Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

It seems I’m running out of time to post about the Christmas cookies I made this year. What, after all, is the point of posting Christmas cookies after Christmas? It’s not as if anyone makes New Years Cookies. So, without further delay, here are the Christmas cookies I made this year. For those who don’t know, I have a Christmas cookie party every year in early December. For us law students that is the time directly preceding finals, and so it’s known for being a bit stressful. Getting people together with their favorite cookies (everyone brings some), along with some milk, nog type drinks, or whatever else they can think of. This year I made two kinds of cookies, a family favorite peppermint cookie, and the better than brownie cookies from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. Both kinds of cookies were good, but the brownie cookies were really big hits, and were all gone by the end of the evening (which could not be said for any other kind of cookie. If you’re looking for a cookie with just the flavor of pure chocolate, I strongly recommend these cookies. The peppermint guys are good too, but they tend to lose their crispness quickly (after a day or two). This can be rectified by re-crisping them for a few minutes in a warm oven.

Peppermint Cookies

Makes ~ 40

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
¾ tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
1 ¼ cups ground peppermints

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and 1 cup of the sugar until fluffy.

2. Add eggs and extracts, mix until well combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter in three parts.

3. Combine the crushed peppermints with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar.

4. Form the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the crushed peppermint. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until golden and just firm.

5. Let cool on the baking sheet briefly, then remove to a cooling rack.

Better than Brownie Chocolate Cookies

Makes ~ 30 (Tracey says 24, I got more though)

2 2/3 cups (about 16 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until completely melted and smooth.

2. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Set aside. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.

3. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine well. Slowly add the dry ingredients, folding them into the batter.

4. Once all of the flour is incorporated, fold in the chocolate chips. This dough will be more like a batter (it’s very runny), that’s how it is supposed to be,

5. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Like I said, the dough will be a little runny. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are firm on the outside. Like brownies, do not overbake! Leave to cool completely on the baking sheets.

And, if anyone has ever wondered where my penchant of baking comes from, here is a picture of all of the Christmas cookies my mom made this year. I can count 8 different kinds in that photo, and I can testify that they are all delicious.

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