Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars

Michael S.

1/2 C Melted Butter
1 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 C Flour
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Salt
1 C. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (please see the note below)

1. Mix all ingredients.
2. Pour batter into a greased 13x9 pan.
3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes.

The original recipe (as I received it) actually called for dried
cherries or maraschino cherries. Logically, it follows that the cookies
were originally called Chewy Cherry Bars. I don't like cherries so I
replaced them in the recipe with chocolate chips. I usually make them
using only semi-sweet chocolate chips. However, on the day that I made
them for you I didn't have enough semi-sweet chocolate chips. So I used
equal amounts of semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. Whatever you
decide to use I hope you enjoy these great cookies.

Mock Thin Mints

Jennifer S.

2 sleeves of round crackers (like Ritz)
1 package mint flavored chocolate almond bark or melted minty chocolate chips (12 ounces) Melted in microwave until smooth.
If you can't find mint chocolate then you can add a few drops of peppermint extract to the melted chocolate. Be careful!! The chocolate could "seize" or get hard and lumpy. If that is the case, DON'T panic, just add a pat or two of butter and reheat to melt back to its smooth self again.

Dip crackers in melted chocolate and let set on wax or parchment paper. Tastes so close to a Thin Mint you may be looking for the girl scouts ;)

Hockey Pucks

Jennifer S.

The name comes from how the cookie looks – just like a real puck!

2 sleeves of round crackers (like Ritz)
8 ounce peanut butter (creamy spreads more easily)
1 package chocolate almond bark or melted chocolate chips (12 ounces)

Spread peanut butter between two crackers to create sandwiches. Melt almond bark over low heat until melted. Drop sandwiches gently into chocolate and swirl until covered. Place hockey pucks onto wax paper. Let cool before removing from wax paper. Store in an airtight container and enjoy.

Chocolate Gingerbread Men

Jennifer S.

These make great gift for your neighbors (hint, hint)

4 ounces Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
1/2 cup Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg, and melted chocolate and continue beating on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes. On low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Transfer the dough to a flat surface and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or up to 5 days.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Divide the chilled dough into four equal quarters, leaving three quarters in the refrigerator. Lightly flour a flat work surface and roll out one piece of dough to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Using a small (2 to 2 1/2 -inch) gingerbread man or woman cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as possible. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart. Gather all the dough scraps into a ball and place in the refrigerator. Take out another quarter of the dough, and continue rolling out the dough and cutting cookies until all the dough has been used.
Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until slightly raised. Using a spatula, remove the cookies from the cookie sheets, transferring to a wire rack to cool.

These also make fun sandwich cookies. For a nice contrast, use white chocolate frosting to create a filling between two gingerbread men. Use frosting and small candies or sprinkles to decorate as desired.

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jennifer S.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter just until moistened. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

The Basics to Hosting a Holiday Cookie Exchange Party

Do you love setting the table with a huge assortment of cookies but can't stand the thought of spending several days baking? Then a cookie exchange party is the perfect party for you!

It's simple to organize and throw your own party--we'll walk you through it. Check out our tips to make the party extra-special, and browse our Christmas cookie recipes from around the world.

The Basics

Ask each guest to bring a big batch of cookies: estimate 1 dozen multiplied by the total number of guests. Provide guidelines to each baker so that you get a good cookie assortment: rolled cookies, bar cookies, drop cookies, decorated cookies. Your friends may have family recipes they wish to share.

Each guest should also bring copies of their cookie recipe and containers to take cookies home. Heavy duty plastic freezer bags will work for sturdy cookies, but decorated cookies and more delicate shapes should be packaged in tins or sealable plastic containers. Provide waxed paper or parchment for separating layers of cookies.

Party Nibbles

You may want to sample the cookies you're swapping, or you can stay away from sweet treats and set out an array of savory snacks (popcorn, pretzel, party mix, chips with hot dips). Cocoa, hot cider or eggnog are always good choices for a cookie exchange party.

Variety is the Spice of Life

To make your Cookie Exchange Party extra-special.

1. Extend Your Circle of Sharing

Have guests to bring an unopened package of store-bought cookies or canned food. You can then collect the packaged food and bring them to a homeless shelter or food pantry.

2. Share Cookie Stories

During the actual cookie-swap segment of the party, tell stories. It could be a story about the cookie's origin, where the cook learned the recipe, or just holiday baking memories.

3. Create Cookie Recipe Booklets

Ask your guests to mail (or e-mail) their cookie recipes to you, or collect the recipes on the day of the party. Assemble a booklet of recipes for everyone to take home with them.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa Claus Nutter Butter Cookies

Jennifer S.

These are NO bake, and so cute!!

2 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped
1 package (1 pound) Nutter Butter sandwich cookies
Red colored sugar
32 vanilla or white chips
1 pkg mini M&M's

In a microwave, melt white chocolate at 70% power for 1 minute; stir. Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
Dip one end of each cookie into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place on wire racks. For Santa's hat, sprinkle or dip the red sugar on top part of chocolate. Press one vanilla chip off-center on hat for pom-pom; let stand until set.
Dip other end of each cookie into melted chocolate for beard, leaving center of cookie uncovered. Place on wire racks. With a dab of melted chocolate, attach mini M&M's for eyes and a red one for nose. Place on waxed paper until set. Yield: 32 cookies.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Devil's Food Cookies

Crystal S.

2 boxes Devils Food Cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 cup oil, (I only did one box so it was half of each)

mix and it gets thick and sticky...hands on kinda mess!
Bake them for about 10 min.
I left them cool then used Pillsburt Fluffy white frosting and some Christmas Sprinkles.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Soft Sugar Cookies for Dummies

Jennifer S.

2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration (used colored if you feel festive).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in sugar. Place them on an unprepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jennifer S.

Like almost any chocolate chip cookie, these are best eaten the day they are made, but will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 days. IF they last that long ;)

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (do not use instant or quick oats)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 3 large (16 by 14-inch) nonstick baking sheets.

Place oats and 1/2 cup flour in processor; blend until oats are almost ground, about 10 seconds. Transfer oat mixture to medium bowl. Mix in remaining 1 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter in large bowl until light, about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients just until blended (do not over beat). Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared sheets,(or use a trigger ice cream scoop) spacing evenly apart and forming 6 mounds per sheet. Bake cookies 8 minutes. Reverse cookie sheets and continue baking until golden brown, about 8 minutes longer. Cool cookies on sheets for 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Mix 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans, walnuts or macadamia nuts into dough.
Replace semisweet chocolate chips with milk chocolate or white baking chips, or use a mix of all three.

Beary Cute Cookies

Jennifer S.

3/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Additional sugar
30 miniature milk chocolate kisses or LARGE chocolate chips
60 miniature M&M baking bits

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla; mix well.

Combine the flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well (dough will be crumbly).

Set aside about 1/2 cup of dough for ears. Shape remaining dough into 1-in. balls; roll in additional sugar. Place 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to about 1/2-in. thickness.

Roll reserved dough into 1/2-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place two smaller balls about 1 in. apart touching each flattened ball (do not flatten smaller balls).

Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven; immediately press one kiss and two baking bits into each cookie for nose and eyes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Jennifer S.

These freeze exceptionally well-layer them in a freezer-safe container between sheets of wax paper; thaw 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped and melted (see Tip)

Two foolproof ways to melt chocolate: Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a double boiler set over medium-high heat, then place chocolate in the top pan. (Alternatively, to improvise a double boiler, place chocolate in a heat-safe mixing bowl that fits snugly over a pan with 1 inch of simmering water). Stir until half the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl and continue stirring until the chocolate has
fully melted. Cool for 5 minutes at room temperature.

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on High for 1 minute. Stir well, then continue microwaving in 30-second increments on High until two-thirds of the chocolate has melted, stirring well after each heating. Remove the bowl and continue stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Cool for 5 minutes at room temperature.

Enhancements: Stir 2/3 cup raisins, dried cherries or dried blueberries into the Chewy Chocolate Cookies batter along with the flour mixture. Or use 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts.
Position rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer until foamy, about 1 minute. Beat in granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Scrape down the sides, then beat in brown sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate. Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.

Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies until flat yet springy, with slightly cracked tops, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Let the pan cool for a few minutes before baking another batch; replace parchment paper if torn or scorched.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grandpa's Cookies

Kami S.

1 lb. Butter
1 C sugar
5 C flour

Mix butter and sugar until fluffy. Begin adding flour a scoop at a time. Roll out and cut into desired shape. 14 minutes at 350.

Grandpa only cooked them 11 minutes, but I guess if you cook longer then some people like them better as they are crispy. And I have found they come out better if you have cold butter...don't let it get at room temperature. And make sure you whip the butter and sugar at least 5 minutes before you start adding the flour. These are tips from Grandpa and Aunt Wendy and I found if we keep the butter cold, they seem to come out better too. Happy baking!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chocolate Crinkles

Roberta B.

1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c cooking oil
3 1-oz squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1/4 c milk
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
confectioner's sugar

Combine first 4 ingredients. Beat in eggs, one at a time; beat well after each. Stir in milk. Stir flour and backing powder together. Stir into egg mixture. Chill. Using 1 tablespoon dough for each, shape into balls; roll in powdered sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes. While warm, roll again in powdered sugar. Makes 4 dozen.

Growing up I always made a double batch of these. One year my sister put salt in the container that normally held sugar and didn't change the label. I didn't know about the switch and ended up putting in 3 cups of salt instead of sugar. My mom couldn't figure out why the batch didn't stick together even after keeping it in the refrigerator longer than usual. When we tasted it we finally figured out why it wouldn't stay together. We had to throw out the entire double batch of mix and start all over again.