Sunday, December 16, 2007

"C" is for Cookie and Christmas!


It's that time of year again - holiday cookie time! I love to bake cookies at Christmas time and pass them out to friends and co-workers. This year, I must say, was my easiest baking experience yet. Thanks to my new silipat mat (thank you, secret santa!), my mom's awesome cookie sheets and my new baking racks, I had zero burnt, stuck or broken cookies. And they all taste great too. I made four types of cookies - peanut blossoms, butterscotch gingerbread, snickerdoodles, monster cookies.

Peanut Blossoms

These are just a Christmas classic. My mom always made these at Christmas when I was growing up so I just associate them with the holiday. I used the classic recipe from Hershey's and a nice bag or pre-unwrapped Hershey's Kisses - a most excellent creation!

48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup REESE'S 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

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. About 4 dozen cookies.

Butterscotch Gingerbread

This recipe came from All Recipes and I've been making them at Christmas for years. I like them because they are different from your typical Christmas cookie fare, but still seasonal thanks to the gingerbread flavor. The butterscotch morsels make them very sweet.

INGREDIENTS
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup light molasses
1 (11 ounce) package NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels

DIRECTIONS
PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in small bowl.
BEAT butter, sugar, egg and molasses in large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Monster Cookies

Aside from a nice chewy chocolate chip cookie, monster cookies are my absolute favorite. Peanut butter, chocolate chunks, M&Ms - how can you go wrong? There are many variations of this recipe and you can really add any mix-ins you like, but I prefer to limit mine to chocolate! The recipe I use came from a friend many years ago, so I'm not really sure where it originated. It's a great one though!

2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. corn syrup
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup chocolate chunks (I use 1 1/2 cups)
2/3 cup plain M&Ms (I use 1 1/2 cups)


Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until fluffy. Beat in the next six ingredients, through peanut butter. Stir in the oats, chocolate and M&Ms. Scoop onto a large baking sheet and bake 12-15 minutes.

Snickerdoodles

Another holiday classic. I toss these in each year for those people who don't like chocolate or peanut butter. And again, they just scream "Christmas" to me. There are a ton of variations on this recipe - the one I use has been in my recipe binder for several years. Can't say where it came from, but it makes really good cookies!

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbl. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl cream together shortening, sugar and eggs. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a bowl; add to the creamed mixture, beating well. Form dough into 1-inch balls, roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake 8-10 minutes or until puffed. Cool completely on wire racks.

6 comments:

Katie said...

Wow those turned out amazingly gorgeous! I may have to try using shortening!

Robin said...

These are great! I will definitely be trying the Butterscoth Gingerbread :-)

Brooke said...

Katie - I used to always sub butter for shortening but I found the cookies came out too thin and crunchy. So now I just use shortening if it's called for - it makes for puffier cookies!

Robin - definitely try the butterscotch gingerbread - it's very yummy!

Marye said...

wow..thanks I forgot about the peanut blossoms...
blessings,
marye
http://bakingdelights.com

~Amber~ said...

Mmmm all your cookies look great!!

Mommy Shay said...

I had to come on here and make sure that I got the Homyak peanut blossom recipe, ahh memories of sneaking into the attic and stealing cookies! Also wanted to mention that when baking with a two year old, unwrapping Hershey kisses is a great distraction from dough eating!