The last two years I wrote about the Christmas cookie baking that I have done with my mom. You can read 2014 here and 2015 here. Every year we make a mix of traditional (for us) cookies and try a few new recipes. We have also expanded our Christmas cookie baking to two days because we like to make so many different kinds and we poop out after four recipes in a day.
This year my sister, Julia, took the second Christmas Cookie baking day off work so she could come and help with the cookies. We were glad to have her there to laugh with us and help out. Tom, Dad, and Jared were also there. They eagerly volunteered for taste testing.
We started with the oldies but goodies. We made a double batch of Reese’s Chewy Chocolate Cookies. John and Tom had both requested these. The first sheet ended up underdone, so we saved those for Tom. I think he prefers cookie dough to actual cookies and he was happy to eat them. We moved on to Peanut Butter Blossoms with the melty chocolate kiss in the middle.
Our third batch was Grandma’s Ginger Cookies. Dad had been trying one of each batch, but when he bit into a Ginger Cookie, he sighed and said “that’s more like it!” He doesn’t prefer cookies with peanut butter in them, although he will eat them in a pinch. Our final “cookie” on the first day was Marble Squares which Jackie requested.
Our second day of baking started off with a recipe I saw on Facebook. I don’t know who decided to post recipes to Facebook – it seems like it has happened in the last year – but I want to make just about every one I see. These chocolate pretzels looked so easy I had to try them. We used the square lattice pretzels, put kisses, hugs, or caramel kisses on them, placed them in the oven at 350 for two minutes, and then smooshed an m&m into the middle. Unwrapping the kisses is the most time-intensive part! The kiss and hug pretzels turned out very well. The caramel kisses never got hard. They were delicious but still sticky hours later.
We made Scotcheroos, a delicious variation on Rice Krispies Treats. I have fond memories of these because my Grandma Clymer would make them, freeze them, and then forget to take them out of the freezer so they would thaw. My brother, sister, and I spent lots of years chipping away at these special treats that were hard as rocks when frozen. My mom has a recipe that is similar that uses Cheerios, but I always insist on using the Rice Krispies recipe. Although they are going in the freezer at Mom’s, I will be sure they get out of the freezer in time to thaw!
A staple the last three years (because they are so mouthwatering) is the Tollhouse Caramel Bars. They came out perfectly and were half gone after lunch. Tollhouse Caramel Bars are best warm, with all the flavors sliding and melting together, so they were a good thing to enjoy as dessert.
I tried a new recipe this year: Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Brownies. I like Brookies, so I figured this would be a good recipe to try. I found the recipe in a new cookbook I bought, “Brownies, Blondies, and Bars” by Stephanie Brubaker. They didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, because the cookie part was done while the brownie part was still a gooey mess. I even baked them 15 extra minutes. After thinking about it for a while, Mom and I decided we would serve it as a dessert for the family Christmas. We will warm it up and then serve it in spoonfuls under ice cream. It will be like a chocolate cookie / brownie lava cake.
Our final recipe for this Christmas Cookie baking season was Chocolate Crinkles which are always good. They can, however, be a challenge to eat with powdered sugar floating off onto clothing. Their chocolaty goodness is worth the damage!
Our two Christmas Cookie Baking days were a wonderful chance to work together, play together, and enjoy the sweets of our labors. Do you have a favorite Christmas cookie that we should try?