Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

So the picture below is not of the best quality, mostly because I was shooting on the kitchen counter at 6am just trying to fit a few of each of the cookies onto a plate. I was going to wait and photograph the cookies on their platter on Christmas Eve, but I wanted to have this post up by that morning. Anyway, I spend most of Tuesday baking six different kinds of treats (I did not include my dipped marshmallows in this picture, but I will devote a post to them soon) and delivering them to friends in town. Some of the recipes are original, and others are adapted from great recipes I found online or in magazines. I hope you enjoy them and yourselves this Christmas!

1. The bars on the bottom are adapted from my Halloween recipe (search sidebar for "candy bars"). I used my basic batter recipe and added 3/4 cup shredded coconut, 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and 3/4 cup broken pretzels).

2. The pecan sandies in the middle are adapted from Martha Stewart's pecan cookies (if you Google "Martha Stewart pecan sandies" it will take you to her website. You can also just go straight to her site and search. The changes I made were to add a little extra vanilla and use pecan chips (I upped the amount by about 1/4 cup) instead of ground pecans. I love biting into the pecan pieces! I also made them as drop cookies instead of forming the dough into balls. These cookies are super simple, require few ingredients and are rich and buttery.

3. The shortbread cookie recipe is adapted from one of Ina Garten's desserts. You can find the basic recipe by searching for "shortbread ina garten" on I added about 1/3 cup of 1% milk to my dough (this helped with the rolling out process becaus the dough is very crumbly) and used cutters to shape tree cut-outs. I microwaved raspberry, apricot and strawberry jam for about 30 seconds each and spread them on the cookies after dusting the top layer with powdered sugar.

4. I came across a nice and easy recipe for peppermint patties in our local paper (the original recipe was by Allison Campbell, Executive Chef at Harvest Fresh Market). I accidentally bought corn syrup containing vanilla, so I left the vanilla out when I made them. Instead of using plain chocolate, I melted 50% Andes mint chips with 50% semi-sweet chocolate chips to create the chocolate coating. To dip them, my husband suggested placing each cookie on a potato masher before dipping it in the chocolate. Worked like a charm!

5. The sandwich cookies on the right are oatmeal-peanut butter with hazelnut chocolate creme filling. Soooo goood!!!! I've been making these cookies for years and base them on an old Dan and Steve recipe from Food Network. It's long gone from the website, but here is my version:

Makes about 15 cookies

1/3-1/2 cup Nutella
1 stick of softened butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup quick cooking oats

Preheat oven to 330. Cream peanut butter and butter until fluffy. Beat in sugars on medium speed, adding vanilla and the egg after 1 minute. Add baking powder and soda, and flour and mix on medium speed for an additional minute. Stir in oats. Using two greased teaspoons, drop small (1/2 inch) spoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely, then place a dollop of Nutella on one cookie and sandwich with another (using a twisting motion works well to evenly coat the cookie). Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the Nutella to set.

Enjoy and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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