Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Cookie Madness


You can't even fathom the amount of cookies my mom and I baked yesterday. I was visiting my parents for the weekend, and mom enlisted my help in making cookies to give away as Christmas gifts. I think my mom just wanted to practice being an amazing cookie-baking grandma for my niece, Laura, who was born the morning after our baking fiesta. :)

Just how many cookies did we make? Well, mom has a double oven, which really increased our cookie-producing power. After about 7 hours and 15 sticks of butter (top that, Paula Deen!), we'd created eight different kinds of cookies.

For your Christmas cookie-making enjoyment, six of those recipes are included in this post:

    * Peanut Butter Blossoms
    * Cream Cheese Cookies
    * Chocolate Mint Cookies
    * Bethal Bars
    * Holiday Thumbprint Cookies
    * Caramel-Filled Chocolate Cookies



First up, Peanut Butter Blossoms (from hersheys.com). These are my favorite cookies of all time. It's very simple: they are peanut butter cookies. With a Hershey's kiss in them. No holiday cookie plate is complete without them. What else do you need to know?

Ingredients:
48 Hershey's Kisses
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Download printable recipe.



My mom had a great recipe for these Cream Cheese Cookies. They're basically a sugar cookie, but the cream cheese gives them a hint of tanginess. They are light, flaky little cookies that make a great canvas for decorating any way you see fit... our batch was topped with a buttercream frosting and sprinkles.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Directions:
1.Cream butter and gradually add sugar and cream cheese. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour.

2. Make cookies with cookie press, or chill dough and roll out to use with cookie cutters.

3. Bake for 8-9 minutes at 375°F.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

Download printable recipe.



I tend to prefer cookies that have chocolate in them in some shape or form. I already made cookies with my favorite chocolate companion: peanut butter. So, I thought I'd go for my second favorite flavor combination with these Chocolate Mint Cookies (from Allrecipes.com). These rich, fudgy cookies are topped with an Andes mint immediately after coming out of the oven. Once the candy melts, you spread it around to make a minty frosting. Festive sprinkles encouraged.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
36 chocolate mint wafer candies (Andes)

Directions:
1. In a large pan over low heat, cook butter, sugar and water until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips and stir until partially melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until chocolate is completely melted. Pour into a large bowl and let stand 10 minutes to cool off slightly. 

2. At high speed, beat in eggs, one at a time into chocolate mixture. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, beating until blended. Chill dough about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

4. Roll dough into balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. While cookies are baking unwrap mints and divide each in half. When cookies are brought out of the oven, put 1/2 mint on top of each cookie. Let the mint sit for up to 5 minutes until melted, then spread the mint on top of the cookie. Eat and enjoy!

Makes a lot of frickin' cookies. At least 5 dozen... I stopped after 4 dozen and froze the rest of the dough.

Download printable recipe.



Bethal Bars are the next creation. I have no idea where the name comes from, but I can tell you that they are pretty much just like a Magic Cookie Bar, but with the addition of butterscotch chips. Yum. The coolest thing about these is that you don't even need a mixing bowl.... you assemble the whole thing in a baking pan (which is handy when you're making seven other kinds of cookies and have already used up every bowl in your kitchen).

Ingredients:
1/4 lb. of butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut
6 oz. chocolate chips
6 oz. butterscotch chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chopped nuts (we used walnuts)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 13x9 inch pan (you can do this in the oven, since it's on anyways). Add the graham cracker crumbs and distribute evenly across bottom of pan. Sprinkle on the coconut, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top, then sprinkle on the nuts. Bake for 30 minutes; cool before cutting.

Makes about 25 bars.

Download printable recipe.


These Holiday Thumbprints were an elegant addition to the cookie spread.  The dough is coated in crushed pecans, and then the thumbprint hollows are filled with jam. We used raspberry jam for the filling, but use your favorite flavor (ok, maybe not grape..).

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. water
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
3 Tbs. jam of your choosing

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Combine butter, sugar, and egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add flour and beat at low speed until a soft dough forms.

3. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites and water until foamy.

4. Form dough into 1-inch balls and dip into egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place each ball 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Indent the top of each with your thumb.

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool for a minute, then indent again (with the back of a spoon this time-they're hot!). Spoon 1/4 tsp. of jam into each cookie, and cool on wire racks. Do not stack these cookies!


Makes about 3 dozen.

Download printable recipe.



The masterpieces of our cookie adventure were these Caramel-filled Chocolate Cookies (from Allrecipes.com). That name seemed much too simple and plain for these little treasures, and I now refer to them as "Million Dollar Cookies." There is just layer after layer of amazing-ness here. You have a decadent chocolate cookie with caramel filling. Topped with crushed pecans! Drizzled with white chocolate! Bliss.

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
17 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans, divided
1 (13 ounce) package Rolo candies
4 (1 ounce) squares white chocolate, melted


Directions:
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, 1 cup sugar and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture, beating just until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans.

2. Shape a tablespoonful of dough around each candy, forming a ball. In a small bowl, combine the remaining sugar and pecans; dip each cookie halfway. Place nut side up 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets.

3. Bake at 375 degrees F for 7-10 minutes or until tops are slightly cracked. Cool for 3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle with melted white chocolate.

Makes about 3 dozen.

Download printable recipe. 
.

5 comments:

Martha said...

I can't wait to make some of these! Thanks for sharing the recipes and the finished products! :)

Generic Viagra said...

I definitely a fan of this blog. The cookies looks good too, but the butterscotch chips is stunning. So much food. Too little room in the belly huh? what a great day.

Viagra said...

I love holiday baking. These recipes are going to be part of my holiday baking traditions this year!

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Elliott Broidy said...

These all look delicious. I cannot wait for the holiday season to begin again!