sugar, molasses, almond butter, melted butter, and applesauce.
  2. To the wet ingredients, stir in the ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, kosher salt, baking soda, all-purpose flour, and whole wheat flour until well combined. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  4. Dust a flat surface with flour, then flour the rolling pin and roll out the dough to ¼-inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out narwhals, about 20 total. Place the narwhals on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. If using edible glitter, add gently press the glitter onto the narwhal tusks.
  5. Bake the cookies about 8 minutes, until puffed and slightly firmed. Let rest on the pan for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  6. Once cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar using a sifter or sieve, covering the tusks with parchment paper. Store covered at room temperature for several days or freeze for several months.



About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.


  • Reply
    December 12, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Loving this! I may need to use this recipe with a squirrel cutter to adapt it to my family’s favorite–National lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Such a fun way to celebrate!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Oooo yes! We actually just got a squirrel cutter from IKEA — you may want to check there!

  • Reply
    Lori Rice
    December 13, 2017 at 10:52 am

    These are the best cookies I have seen all season! What a cute and creative idea!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      The highest compliment — THANK YOU!

  • Reply
    December 13, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Love these cookies! A *really* cute book to go with the stuffed animal is “Not Quite Narwhal” by Jessie Sima. The illustrations are adorable too.

    • Reply
      December 13, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      Oooo we will have to check that out! We’re trying to convince Larson that this is his favorite animal. :)

  • Reply
    December 14, 2017 at 9:41 am

    I’d love to get your source for the narwhal cookie cutter! These look great.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Yes! Narwhals are the cutest!

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