Tis the Season

Starting Monday I’m going to be dedicating a whole week to Christmas cookies and treats. I can already feel my waistband tightening. Mmmmm….

But, if you just can’t wait and need to bake something this weekend – check out some of these ideas from last year!

Thumbprint Cookies

Homemade Milano Cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

Almond Flavored Slice and Bake Sugar Cookies

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Still want more? Not to worry, I have a few more ideas –

Thumbprint Cookies

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Day two of my week of cookies! Today I bring you a classic Christmas cookie!


I stumbled on this recipe probably 4 years ago and it quickly became a part of my yearly cookie baking tradition. It’s not super fancy, there are no surprising ingredients, it’s not exotic, it’s just classic. And that’s what I like about it.

A soft, chewy cookie with a buttery shortbread flavor and of course, my favorite part, sweet and tangy black raspberry preserves. The saying is true, sometimes less is more!


Classic Thumbprint Cookies

Ingredients
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Seedless Raspberry or Blackberry Preserves
Powdered sugar for sprinkling, optional Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, just a few minutes. Add flour and salt, blend at low speed. If the dough is too soft to roll into a ball, chill for 30 minutes.

With floured hands, roll the dough into 1” balls (about 1 tablespoon of dough per cookie). Place cookies 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Press a thumbprint into the top of each cookie. Fill the thumbprint with raspberry preserves. Bake for 15-18 minutes, the cookies will still look pale. Cool on racks and sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. Makes about 4 dozen.

Adapted from Vintage Victuals

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

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Welcome to day one of my Week of Christmas Cookies! Like most of my mornings, it just seemed right to start it off with a coffee kick.


You know it’s the holiday season when Starbucks rolls out their red cups and special holiday drinks. I probably get a little too excited about it, to be honest. The excitement that comes over me as I take my first sip of a hot Peppermint Mocha is shameful. It’s probably only second to Pumpkin Spice. Am I the only one that can’t imagine a Target Christmas shopping spree without a Peppermint Mocha in my hand?


After deciding to include a Peppermint Mocha cookie in my week long feature, I started an online search for recipes already floating around out there. Some of them looked good, but none of them had everything I was looking for. I wanted the cookie to have a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate quality, with a hint of coffee and cool peppermint finish. I also didn’t really want to use candy canes IN the cookie. So I had to adapt a recipe I already have.

My first attempt was a flop. I tried using chopped up York peppermint patties, but they melted and spread and the cookies weren’t really cookies as much as they were melty dough patties. Not wanting to stick a peppermint patty in the middle of my cookie, I had to go a different route. Attempt number two was a total SCORE, to say the least. They hit all of my criteria and then some.


Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Ingredients

8-ounces Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp real peppermint extract
1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 Tbsp flour
2 1/2 Tbsp espresso powder (instant espresso, found in the coffee aisle at my grocery store)
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a microwave safe glass bowl, microwave the semi-sweet chocolate for 1 minute on high power. Remove from the microwave and stir, continuing heating in 20 second increments until it can be stirred smooth. (Mine took 2 minutes total) While the chocolate is melting, sift together the flour, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. To the melted chocolate, add the butter, brown sugar, and eggs, stir until blended then stir in the peppermint extract. Add the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Finally, add the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, place dough 2-inches apart on the cookie sheet*. Bake for 12-13 minutes or until the tops no longer look wet. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute, while cooling garnish with crushed candy canes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

*Do NOT chill the dough in the fridge. It will look wet, like it will spread and make a mess, but it won’t. Chilling will make the cookies more tough and less visually appealing. Spoken from experience.

Adapted from The Cookie Bible